OBERLIN, OH.- The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College presents Modern and Contemporary Art from the AMAM Collection. The exhibit is on view in the museum's Ellen Johnson Gallery through May 2009.
The importance of the modern and contemporary collection at the AMAM developed from the legacy of Oberlin's legendary professor of art Ellen Johnson (19101992), who championed contemporary art at Oberlin through artists' residencies, exhibitions, and acquisitions for the museum's collection. The Allen began seriously collecting contemporary art in the late 1950s, under Johnson's leadership and with the collaboration of museum and faculty colleagues and the support of donor Ruth Coates Roush, a 1934 Oberlin graduate.
The current reinstallation of the AMAM's modern and contemporary art represents only a small selection of the museum's very rich holdings in this area. Important American, African-American, and European works in a wide variety of mediaranging from Claude Monet's 1919 Wisteria to a newly-acquired sculpture, The Fin Within, by Tim Hawkinsonfill the gallery, giving visitors an in-depth look at 90 years of art and acquisitions. Among the important paintings on view are Audrey Flack's luscious Strawberry Tart Supreme (1974), Richard Diebenkorn's early figurative work Woman by a Large Window (1957), and Zeng Fanzhi's evocative and unnerving Mask, Series #7 (2000). Highlights among the sculptural works are Louise Nevelson's Sky Gate IV (1973), Jean Arp's Bird Tower (1963), and Eva Hesse's Laocoön (1966), which reaches almost 11 feet high and was purchased by the museum in 1970, the year of the artist's death. Other artists represented in the show are Chakaia Booker, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Murray, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Serra.
The AMAM adds to its collection continuously, reflecting the museum's ongoing commitment to supporting contemporary art and artists. Important recent acquisitions on exhibit in Modern and Contemporary Art include a whimsical print by Takashi Murakami, Melting DOB E (2008), Douglas Sanderson's Arcane Image Series 058 (2007), and detailed graphite drawings by Mark Sheinkman, Rodney Carswell, and Renée Dubois.
This exhibition was organized by Stephanie Wiles, AMAM Director, and Andria Derstine, AMAM Curator of Western Art.