press release

Approaching its 20th anniversary next year, The Contemporary Museum will showcase the newest additions to its permanent collection with the exhibition, Nineteen Going on Twenty.

The approximately 70 works in the exhibition, most of which have not been shown previously at TCM, include some of the most important pieces to be added to the collection since the museum opened in October 1988. Purchased with donated funds or acquired as gifts, works by Christo, Jennifer Bartlett, Joseph Cornell, Sam Francis, David Smith and Georgia O'Keeffe are among the new acquisitions.

Nineteen Going on Twenty is the first in a series of events anticipating the museum’s planned expansion and historic building restoration. It is also a preview of the kinds of exhibitions the expansion will make possible; slated to open in 2009, new galleries will house an ongoing, rotating exhibition of works from the TCM permanent collection. These 3000 works - paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, ceramics, wood, glass, metal and fiber objects, as well as video works - currently remain largely unseen due to lack of exhibition space.

About Nineteen Going on Twenty Honolulu collector Betty Sterling bequeathed several works that are included in this exhibition. Foremost is Sam Francis' early 1950s painting Black and Red, in which the artist filled the canvas with veils of color organized into amorphous cell-like forms. Works by David Smith, Herbert Ferber, Pat Steir, Christo, Robert Motherwell, and Donald Sultan are also in the Sterling bequest.

Honolulu collectors Jay and Wallette Shidler have donated another important Sam Francis painting, a 1968 work from the artist's Edge Paintings series in which Francis moved all color and gesture to the perimeter of the canvas, leaving a field of expansive whiteness filling most of the composition's space. This gift is a wonderful complement to the Francis painting in the Sterling bequest, allowing TCM to show an artist's development over 15 years in two major paintings. Other gifts from the Shidlers include two collages by Joseph Cornell from his Penny Arcade series, bringing TCM's Cornell holdings to 27 works, and a gouache by Tom Wesselman.

An anonymous donor has contributed two important works, a large photograph by Thomas Ruff from his Substrat series of brightly-colored amorphous abstractions, representing the first work by the contemporary German school of photographers to enter the collection; and a sculpture from her Internal DupliCity series by Maria Elena Gonzalez, whose work Nani's House was installed on TCM's lawn last year as part of the museum's Catalyst program.

Also on view in the exhibition are major works by Robert Hudson, Jose Bedia, and Alexis Smith donated by Cade and Waileia Roster; Georgia O'Keeffe's charcoal on paper Drawing II, a gift from The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation; Jennifer Bartlett's monumental painting and sculpture work House with Open Door given by Sharon and Thurston Twigg-Smith; two self-portrait works by Robert Arneson donated by Dr. Ed and Jeannine E. Bernauer, and Arneson's study drawing for Forged Earth, a gift from Sandra Shannonhouse, being shown with the final ceramic sculpture which is on loan from a private collection.

TCM's collection of ceramics, wood and metal has been enhanced by several works which will also be on view: Beverly Mayeri's ceramic sculpture The Toddler, a gift of the Peter G. Drewliner Trust in honor of Charles E. Higa; Nicholas Arroyave-Portela's ceramic Tall Zig Zag Form and Robert Butts' turned milo wood Tall Vessel, both gifts from Helen Drutt English; Michelle Holzapfel's carved wood Black and White Bowl #2, purchased with funds donated by the Greenberg Foundation and members of the Renwick Alliance; and Junko Mori's forged steel Propagation Project, purchased in memory of Dr. Alan Pavel with funds donated by his friends and family.

The exhibition ends with a group of TCM's acquisitions of works by emerging artists. Tam van Tran's Vegetarian Summer, painted in spirulina and chlorophyll on paper, and Jaume Plensa's mixed-media work on paper Father, Mother, Brother... were both purchased with funds given by the Toshiko Takaezu Foundation; and Yuri Masnyj's charcoal drawing Undertow, was a gift from Stephen and Suzanne Diamond.

Nineteen Going on Twenty is organized by the The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu.

Nineteen Going on Twenty
Recent Acquisitions from the Collection of
The Contemporary Museum

mit David Smith, Herbert Ferber, Pat Steir, Christo, Robert Motherwell, Donald Sultan, Sam Francis, Joseph Cornell, Thomas Ruff, Maria Elena Gonzalez, Robert Hudson, Jose Bedia, Alexis Smith, Georgia O´Keeffe, Jennifer Bartlett, Beverly Mayeri, Nicholas Arroyave-Portela, Michelle Holzapfel, Junko Mori, Tam van Tran, Jaume Plensa, Yuri Masnyj ...