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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
Feast   Webb, Dan   Carved fir  2006 
Pickle Jar with Elephants, Bow and Mottled Grey Balls   Mitchell, Jeffry   Glazed earthenware  2008 
Fu Dogs   Mitchell, Jeffry   Earthenware with luster glaze  2005 
Study for 2x4 with yellow fill   Livingston, Margie   Acrylic with steel wall shelf  2011 
We are the Gentle Angry Women and We Are Singing for Our Lives   Lesperance, Ellen   Gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper  2015 
Solid Citizen   Jackson Hutchins, Jessica   Glazed ceramic  2008 
Sister Totem   Dingus, Marita   Ceramic and mixed media  2023 
Venus Jar 4: My Mothers   O’Leary, Hanako   Clay  2020 
Gingko   Bennett, Gretchen Frances   Color pencil on paper  2023 
The Edith Wharton you can afford   Cerny, Dawn   Wood, plaster tape, textiles, found ephemera from studio of Nancy Shaver, Apoxie Sculpt, paint   2021 
Covid March (after unemployment, the park, then home)   Cerny, Dawn   Wood, drawings, textiles, clipboard, Apoxie Sculpt, polymer clay, paint, found ephemera from studio of Nancy Shaver   2021 
Frye   Tracy and the Plastics   Performance and video, sound, color  2006/2014 
Baby   Ball, Natalie   Cotton cloth, twine, clay, leather, metal jingles, deer legs, and shoes   2018 
Single Cabinet   Magor, Liz   Polymerized gypsum, cans of beer  2001 
Breathless #6   Jones, Jennie C.   Audio tape from the 1992 Kenny-G recording “Breathless”, under plexiglass    2008 
Silent Clusterfuck (Pyrite –fake gold)   Jones, Jennie C.   Earbuds and acrylic    2008 
untitled   Koťátková, Eva   Mixed media collage   2011 
untitled   Koťátková, Eva   Mixed media collage   2011 
untitled   Koťátková, Eva   Mixed media collage   2011 
Becoming Mineral   Tossin, Clarissa   Porcelain   2021 
Rising Temperature Casualty (Prunus persica, home garden, Los Angeles)   Tossin, Clarissa   Silicone, black pigment, tree bark  2022 
The Unknown   Quaicoe, Otis Kwame Kye   Oil on canvas  2020 
Stylite Altarpiece   Seifu, Eden   Acrylic on canvas   2022 
Black Face with Wide Chest   Self, Tschabalala   Colored pencil, acrylic paint, gouache, charcoal, graphite on archival inkjet print  2021 
Black Face Red Bone with Black Bob   Self, Tschabalala   Colored pencil, acrylic paint, gouache, charcoal, graphite on archival inkjet print  2021 

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