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EXHIBIT HOME
"EVERY MAN A REMBRANDT"
THE NEW LEISURE
THE PICTURE'S PLACE
THE UNFINISHED WORK OF PAINT BY NUMBER, 1960-2001
POSTED COMMENTS/"POST A REMINISCENCE"
BIBLIOGRAPHY, LINKS, CREDITS


Gallery Stevan Fisher. Gallery installation view.


Banner Stevan Fisher. Banner installation view.


Introduction

Paint by Number: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s revisits the hobby from the vantage point of the artists and entrepreneurs who created the popular paint kits, the cultural critics who reviled them, and the hobbyists who happily completed them and hung them in their homes. Although many critics saw "number painting" as a symbol of the mindless conformity gripping 1950s America, paint by number had a peculiarly American virtue. It invited people who had never before held a paintbrush to enter a world of art and creativity.

To announce the opening of the exhibition, a banner with a paint-by-number line-art image will be installed and painted near the Museum's Mall entrance. The image, determined by a survey of visitors' preferences in pictures, will be painted daily until completed-about one week.

The exhibition catalog, Paint by Number: The How-to Craze that Swept the Nation, by William L. Bird Jr., is published by Princeton Architectural Press

The exhibition was on view at the National Museum of American History from April 6, 2001 through January 7, 2002.

Paint by Number: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s presents the paint-by-number phenomenon as a window on the history of creativity, leisure, and domesticity in postwar America:

Demonstration "Every Man a Rembrandt" features paint-by-number conceptual and marketing materials from the National Museum of American History Archives Center and Division of Social History.

Levittown The New Leisure treats the subjective nature of leisure and class in the 1950s, when more Americans than ever before had free time, discretionary income, and homes to decorate.

Detail, "Day-to-day family relationships" The Picture's Place discusses the paint-by-number contribution to the do-it-yourself aesthetic of "domestic art" and makes use of home-furnishing literature and framed paintings suggesting the hobby's reach into American culture.

Do It Yourself (Flowers) The Unfinished Work of Paint By Number, 1960-2001 presents paint by number as an ongoing symbol of mechanical performance and mass culture.

NMAH
Introduction | Every Man A Rembrandt | The New Leisure | The Picture's Place
The Unfinished Work | Post-a-Reminiscence | Bibliography, Links & Credits