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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
Prayer Before the Night   Pander, Henk   Oil on linen  1992 
Pumpkin People   Wyeth, Jamie   Oil on panel  1991 
River   Lowly, Tim   Acrylic on panel  2004 
Sea Breeze   Poskas, Peter   Oil on panel  1997 
Side Road Landscape, 1994   Beckman, William   Oil on canvas  1994 
Sketch of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Oil on board  2004 
Still Life with Kumquats   Aponovich, James   Oil on canvas  1993 
Stylite Altarpiece   Seifu, Eden   Acrylic on canvas   2022 
The Unknown   Quaicoe, Otis Kwame Kye   Oil on canvas  2020 
The Wait   Mothner, Carol   Egg tempera on panel  1998 
this trembling turf (the shallows)   Peters, Mary Ann   White ink  2018 
Three Slices   Boafo, Amoako   Oil on canvas  2021 
To a Flame   White, Anthony   PLA (plastic) on panel  2019 
Untitled   McCurdy, Robert   Oil on canvas  1999 
Untitled [Details of serpent 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 
Untitled [Frame from Die Sünde (Sin) by Franz von Stuck]   Liu Ding   Oil on canvas  2012 
Voices of the Ancestors: People of the First Man   Pattison, Harry   Oil on canvas  1997 
Waves Floater   Britto, Romero   Acrylic paint and oil pen on canvas  2017 

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