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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
Bamboo No.8

Jeffrey Bishop
Letterpress and lithograph
1993

Bamboo No.4

Mrs. Crispwick
Letterpress and lithograph
1993

Bamboo No.7

Dennis Evans
Letterpress and print
1993

Bamboo No.6

T. Michael Gardiner
Letterpress and lithograph
1993

Bamboo No.2

Jimmy Jet
Letterpress and lithograph
1993

Bamboo No.3

Gene Gentry McMahon
Letterpress and woodcut
1993

Bamboo No.1

Peter Millett
Letterpress and woodcut
1993

Bear Icon

Leslie Morgan
Oil and copper leaf on linen
1993

Bamboo No.5

Scott Smith
Letterpress and woodcut
1993

Ogle's Samovar

Take Hama
Oil on cotton
ca. 1992

Persian Peace

Connie Hertner
Watercolor on paper
1991

Four Workers

John McIver
Acrylic on paper
1991

Great Notions

Byron Bratt
Mezzotint and acrylic wash
1990

Wild Rose Lard

Lucille Hulburt
Watercolor on paper
1990

Halibut Cove

Ted Rand
Watercolor on paper
1990

Love Cyclamen

Marilyn Schutzky
Watercolor on paper
1990

Windy Day

Peter Sculthorpe
Watercolor on paper
1990

Window Installation

Buster Simpson
Archival inkjet print in artist-made frame
1974/2013

Painted Silhouette

Buster Simpson
Archival inkjet print in artist-made frame
1974/2013

Street Action

Buster Simpson
Archival inkjet print in artist-made frame
1974/2013