ASU Art Museum Collections
Acquisitions to the ASU Art Museum are actively pursued to build on the strengths of the existing collection of 12,000 objects and reflect the museum’s active exhibition program. The collection focuses on the following areas:
Latinx and Latin American artists
Works by Latinx and Latin American artists with an emphasis on contemporary, Mexican modernism, late 20th century and contemporary art from Cuba, Chicanx and Latinx artists
- Latin American and Latinx art from the 20th and 21st centuries totals over 1,000 objects. The collection includes modern and contemporary examples and is anchored by historic works of the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros that formed part of the museum’s founding “Art of the Americas” collection gifted in 1950 by Oliver B. James.
- There are three areas of concentration: contemporary art since the 2000s in all media (250 objects); contemporary Cuban art from the 1980s and 1990s (some 235 objects); historic Latin American and Chicanx prints (500 works on paper).
- Highlights from the contemporary collection include works by Iván Argote, Margarita Cabrera, Tania Candiani, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Gabriel Rico, Eduardo Sarabia. The Cuban collection was assembled in the 1990s, and includes sculptures and large-scale installations by some of the best-known artists of the period, including Belkis Ayón, Kcho, Los Carpinteros, Arturo Cuenca, René Francisco, Sandra Ramos, Tonel and Toirac. The print collection includes works on paper by artists throughout the Americas, including Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Guatemala, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Columbia, Argentina and Mexico, specifically. The Mexican masters Arnold Belkin, Leopoldo Méndez, Carlos Merida, José Guadalupe Posada, and Rufino Tamayo are well represented.
Credit: © 2022 Tamayo Heirs / Mexico / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Historic and contemporary prints
Historic and contemporary prints, photographs and works on paper including the Jules Heller Print Study Room, housing some 6,000 works on paper with a focus on social and political themes. The Print Study Room provides a secure environment for care and storage while also being an accessible resource for research and viewing by students, scholars and general visitors. Prints are available for viewing by appointment offering a rare opportunity to view a print without a frame’s glass.
- The Jules Heller Print Study Room houses close to 6,000 objects with broad historical scope, ranging from an early Bible page to contemporary work, including artists from Europe, Asia, Cuba and the Americas. Existing strengths include the Renaissance, Ukiyo-e, Post-Impressionism, German Expressionism, American Regionalism, and Pop Art.
- Artists well represented include Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Honore Daumier, and Leopoldo Mendéz, a leader of the Taller Grafíca Popular, which published the prints of many political-activist artists during the period of the Mexican Revolution (1910) and in the decades that followed. Some other artists in the collection who address social/political issues in their artwork are William Hogarth, José Guadalupe Posada, Roberto Huezo, William Kentridge, Lorna Simpson, Los Carpinteros and José Angel Toirac.
Credit: © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City
20th century and contemporary craft
20th century and contemporary craft with a focus on ceramics, fiber and wood, including the Ceramics Research Center (CRC) collection and archive, an unparalleled resource for the presentation, study and scholarship of 20th century and contemporary ceramics.
- The ASU Art Museum (ASUAM) has been a major force in contemporary craft since the 1950s, with an emphasis on ceramics, baskets and sculptural fiber, and wood. The Ceramics Research Center stewards a collection of nearly 4,000 pieces, including one of the country’s largest and best collections of 20th-century and contemporary American and British ceramics. Over 800 objects are displayed in chronological order at the Ceramics Research Center open storage and exhibition gallery, which is open year-round to the public.
- The collection reflects many of the important artists, movements and innovations of the period with works by Rudy Autio, Hans Coper, Ruth Duckworth, Shoji Hamada, Karen Karnes, Bernard Leach, Maria Martinez, Otto and Gertrud Natzler, Lucie Rie, Edwin and Mary Scheier, Angus Suttie, Akio Takamori, Peter Voulkos, Kurt Weiser and Betty Woodman, to name a few.
- The CRC’s archives are also among the most important in the field. They include the archives of Susan Peterson, a renowned ceramicist, scholar, and educator; and The Studio Potter magazine archives, which document 30 years of creative activity in the field. Additionally, CRC Library houses over 3,000 rare exhibition catalogs, books, periodicals and media.
Flower, 1989, Stoneware, Overall: 21 x 21 in. (53.34 x 53.34 cm)
Museum purchase through a gift from the Stéphane Janssen Art Foundation
Contemporary art including new media and works by regional and emerging artists; exploring social, political and environmental subjects.
- The contemporary collection reflects the museum’s larger collecting priorities with concentrations in Latin American and Latinx artists; local and international makers; ceramics and other crafts; prints. Highlights include Belkis Ayon, Tania Candiani, Los Carpinteros, Carmen Lomas Garza, Luis Jimenez, Kcho, Maria Martinez, Adam McEwan, Jose Clemente Orozco, Gabriel Rico, Diego Rivera, Leo Villareal, Peter Volkous, and Beatrice Wood.
- It also reflects the Museum’s exhibition history, including the artist residency program, from which the Museum prioritized acquisitions, such as Miguel Palma.
- Works that are experimental in terms of process, media and presentation and content whether social, political or environmental, such as Nam June Paik, Inigo Manglano Ovalle, Jim Campbell or Francis Alys.
- Local artists and artists with histories in Arizona, including Fritz Scholder.
Credit: © 2022 Leo Villareal
19th and 20th century Art of the Americas
19th and 20th century Art of the Americas, grounded by the Oliver B. James collection including paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Diego Rivera, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Reginald Marsh, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Irene Rice Pereira and Charles Demuth, among others.
Credit: © 2022 Estate of Yasuo Kuniyoshi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
The collection today
As a guiding collecting philosophy, ASUAM curators center absent and excluded narratives through future acquisitions and exhibition and collection initiatives. The museum’s artistic staff are guided by ASU’s charter of innovation and inclusion, which measures institutional success by the ways it includes rather than excludes. Existing collections are probed and activated in dynamic ways that center Latinx, Latin American, and Indigenous stories relevant to ASU’s growing diverse student body and the shifting demographics of the state.
The ASU Art Museum collection is thus a living entity, constantly being refined and recontextualized. Acquisitions are actively and thoughtfully pursued to build on historic strengths and address deficiencies and equity. We strive to acquire works from exhibitions and commissions through residencies at the Museum. Our guiding principles for new acquisitions include innovation, risk-taking, bold vision, and merit with a primary focus on work that explores social, political and environmental concerns in our regional and global contexts.
In working with its collection and connecting with a range of diverse local and regional communities, ASUAM employs an innovative model of curation that honors people by utilizing artworks as conduits of empathy, storytelling, and freedom of expression; acts as a social studio for creative experimentation and interdisciplinary knowledge production; and embraces transparency for interactive learning and radical collaboration.
If you have questions about a specific work of art from the museum’s collection, contact us at 480-965-2787.
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