Thomas Hart Benton: American Mythologies

Nov. 6, 2015 – Jan. 24, 2016
Opening Reception: Nov. 6, 4-8 p.m.
Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton
Going West
lithograph, 1934, Courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri

“Thomas Hart Benton: American Mythologies” opens Nov. 6, 2015 in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The public is invited to several events in November celebrating Thomas Hart Benton’s life, his work and his impact on the history of American Art. The exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 24. Admission to the exhibit and the events are free.

A curator talk will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 5. Dr. Joan Stack, State Historical Society of Missouri’s art curator, will enlighten us with the stories behind the American Mythologies exhibit. Attendees will come away with a better understanding of why cowboys and steamboats are such an important element of America’s culture and of Benton, his contributions to American art, and how our mythic history shapes who we are as Americans.

The opening reception will be held 4-8 p.m. Nov. 6.

Thomas Hart Benton Family Day will be held 1-4 p.m. Nov. 14. Hands-on activities will lead participants to create their own images with the artistic style used by Benton. Guided gallery tours will occur hourly. Historical performer Gary Beahan will portray Benton during this entertaining event.

A presentation will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 19. Dr. Frank Nickell, Historian and Assistant Director of The State Historical Society of Missouri, will convey fascinating accounts that create an understanding of Missouri and the culmination of this region’s society in the time of Thomas Hart Benton.

A musical performance will occur 7 p.m. Nov. 20. Dr. Robert Fruehwald, composer and faculty in Southeast’s music department, will provide an entertaining works by Missouri composers to tie into the American Mythologies exhibition.

This exhibition showcases twenty-six of Thomas Hart Benton’s lithographs that explore the mythic West, including subjects such as Jesse James, the writings of Mark Twain and the intersections of American cultural heritage. From cowboys to steam trains, these artworks explore the energy, anxiety and conflicted nature of America’s conception of itself.

This exhibition is organized by The State Historical Society of Missouri with support of its Research Center-Cape Girardeau. Artworks on loan from the SHSMO Art Collection, Columbia, Missouri.

The Crisp Museum is located in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, located at 518 S. Fountain St. in Cape Girardeau, Mo. For more information, call (573) 651-2260 or email


River Campus, 175 Cultural Arts Center
Crisp Museum
One University Plaza, MS 7875
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701