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Keep it real

march 1, 2019 - july 6, 2019

at Belger Arts Center

Keep It Real is the first of a three-part series in celebration of Belger Cartage Service, Inc.’s 100th anniversary. This exhibition includes decorative and historical objects that reflect the cultural fabric of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through these objects, we get a glimpse into the issues leading to the rapid innovation and shift in society that gave birth to the Machine Age 100 years ago. While the Photo-realist paintings were done after this time period, they reflect the bright colors, sleek lines, themes, imagery and use of photography that emerged in fine art, design and mass media.

The end of World War I ushered in a new age of rapid development of the man-made environment. The shift from a rural to an urban society was evidenced by rising new skyscrapers, streamlined locomotives, airplanes, cars, trucks and the highways, airports and service stations needed to support these new forms of transportation. Dubbed the “Machine Age”, it was largely a symbolic concept arguably developed by the emerging advertising industry to provide context to describe the change sweeping the country. Artists, designers and engineers shared a reverence for the machine. The art and design of the time began to blur the line between fine art and craft, leaving behind outmoded styles in domestic interiors, the urban landscape and vehicles of transport.

Richard Belger personified the optimism and quest for innovation that permeated society in 1919. He saw a way that a new form of transportation – the truck – could improve the delivery of raw material to the printing industry. He had never driven a car or truck, yet embraced the concept with the enthusiasm of a younger man and the caution of one with decades of experience. Thus, Belger Cartage Service was born.

The quest for innovation that gave birth to the company reflected the driving forces sweeping the country at that time. Over its 100 years in business, Belger has adapted to the changing cultural landscape of our country, grounded in the founder’s principles of innovation and continuity, observation and responsiveness.