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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
Adam and Eve Dressed   Hopper, Janette K.   Linocut  1996 
After Boucher: Untitled   Vaughan, Molly Jae   Oil pencil on paper  2022 
Afternoon Nap   Wyeth, Victoria Browning   Gelatin silver print  1996 
Alice™ (you don’t have to think about it)   Joseph, Kahlil   Digital video (color, sound); 18:41 min.  2016 
Allegory of the Raging Sun   Lyons, Kat   Oil on canvas  2021 
An Agnostic Manifesto   Hazleton, Lesley   Text installation  2015 
Avatar: Fanon & Decca   Ingram, C. Davida   Digital video (color, sound); 19:23 min.  2015 
Baby   Ball, Natalie   Cotton cloth, twine, clay, leather, metal jingles, deer legs, and shoes   2018 
Baby Blue   Boafo, Amoako   Oil on canvas  2021 
Bamboo No.1   Millett, Peter   Letterpress and woodcut  1993 
Bamboo No.10   Paquette, Virginia   Letterpress and lithograph  1994 
Bamboo No.11   Robalino, Mauricio   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.12   Chew, C.T.   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.13   Guerra, Jose Rodriguez   Letterpress and lithograph  1994 
Bamboo No.14   Kraftt, Robert   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.15   Chacona, George   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.16   Paschkis, Julie   Letterpress and linocut  1994 
Bamboo No.17   Dennis, Lockwood   Letterpress and woodcut  1994 
Bamboo No.18   Noah, Barbara   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.19   Struck, Rebecca   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.2   Jet, Jimmy   Letterpress and lithograph  1993 
Bamboo No.20   Jones, Fay   Letterpress and lithograph  1994 
Bamboo No.21   Spafford, Michael   Letterpress and woodcut  1994 
Bamboo No.22   Guzak, Karen   Letterpress and print  1994 
Bamboo No.23   Tsutakawa, George   Letterpress and Sumi ink  1994 

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