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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
History Lesson   Bartlett, Bo   Oil on canvas  2002 
Study for Bridal Registry: Christmas Decorations   Raftery, Andrew   Lithograph and chine collé  1997 
Study for Bridal Registry: June Wedding   Raftery, Andrew   Lithograph and chine collé  1997 
Sketch of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Oil on board  2004 
Sketch of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Charcoal on paper  2004 
Portrait of Mrs. Greathouse   Gish, Del   Oil on linen  2004 
Afternoon Nap   Wyeth, Victoria Browning   Gelatin silver print  1996 
Still Life with Kumquats   Aponovich, James   Oil on canvas  1993 
Large Red Poppies I   Bukovnik, Gary   Watercolor on paper  2002 
Family Tides   Spencer, Mark   Oil on canvas  2000 
Untitled   Glantzman, Judith   Pencil on paper  2002 
Palouse Pattern III   Weingarten, Robert   Inkjet print (Iris)  2001 
Palouse Pattern I   Weingarten, Robert   Inkjet print (Iris)  2001 
Gallery with Triptych   Washburn, Stan   Oil on canvas  1998 
Seated Figure   Middleman, Raoul F.   Charcoal and conté crayon on paper  1999 
Flying Female #4   Bergt, Michael   Colored pencil and gouache on paper  1998 
My Mother   Beckman, William   Oil on panel  2000 
Seer   Weisberg, Ruth   Monotype  1994 
Fire   Zwerling, Lisa   Oil on linen  1998 
World of Wonders   Fisher, Stephen   Graphite on paper  1991 
Lilith and Woman   Broca, Lilian   Graphite and spackle on panel  1999 
Via del Pantheon   Bailey, William H.   Pencil on paper  1997 
Untitled   McCurdy, Robert   Oil on canvas  1999 
Giglio Sunday   Safranek, Doug   Egg tempera on panel  1998 
Between Life and Life   Barnet, Will   Lithograph  1998 

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