Exhibition Features Recent Additions to the Collection of Grinnell College Museum of Art
A selection of recent acquisitions is on display at the Grinnell College Museum of Art (GCMOA) through June 11. The exhibition was installed for audiences attending the inauguration of President Anne F. Harris, Commencement, and reunion weekend. “Sustaining Vision” also marks a shift in the museum’s scheduling to allow more opportunities for visitors to see the permanent collection. Moving forward, the museum will rotate selections from the collection in addition to its changing temporary exhibitions.
According to Susan Baley, GCMoA director, “The intention of creating more exhibitions from the museum’s collection is multifaceted. We plan to showcase the diversity and breadth of a collection that includes more than 5,000 works of art, to celebrate our generous donors, and to allow the museum to be open to the public more consistently.”
Since the museum’s early days, purchases of art from endowed funds as well as gifts from alumni and friends of the College have enriched the collection’s representation of artists in all media from this country and around the world. The uncertainty of the past two years due to the pandemic has had little impact on this expanding diversity and growth.
“Sustaining Vision” was curated by Daniel Strong, associate director and curator of GCMoA. Strong says, “We are proud to present these recent additions to our collection, which will sustain and enrich the College’s mission for generations of future Grinnellians, nimble yet steadfast astride the changing times.”
“Sustaining Vision” features art purchased with endowed funds and gifts from alumni and friends of the College over the past three years. Many of the works were created recently and reflect the uncertainty of the times. For instance, Rashaad Newsome’s photocollage “Twenty Twenty” references the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. Created during the 2020 lockdown, Newsome has said the work was “born from the anxiety and frustration that so many Black Americans were feeling in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black people that year.” However, Newsome also intends the photocollage to convey “recovery, collection, and preservation of communal memories, histories, and stories.” “Twenty” was purchased with the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund for art acquisitions.
“Sofa,” an acrylic on canvas and mixed media work by Shimon Okshteyn, is also included in “Sustaining Vision.” The Ukrainian-born artist emigrated to the United States in 1980. This piece first appeared in Grinnell as part of the artist’s exhibition, “Aging Icons,” presented at the Grinnell College Museum of Art (then called the Faulconer Gallery) in 2002. According to Strong, “Sofa” is part of the artist’s exploration of the “life” of objects, from their ideal conceptualization in the mind to their transitory reality at the mercy of their makers and users. Okshteyn died from complications of COVID-19 in 2020. His wife, Tatyana Okshteyn, proprietor of Black & White Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, has made this and three other additional gifts this year in honor of Shimon’s long relationship with the museum and Grinnell College. We are especially mindful of presenting his work at this time of trauma and injustice being cruelly inflicted upon the Ukrainian nation and people he loved.
The GCMoA is free and open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Masks are required at this time. For more information, please visit grinnell.edu/museum.