"The scale and achievement of your [Bruce Linn's] "Building America" is still so astounding to me... "

--Chris Ware, Cartoonist & Graphic Novelist, Chicago, IL, Dec. 3, 2001

"I found Building America to be one of the most artistically literate paintings I have come across. It is a work that shows the painter to be deeply versed in the history of Art as well as the history of the Americas, and in firm command of his own distinct and unique style. An ancient Egyptian tomb painting turned into a plantation diagram, Diego Rivera's murals of the Conquest, the American Primitives' Garden of Eden, old cartographic embellishments--all add to the depth and vast scope of the narrative in this magnificent painting."

--Richard Bram, Photographer, NYC, April 22, 2001

"Bruce Linn's monumental 54-foot, 9-panel mural 'Building America' was made by one mind's eye (and hand). Unlike other recent visual history projects of great scope - such as Ken Burns film documentary 'The Civil War', which was a group collaboration employing scores of associates: experts of all stripes from historians, editors, actors, musicians, producers, technicians, publicists, etc, .... Linn's ambitious mural project - a painted contemplation of American history - is a solo act. and much of this work's strength and charm lie in this fact. This work dares to take on a subject that's too big for any one painting, or person, and, as if Linn knew this from the start, there is a whimsical humor that pervades his project.

The viewer enters on the left in a pre- Columbus ocean filled with Medieval sea dragons (a nod to ancient cartographers) and 54 feet later exits by a ghostly mobile home lit by television light. In between one is confronted with thousands of details from American history. It's a great history refresher lesson, but it is guided by the artists idiosycratic vision of this history. Scale takes on curious distortions; a giant Buffalo looms larger than a mountain; Abraham Lincoln stands like Godzilla over nearby details. The density of detailing also takes unexpected routes; The Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge are drawn in a meticulous draftsman-like style that would please a civic engineer, but a nearby train carrying Buffalo hunters is sketched in a cruder childlike fashion.

One can also find reflections on, and parodies about the history of American art - such as a mini 'Peaceable Kingdom' - Edward Hicks style. There are also trees sprouting the heads of Famous Americans, an archaic and amusing device, which seems to harken back to the odd (to us now) and sentimental forms of 18th and19th century 'folk' painters.

A viewer can stroll back and forth past this mural for hours scrutinizing detail after detail, musing on the history it portrays, as well as smiling over the ingenuity Linn has displayed in organizing his vast history painting. It would be a refreshing break from the digital-mouse walks a lot of us have been taking lately."

--Howard Seth Miller, Photographer, Santa Cruz, CA, April 30, 2001

"Having worked for over four years on his recently completed painting, Building America, I know, Bruce Linn is eager to exhibit this work as widely as possible. I consider this a most logical and desireable prospect in view of the scope and quality of this work. Without question, Building America is a remarkable and unique creation by a contemporary American artist, in several ways. Two of the most significant are:

1) Its content. The subject matter is made newly interesting through its presentation and selection.The work also contains a storng sense of a national collective memory, through American heroic figures, events, and architectural monuments, at a time when American artists seem preoccupied with ideas and techniques which originated in European models.

2) Technically, it is skillfully executed. The monumental scale and inclusion of details are highly evocative and original.

Regretably, because of travel and health considerations, I have not seen the entire completed work in-person, but I did see it while in-progess, and have seen the photography of the completed work. My opinion is also informed by a recently obtained work of Mr. Linn's in my own collection which shares many similar technical and aesthetic concerns and portrays Abraham Lincoln.

In my opinion, Building America deserves wide circulation, and, I believe, it would receive a very positive public response. For this reason, I suggest that if your interest is aroused by it that you consider a way to make it available to a wide public."

--(the late) Don Baum, Artist & Curator, Chicago, IL, April 2001

"'Building America' is one of the most significant paintings produced in Kentucky in the last fifty years. Bruce Linn's ambitious work is thoughtfully conceived and executed. Lovers of art and history will find much to discuss in Linn's epic vision of the development of our country. Teachers could use the lessons dipicted in this grand narrative to encourage their students to think about where we have been and the possibilities for the future."

-- Albertus Gorman, Artist, Curator, Louisville, KY, April 23, 2001


"An ambitious undertaking resulting in a major painting. Everyone ought to see it."

--Madison Cawein, Artist, Louisville, KY, April 23, 2001


"I am honored to recommend Bruce Linn and his most recent work, 'Building America,' to all potential exhibitors.

Bruce Linn has a very unique, idiosyncratic, and thoughtful approach to his painting. I have long admired and regarded his work as some of the most humorous and sincere examples of Midwestern imagination.His approach to historical figures has always shown wit, skill, deference, and devotion.

Having seen his past projects, I am very eager to get chance to see 'Building America' in person and I hope that this letter encourages future exhibition. 'Building America' looks to be an edifying viewing experience. It is a well-researched, well-considered, accessible and poetic vision. Impressive in its size and scope, I am confidant it will challenge, inform, and entertain many viewers.

Its provocative take on American history, the terrific skill with which it was produced, and its awe-inspiring ambition make 'Building America' an important work that deserves wide circulation. It would be a terrific exhibition unto itself, or a key piece in a thematic exhibition. "

--Leslie Brack, Artist, Brooklyn, NY, June 3, 2001


If you have any comments on the work, please let us know at: cryingglobe@yahoo.com

Overview of Building America, a fifty-four-foot painting of the history of the United States.
Panel 1 Panel 2 Panel 3 Panel 4 Panel 5 Panel 6 Panel 7 Panel 8 Panel 9
© 2001-2014 Bruce Linn