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Contemporary Art

Loosely defined as the art of today or the art of our lifetime, the term “contemporary art” is usually used more specifically to describe artworks created since the 1980s or 1990s. For collection purposes, the Frye Art Museum currently delineates the scope as 1990 to the present. In the more general sense, the Frye has collected and exhibited contemporary—or contemporaneous—art since its opening in 1952. This commitment to the art and culture of the present was catalyzed by Museum founders Charles and Emma Frye, who amassed a collection of paintings made within their own lifetimes and often purchased works directly from living artists. Over the last seven decades, directors of the Museum have each brought their own interests and interpretations to bear on the Frye’s engagement with contemporary art and thereby shaped a distinctive collection. Prior to the tenure of Elsa “Midge” Bowman (Director, 2004–09), and often counter to dominant trends in art of the time, the Frye’s leadership focused exclusively on exhibiting and collecting representational art, citing Charles and Emma Frye’s preferences for figurative and landscape painting. Under Bowman’s direction, the exhibitions program at the Frye expanded into areas like video art and performance that questioned and upended the definition of representational art. In 2008, the Museum’s mission was revised to embrace art in its myriad forms. The Frye’s contemporary art collection has grown significantly since that time, reflecting the diversity of the institution’s engagement with local, national, and international artists working today.

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Title Artist Medium Date
Physical Plant   Allik, William   Oil on panel  1996 
Still Life with Kumquats   Aponovich, James   Oil on canvas  1993 
IRT #7   Assael, Steven   Oil on canvas  1997 
History Lesson   Bartlett, Bo   Oil on canvas  2002 
Side Road Landscape, 1994   Beckman, William   Oil on canvas  1994 
My Mother   Beckman, William   Oil on panel  2000 
Waves Floater   Britto, Romero   Acrylic paint and oil pen on canvas  2017 
Landscape #7   Browning, Matt   Tree sap on handmade wood panel  2012 
Cherry Pie   Fischer, George   Oil on canvas  1993 
Portrait of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Oil on linen  2004 
Sketch of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Oil on board  2004 
Ogle's Samovar   Hama, Take   Oil on cotton  ca. 1992 
Hercules at the Crossroads   Ligare, David   Oil on linen  1993 
Untitled [Details of serpent from Die Sünde (Sin) by Franz von Stuck]   Liu Ding   Oil on canvas  2012 
Untitled [Frame from Die Sünde (Sin) by Franz von Stuck]   Liu Ding   Oil on canvas  2012 
Untitled [Details of serpent from Die Sünde (Sin) by Franz von Stuck]   Liu Ding   Oil on canvas  2012 
River   Lowly, Tim   Acrylic on panel  2004 
Allegory of the Raging Sun   Lyons, Kat   Oil on canvas  2021 
Untitled   McCurdy, Robert   Oil on canvas  1999 
Mangahufo' I famaguon   McDaniel, Gisela   Oil on panel, found object, sound  2021 
Bear Icon   Morgan, Leslie   Oil and copper leaf on linen  1993 
The Wait   Mothner, Carol   Egg tempera on panel  1998 
Mann bitt av en slange (Man Bitten by a Snake)   Nerdrum, Odd   Oil on canvas  ca. 1992-93 
Prayer Before the Night   Pander, Henk   Oil on linen  1992 
Voices of the Ancestors: People of the First Man   Pattison, Harry   Oil on canvas  1997 


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