Don Coen: The Migrant Series brings a remarkable series of large portraits to Phoenix Art Museum. Created by Colorado-based artist Don Coen, these 15 large-scale photo-realist portraits tell the visual story of migrant farmers in today’s United States, a group of our population rarely considered in fine art. The works take a human-centric approach, highlighting the unique personalities of each subject and acknowledging both their personhood and work ethic.
Each piece in the Migrant Series suggests the intimacy of a traditional portrait, but they are presented on a captivating scale, coercing careful consideration of their presence. Painted between 2001 and 2010, the series comes from hundreds of hours spent in fields making studies and taking photos in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Florida.
The value of hard work and manual labor was instilled in Coen from a young age, having spent a great deal of his youth on a family farm. “For the average American,” writes Coen, “migrant workers are an invisible and transparent component of our world.” With this series Coen hopes to counter this notion. His aim with the Migrant Series is to give these hard-working men, women and children an identity through his humble expression of gratitude.
Look for the full-color catalog with essays by Lewis Sharp, Denver Art Museum Director Emeritus, and Jerry N. Smith, Ph.D., Curator of American and Western American Art, Phoenix Art Museum in The Museum Store.
Don Coen: The Migrant Series is a traveling exhibition organized by Phoenix Art Museum.
This exhibition is sponsored by: