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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.


  FILTER RESULTS
by Artist
El Sisifo (The Sisyphus)

Rodrigo Valenzuela
Three-channel digital video (color, sound); 12 min.
2015

Prole

Rodrigo Valenzuela
Digital video (color, sound); 8:48 min.
2015

Frank in the 3rd Dimension

Jim Woodring
3-D digital video (color, silent); 5:15 min.
2015

Birmingham (left)

Toyin Ojih Odutola
Four-color lithograph with gold leaf
2014

Birmingham (center)

Toyin Ojih Odutola
Four-color lithograph with gold leaf
2014

Birmingham (right)

Toyin Ojih Odutola
Four-color lithograph with gold leaf
2014

Get up!

Anne Focke
Letterpress
2013

Untitled (XIV)

Rafael Soldi
Archival pigment print
2013

Clinkers

Leo Saul Berk
Duratrans on sculptural lightbox
2012

Landscape #7

Matt Browning
Tree sap on handmade wood panel
2012

Untitled

Mark Calderon
Book spine repair tape
2012

Not Waving, but Drowning

Jeffry Mitchell
Glazed earthenware on artist-made wood pedestal
2012

Ode to Octavia: Neo-Ancient Taliswoman

The Black Constellation
Incantation, repurposed bronze, brass, silver, stainless steel, rosewood, beechnut, abalone shell, ibex and dik-dik horn, precious and semiprecious stones, 1996 GMC truck key
2012

Cuckoo Crow: Transformation

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Digital video (color, sound); 7:14 min.
2011

Untitled

Isaac Layman
Photographic construction, inkjet on paper
2011

Untitled

Isaac Layman
Photographic construction, inkjet on paper
2011

The Dorothy K: Large Claw

Implied Violence
Cardboard, wood, wire, rope, LED lights
2010

The Dorothy K: Bow Dress

Implied Violence
Silk, satin, lace, steel ring, and cable
2010

The Dorothy K: Small Ether Machine

Implied Violence
Wood, cloth, felt, glass, metal, plastic, twine
2010

Still Lives: Exposure

Susie J. Lee
Digital video (color, silent); 30 min.
2010

Deerlegs

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Wood, steel, rubber, PVC pipe, cable, microphone, transmitter
2007

Cuckoo Crow: Hatchling

Degenerate Art Ensemble
DVD video (color, silent); 14:44 min.
2007

Five Capital Punishments in China: Drawing and Quartering

Zhi Lin
Acrylic and silkscreen over charcoal underdrawing on canvas with cotton curtain and ribbons
2007

Panthrastic Harp Zither

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Steel, wood, harp strings, antique instrument parts
2005

Untitled (Nail Harp)

Degenerate Art Ensemble
Steel, wood, guitar strings, nails
2005

David Horsey's Expanding Universe

David Horsey
Graphite, brush, pen, ink and watercolor on illustration board
2004

River

Tim Lowly
Acrylic on panel
2004