Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Eyes Have It For Norman Rockwell Show At The McMichael

In Search of Norman Rockwell's America
MARCH 12 to APRIL 25, 2011

For Immediate Release

First Exhibition to Compare Norman Rockwell's Art with
Photojournalist Kevin Rivoli's Images: 'Rockwell's America' Exists

February 28, 2011 Kleinburg, ON - In Search of Norman Rockwell's America, a poignant exhibition that pairs the work of American icon Norman Rockwell with images by award-winning photojournalist Kevin Rivoli, is on view at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection from March 12 through April 25, 2011.

Norman Rockwell's illustrations populated covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the American magazine well-read amongst Canadians, especially after World War I when imported American magazines were outselling domestic magazines eight-to-one in subscriptions and newsstands across Canada.

Unprecedented in concept, this exhibition features a selection of thirty-five black and white photographs alongside original Rockwell paintings, drawings, and lithographs of similar imagery, forming a captivating comparison exhibition of seventy works. Included in the exhibition is the never-before-published painting The Golfer, a rare subject for Rockwell and one of his earlier works.

Kevin Rivoli began taking "slices of life" photographs twenty years ago while working as a photojournalist - images of family, community, patriotism, milestones, and people enjoying simple pleasures. It was not until many years later that he realized their similarity to Rockwell's work, not only in mood and subject, but often in composition as well.

Rockwell, who was and remains immensely popular in both Canada and the United States, was often dismissed by critics who claimed his work was too idealistic, sentimental, and nostalgic. One critic alleged that Rockwell created "an America that never was and never will be." Rockwell disagreed, saying he showed "the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed."

Rivoli's photographs disprove critics' claims that Rockwell created imaginary scenes. In Search of Norman Rockwell's America shows us the same world Rockwell painted, an America that is still alive and well. Rivoli's photographs are of spontaneously occurring moments of everyday life - most subjects were completely unaware that they were being photographed. These photos are true to Rockwell's form - storytelling in a single, spontaneous frame that captures a complete picture and celebrates the ordinary.In Search of Norman Rockwell's America introduces Norman Rockwell and his work to a new generation, while providing his existing fans an opportunity to reconnect with this American icon. By pairing these celebrated, familiar works of art to photographs of real people, the exhibition reminds us to look for those moments of happiness, pride, mischief, courage, and patriotism that Rockwell captured and became known as "Rockwell's America."

The two-year tour is comprised of many loans from major institutions and private collections. Norman Rockwell paintings, prints, and drawings are on loan from Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY; Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN; National Scouting Museum, Irving, TX; United States Golf Association Museum, Far Hills, NJ; and Ingrid Bond Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM.

The companion book for the international tour, published by Simon & Schuster and also titled In Search of Rockwell's America, includes inspiring quotes and anecdotes of Rockwell's' paintings and Rivoli's photographs.

In Search of Norman Rockwell's America is organized by Kevin and Michele Rivoli in collaboration with International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs, and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public. Visit

Kevin Rivoli is an award-winning photojournalist who has photographed everyone from professional sports stars to presidents. But his favourite subjects have always been ordinary people doing ordinary things. When he's not working for one of several national media outlets, he continues to pursue and develop personal endeavours that include several soon-to-be published works as well as a line of licensed products that feature his images. To learn more about Kevin and his work, visit

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit

Top: McMichael Gallery's Education Curator Anna Stanisz
Middle: A Kiss for Mom, 2007 Photo © Kevin Rivoli
Bottom: Home from Camp,1968 Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, IL