Looking Forward: Gifts of Contemporary Art from the Patricia A. Bell Collection
Two years ago, the Museum successfully launched a new, more focused contemporary art program with the hiring of Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art. This exhibition, co-curated by Schwartz and Gail Stavitsky, chief curator, honors the collector Patricia A. Bell, 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. The diverse range of works she has contributed has informed every 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. A resident of South Orange, New Jersey, and former member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Bell started collecting art in 1989. She has observed that when an artwork enters her home, she “feels 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.”
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