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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 
Horse I   Andoe, Joe   Lithograph  1994 
Horse II   Andoe, Joe   Lithograph  1994 
Still Life with Kumquats   Aponovich, James   Oil on canvas  1993 
Untitled (Badlands)   Aranda, Juventino   Oil on wool Pendleton blanket  2018 
IRT #7   Assael, Steven   Oil on canvas  1997 
Via del Pantheon   Bailey, William H.   Pencil on paper  1997 
Bamboo No.24   Bard, Gayle   Letterpress and lithograph  1994 
Between Life and Life   Barnet, Will   Lithograph  1998 
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 
Flying Female #4   Bergt, Michael   Colored pencil and gouache on paper  1998 
Clinkers   Berk, Leo Saul   Duratrans on sculptural lightbox  2012 
Specular Reflections   Berk, Leo Saul   Glass, black pond dye  2015 
Wind Jangle   Berk, Leo Saul   Aluminum, fishing line, weights  2015 
Bamboo No.8   Bishop, Jeffrey   Letterpress and lithograph  1993 
Bamboo No.9   Blocker, Mare   Letterpress and linocut  1994 
Stereoscopic Viewer   Bratt, Byron   Mezzotint and acrylic wash  1995 
Great Notions   Bratt, Byron   Mezzotint and acrylic wash  1990 
Chemically Tanned   Bremner, Alison   Latex paint on deer hide with horsehair  2017 
Waves Floater   Britto, Romero   Acrylic paint and oil pen on canvas  2017 
Lilith and Woman   Broca, Lilian   Graphite and spackle on panel  1999 
Engine 55, East Broome Street   Brosen, Frederick   Watercolor on paper  1998 
Tradition as Adaptive Strategy   Browning, Matt   Tree sap and carved wood  2010 


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