Modern and Contemporary Art

July 22 - September 13, 2008
Ellen Johnson Gallery

The current reinstallation of the modern and contemporary collection represents only a small selection of the AMAM’s very rich holdings in this area. The museum began seriously collecting contemporary art in the late 1950s under the leadership of Professor Ellen Johnson (1910-92) and with the collaboration and support of donor Ruth Coates Roush, a 1934 Oberlin College graduate and close friend of Johnson.
Among the important paintings on view are Agnes Martin’s East River (1960); Richard Diebenkorn’s Woman by a Large Window (1957); and Elizabeth Murray’s Switchback (1996). A highlight among the sculptural work is Eva Hesse’s Laocoön (1966) that was purchased by the museum in 1970, the year of the artist’s death. The AMAM also adds to its collection continuously, reflected in the museum’s ongoing commitment to support contemporary art and artists. Two important recent acquisitions are Tim Hawkinson’s 1998 mythical representation of the female form and Zeng Fanzhi’s unnerving exploration of the masks all individuals present to the world—a large-scale work painted in 2000.

Organized by Stephanie Wiles, AMAM Director, and Andria Derstine, AMAM Curator of Western Art

Zeng Fanzhi (Chinese, b. 1964)
Mask Series # 7, 2000
Oil on canvas
Ruth Roush Fund for Contemporary Art