Welcome to “The Constantly Changing Light,” an art exhibition inspired by themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. These pieces, primarily early 20th century American works, are presented in chronological order. All are paintings, except for a photograph which provides a different perspective on one painting’s subject. Selections from the text of The Great Gatsby are presented alongside each piece of art. The notes in this catalog consider the artwork and accompanying text together, reading each ‘unit’ of image and words with a cross-disciplinary vocabulary and select outside references.
The focus of the exhibition is differences in perspective. These play out between characters in The Great Gatsby, between Fitzgerald and the artists on display, between different artists, and even competing perspectives within the same reader. It was a challenge to focus on just one issue in such a multifaceted text, but several associated themes are also present in the ensuing discussions on perspective. These include labor, nostalgia, violence, identity, masculinity, narrative, modernity, gendering, and color symbolism. These many specific issues of perspective emphasize the complexity of Fitzgerald’s work, and encourage readers to push beyond the poetic surface of the text.
The Gallery urges visitors to use this catalog as a starting point for re-experiencing Fitzgerald’s classic text through each of these pieces. Consider the exhibit as a whole, the four decades it spans, and the progress of styles and subjects. Read the textual selections printed next to each work (and in this catalog!), and note important features like color, style, and point of view in both mediums. Look up these selections in your copy of The Great Gatsby to get a better sense of their context. Forgot yours at home? Limited-edition copies are available in the gift shop.
Our team of literary scholars, art historians, and curators hopes that Gatsby enthusiasts and casual consumers of culture alike will find something to love in this exciting new exhibition, presented to you by The Gallery.