The Newark Museum will reopen its re-envisioned permanent galleries of modern and contemporary American art on March 9. The culmination of a two-year project supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, the new installations create open and inviting spaces to showcase the museum’s world-class collections, and promote a more expansive view of American art.
From the museum:
Titled “Seeing America,” the new modern and contemporary galleries complete the reinstallation of the American collections that began with the addition of “Native Artists of North America” in 2016. Works by well-known American artists such as Max Weber, Andy Warhol, and Helen Frankenthaler are spotlighted alongside contemporary works by living artists, including Willie Cole, Mickalene Thomas, and many others.
The project encompasses an extensive remodeling of the permanent collection galleries, making the space more open and the artwork more accessible to visitors. The reopening will also include the unveiling of several new acquisitions and recently conserved major works; bilingual wall labels in English and Spanish throughout the second-floor galleries; a special exhibition by Los Angeles photographer and multimedia artist Matthew Brandt; and the publication of two new illustrated catalogues.
Visitors to the new “Seeing America” galleries will be able to view works by seminal American artists and discover an expanded and inclusive view of American art. “This is my first experience with the reopening of a major portion of the museum. I am proud and excited that the renovated galleries will allow for the display of a broad range of works that demonstrate and engage with genuine diversity,” said Linda Harrison, the museum’s CEO and director.
Among the collection highlights are Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Abstraction” of 1919 and her celebrated flower paintings; Edward Hopper’s “The Sheridan Theatre,” depicting a dramatically lit movie theatre populated by solitary figures; and Joseph Stella’s machine-age masterwork, the five-paneled “Voice of the City of New York Interpreted.”
The strengthening of the museum’s holdings of Latin American art is an example of the museum’s efforts to present a broader view of American art. Among the new acquisitions featured will be large-scale works by the Uruguayan modernists Joaquín Torres-García and Francisco Matto, leading figures of the Taller (Atelier) Torres-García. In addition, the new galleries will draw widely from the Museum’s global collections, bringing pre-Columbian textiles, folk art, and contemporary craft into conversation with modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, and photography to explore broad and multi-disciplinary themes, including the influence of religion on popular culture, and the connections between Indigenous art and American modernism.
The museum’s selection of mid-century and contemporary art includes Andy Warhol’s iconic pop-art sculpture “Campbell’s Tomato Soup” as well as Warhol’s 1953 book “A is an Alphabet”; a groundbreaking sculpture by Isamu Noguchi featuring abstract organic forms; and important paintings by Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painters, including Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, and Helen Frankenthaler.
Standout works by contemporary artists will also be featured in the new galleries, including the hyper-realistic sculpture “Man on a Mower” by Duane Hanson, photography by Dawoud Bey and Cara Romero, and a monumental mixed-media painting by Mickalene Thomas titled “Afro Goddess Looking Forward,” on long-term loan to the Museum.
For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.newarkmuseum.org.