This rotating exhibition features work from newly inducted artists and architects of the National Academy including David Diao, Ann Hamilton, Shirley Jaffe and Roberto Juarez.
The works included in this installation represent a selection of recent acquisitions to the National Academy’s collection. Comprised of over seven thousand works in a variety of media and in almost every artistic style, the Academy’s collection has principally been shaped through gifts from National Academicians. Once elected as a National Academician, the only requirement of membership is the donation of a representative work to the institution. This rule, instituted in the 1830s, has been the guiding principle in the creation of this unique American collection for more than 180 years. Unlike most institutional collections of a comparable age and size, the Academy’s has not been shaped by a succession of museum curators, directors, or collectors. Instead, it has been formed through the perennial election of visual artists and architects and the subsequent donation of their work.
Painting was the dominant medium for many years within the Academy and was one of the four original categories of membership that also included sculpture, printmaking, and architecture. In addition to several thousand paintings, the institution has holdings of sculpture, works on paper, and architectural drawings, renderings, and photographs. In 2011, Academicians amended the categories of membership to make eligible visual artists working in any medium, forever changing the composition of the membership and the collection. More than simply a living record of American art and architecture, the Academy’s collection stands as an ongoing, if somewhat discursive, record of those elected into the institution, and ultimately reflects the ever changing nature of American art over the past two hundred years.
The National Academy is grateful to the following for their generous support of our operations: The Bodman Foundation, The Bonnie Cashin Fund, in honor of Henry W. Grady, the Alex J. Ettl Foundation, the F. Donald Kenney Exhibition Fund, The Estate of Geoffrey Wagner in memory of Colleen Browning, NA, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.