Looking Forward: Gifts of Contemporary Art from the Patricia A. Bell Collection
Looking Forward: Gifts of Contemporary Art from the Patricia A. Bell Collection honors the collector Patricia A. Bell, a resident of South Orange, NJ, whose gifts of more than 40 works to MAM over the past decade have been crucial for developing the Museum’s contemporary art collection into a significant reflection of the current art world since the 1990s. Shown together here for the first time, her gifts have both shaped and strengthened MAM’s contemporary art collection, culminating in the launch of a new, more focused contemporary art program with the hiring of Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art, two years ago. The exhibition, co-curated by Schwartz and Gail Stavitsky, chief curator, will be on view through the Museum’s 100th Birthday Party, a community celebration of its Centennial, on January 15, 2014. The diverse range of works Bell has contributed has informed every permanent collection exhibition of recent years at the Museum. Artists whose work is represented among Bell’s gifts include John Baldessari, Dawoud Bey, Sarah Charlesworth, Chuck Close, Willie Cole, Sharon Core, Gregory Crewdson, Nan Goldin, Sarah Hobbs, Jasper Johns, Justine Kurland, Louise Lawler, Robert Rauschenberg, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Kiki Smith, Alec Soth, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jack Whitten. The works on view in this exhibition address a variety of concerns shared by many artists today, including themes of racial and cultural difference in American life, issues of gender in contemporary society, and the artifice of photography. Bell served on the Museum’s Board of Trustees from 2004–2010 and is currently a member of the Museum’s Art Committee. Having begun collecting art in 1989, she has observed, “When an artwork comes into my home, I feel as though I’ve made a connection to the soul of the artist. … There are lots of different ways to tell history, but art is one of the most interesting ways of keeping track of what’s going on.”
MAM Contemporaries MAM Contemporaries is a dynamic group celebrating contemporary art at the Montclair Art Museum. Leading one of the first groups of its kind in the area, MAM’s Curator of Contemporary Art Alexandra Schwartz will guide participants who want to explore, learn, and deepen their knowledge of the contemporary art world. Learn more.
Looking Forward: Gifts of Contemporary Art from the Patricia A. Bell Collection is made possible with generous support from Merrill Lynch.
Additional Exhibition Angel support provided by the Vance Wall Foundation, The Susan V. Bershad Charitable Fund, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, Karen Mandelbaum, and Margo and Frank Walter.
All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.