'Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow' at Smithsonian American Art Museum

Painter Alexis Rockman's art has a singular focus: the environment, and our complicated relationship with it. In 47 meticulous and sometimes mammoth paintings and works on paper, Rockman tells of man's delicate dance with Mother Nature and foretells a scary future, if we are not careful about the moves we're making.

 
 

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Rockman solicited the advice of architects in accurately rendering "Manifest Destiny," a cinematic if nightmarish view of Brooklyn, as seen from lower Manhattan, and flooded by the waters of the East River in a futuristic scenario based on rising sea levels. (That's the Manhattan Bridge on the left and the Brooklyn Bridge on the right.) His tannic brown palette -- the color of tea -- is meant to suggest intense heat.


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