On view November 10, 2012 through February 10, 2013, Behold, America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums was a groundbreaking collaborative exhibition that brought together the finest American works from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art.
The exhibition offered an unprecedented opportunity to view the full sweep of American art history—from colonial to contemporary—as told through the visual art of three San Diego institutions. Internationally known for their permanent collections and scholarly exhibitions, these institutions together provided a three-museum venue for Behold, America!, which was grouped into three sections, Figures, Forms, and Frontiers, with each venue displaying works from all three collections.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego exhibited Frontiers, emphasizing landscape painting by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Georgia O’Keefe and included important installations by artists like Vito Acconci, Ann Hamilton, and Robert Irwin. This portion of Behold, America! opeeds early on September 16, giving visitors an opportunity to get a preview of the exhibition.
At The San Diego Museum of Art, early American portraiture by Thomas Sully was seen in concert with contemporary works by Cindy Sherman and John Currin in the Figures component of the collaboration.
The Timken Museum of Art presented Forms, which included examples of traditional still-lifes by Raphaelle Peale, early American modernism by Morgan Russell and Manierre Dawson, and a minimalist work by Agnes Martin. The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego also showcased components of Forms.