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Hoeger's Middle America

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Works by Anton Franz Hoeger

Curated by Mauricio Velasco

On view October 6 - November 25, 2023

Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation Gallery

Curator Statement

Looking across the United States today…

Climate Change is catastrophically damaging communities and the environment. Women’s Rights continue to be a source of contention on the national stage. Racism runs rampant in the

face of an increasingly diverse United States. Propaganda has now taken the form of disinformation in the digital age. Furthermore, Militarism and notorious paramilitary groups are on the rise as we see violence erupt at home and abroad. More so, the struggles of the working

class marches on under the current economic system. Looking at the American political landscape, division and polarization is at an all-time high.

Anton Franz Hoeger addresses these very issues engulfing American society in his paintings,

however, through the lens of contemporary White America, specifically Middle America.

Historically and artistically speaking, the art movement known as American Regionalism could be said to have captured Middle America (the Midwest) through its paintings in the 1930s; notable artists from this era include Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. Art today should now capture the distress of Middle America in its development, as a wider cultural identity shared across the nation, creating a dialogue on the subject. The artworks proposed here for exhibition are meant to capture in part, the contemporary climate of Middle America’s socio-political atmosphere by providing compelling paintings gathered from Hoeger’s body of work.

Middle America should not be seen as a monolithic identity. The selected paintings do not

attempt to encapsulate the entire demographic of a loosely defined group of people, but rather to hint at a subject matter that is imbued with symbolism and esoteric imagery often alluding to perceived Middle American conservative values, ideology, and culture.

Fantastic Realism, the style in which Hoeger paints, denotes a sense of a familiarity by painting recognizable anatomically correct human figures with deep expressive emotions. However, the figures in the paintings are placed within a backdrop that depicts an empty void in a dream-like space, abstract and foreign, emphasizing the idea that this is a world at odds.

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