“Manifest Destiny,” one of the showstoppers in the current exhibition “Alexis Rockman: a Fable for Tomorrow,” will become a permanent part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection.
The museum announced Tuesday that it is acquiring the seminal work by Rockman, an American contemporary painter. The work, painted in 2003 and 2004, depicts the waterfront of Brooklyn, N.Y. several hundred years in the future. Consisting of four contiguous panels, the work is 24 feet in length. In it the iconic Brooklyn Bridge has fallen apart. A suspension bridge has taken the place of the Manhattan Bridge. Global warming has won out. Rockman filled the canvas with hardy flora and fauna.
The painting, explained the museum, will be a provocative compliment to the museum’s collection of 19th century landscapes. The purchase is the first Rockman in the permanent archives.
The Rockman show, a survey of his work from the mid-198s to the present, closes on Sunday and will travel to the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. “Manifest Destiny” will go along for the show. Then the painting, originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, will return to Washington.
Here is a gallery of Rockman’s work, prepared by the Washington Post graphics department.