The Baltimore Museum of Art announces final 2019 acquisitions
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The Baltimore Museum of Art announces final 2019 acquisitions
Joe Overstreet. Untitled. 1973. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from the Pearlstone Family Fund and partial gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. BMA 2019.158. ©Joe Overstreet.

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announced today that it has added nearly 100 works to its collection this fall, with objects engaging all five of the museum’s curatorial departments. Among the new acquisitions are works by Zoë Buckman, Sonya Clark, Olafur Eliasson, Darrel Ellis, Doreen Garner, Samuel Fosso, Allen Frame, Tomashi Jackson, Zhang Kechun, Judith Larzelere, Ellen Lesperance, Nate Lewis, M. Joan Linault, William B. Meyers, Tanya Marcuse, Sir William Orpen, Joe Overstreet, Howardena Pindell, Ramsses, and Sanlé Sory. The museum also added 18 works by unidentified artists from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan, Korea, and Nigeria, and a 19th-century Baltimore Album Quilt. Approximately a dozen of the works in the group were purchased with proceeds from the BMA’s spring 2018 deaccession from its contemporary holdings, including paintings by Firelei Báez and Ed Clark, a sculpture by Fred Eversley, and a video by Kota Ezawa. The fall 2019 acquisitions mark the final group to enter the BMA’s collection before it launches its 2020 Vision initiative, which includes a commitment to only purchase works by female-identifying artists in the coming year.

“We are thrilled to announce this latest slate of acquisitions to the BMA’s collection, which enhances our ability to tell the uniquely varied and layered narratives that exist across the history of art and into the present,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “As we look to 2020 and beyond, we are excited by the opportunity to push the collection in new directions that further reveal the intricacy and depth of artistic production and to connect that creative output with the human experience.”

In spring 2018, the BMA deaccessioned seven works that represented redundancies within its contemporary holdings. The proceeds from the sale of these works are being used to purchase new works of art, produced from 1943 to the present day and with a particular focus on the work of female artists and artists of color. Today’s announcement includes the fourth group of works to come into the BMA’s collection with these funds, bringing the total number of acquisitions to 44 works. Among the previous acquisitions are works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Charles Gaines, Zanele Muholi, Wangechi Mutu, Senga Nengudi, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Ebony G. Patterson, Trevor Paglen, Mary Reid Kelley, Faith Ringgold, Amy Sherald, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Whitten, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Highlights of the most recent acquisitions are:

Firelei Báez. Convex (recalibrating a blind spot). 2019. Informed by her own experiences of migration, Báez (b. 1981, Dominican Republic, lives and works in New York) examines the historical narratives of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, focusing on the politics and cultural ambiguities of place. In Convex, she transforms a diagram of the American Sugar Refinery in New Orleans through figural painting and vibrant, gestural mark-making, establishing a connection with the people who used, worked, and suffered in this space. The large-scale work, which is part of an ongoing series, is the first by the artist to enter the BMA’s collection.

Ed Clark. Untitled. 2004. The late artist (American, 1926-2019) created abstract canvases recognized for their incredible sensations of light and atmosphere. Untitled captures his gestural dexterity, highlighting the ways in which he poured, stained, splattered, pushed, and pulled acrylic paint across his canvases to varying and vibrant effects. The work well encapsulates Clark’s 1990 statement: “The truth is in the physical brushstroke and the subject of painting is the paint itself.” This is the first work by Clark to enter the BMA’s collection, and furthers the museum’s commitment to expanding its holdings of postwar work by artists of color.

Sonya Clark. Unraveling. 2015. Clark (b. 1967, Washington, DC) uses textiles to address themes of race, culture, class, and history. For Unraveling, Clark fastidiously unraveled a several inches of a commercially produced textile that depicts the Confederate flag. Part of an editioned series, Clark has also previously invited visitors to participate in the unraveling, thus engaging them in a conversation about race and history in the United States. The work extends Clark’s work with the Confederate flag, with which she first started working in 2010. Unraveling is the first work by Clark to enter the BMA’s collection.

Fred Eversley. Untitled (Black Light). 1974. Eversley (b. 1931, New York) is recognized as one of the leading American sculptors of the Post-War period and a central figure in the development of contemporary art from Los Angeles. Untitled (Black Light) is a stunning example from his much sought-after Parabolic Lens series produced in the early 1970s. With connections to California’s Light and Space and West Coast Minimalist movements, the sculpture highlights Eversley’s pioneering vision and enduring exploration of the relationships between energy, motion, space, gravity, time, light, and color. The work is the first by Eversley to enter the BMA’s collection.

Kota Ezawa. National Anthem. 2018. California-based artist Kota Ezawa (b. 1969, Germany) explores and translates significant cultural events into simulations that question the authenticity of both our experiences and retold histories. His single-channel animated video, National Anthem, reproduces N.F.L. pregame footage from 2016 and 2017, when many players took a knee, sat, raised fists, or locked arms during the national anthem. The work is the second by Ezawa to enter the BMA’s collection, and joins a wide range of other works dealing with protest, including those by Francisco Goya, Sanford Biggers, and Andrea Bowers.

Howardena Pindell. Autobiography: Japan (Tombo No Hane). 1982–83.; Free, White and 21. 1980.; Untitled #100. 1979.; Video Drawings: Science Fiction (Metropolis). 1975.; Video Drawings: Tennis. 1975.; and Removal 3/8. 1973. Pindell (b. 1943, Pennsylvania) is one of America’s most distinguished living artists and a critical voice in bringing social justice and equity to the art world. Autobiography: Japan (Tombo No Hane) is a large mixed-media work on canvas that incorporates Pindell’s signature punched paper dots into a maze pattern she found as a concept of fortification in Japan. Her landmark video, Free, White, and 21, has been widely recognized as having influenced two generations of moving image artists and was essential to the acceptance of film and video as a fine art media. Untitled #100 is a mixed media collage, and the two Video Drawings merge Pindell’s engagement with television broadcasts and her self-created systems of dots, numbers, and arrows, while Removal 3/8 features a black field of waxy pigment scarred by elegantly carved lines, encapsulating the artist’s early drawing practice and the significance of the circle to her creative process.

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