1951
Josef Albers
Oil on fiberboard
30 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1980

One of the most immediately recognizable and influential series of paintings produced in the twentieth century is Josef Albers's Homage to the Square. Beginning the series in 1950, at age 62, Albers was to produce more than a thousand Homage paintings and prints, in four different formats.(1) The works became widely known (one appeared on a 1980 United States postage stamp) and influenced two generations of hard edge and Minimalist art.

1966
Josef Albers
Oil on fiberboard
30 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches

One of the most immediately recognizable and influential series of paintings produced in the twentieth century is Josef Albers's Homage to the Square. Beginning the series in 1950, at age 62, Albers was to produce more than a thousand Homage paintings and prints, in four different formats.(1) The works became widely known (one appeared on a 1980 United States postage stamp) and influenced two generations of hard edge and Minimalist art.

1967
Josef Albers
Oil on fiberboard
30 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches

One of the most immediately recognizable and influential series of paintings produced in the twentieth century is Josef Albers's Homage to the Square. Beginning the series in 1950, at age 62, Albers was to produce more than a thousand Homage paintings and prints, in four different formats.(1) The works became widely known (one appeared on a 1980 United States postage stamp) and influenced two generations of hard edge and Minimalist art.

1981
Carl Andre
Steel and copper
Steel squares: each 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 19 3/4 inches, copper slats: each 1/4 x 1 3/16 x 19 3/4 inches, overall: 1/4 x 40 1/2 x 374 inches

A central figure in the development of the movement known as Minimalism, Carl Andre creates art that involves the symmetrical arrangement of units of basic building materials, which he terms "particles" or "elements." Inspired by the elemental nature of Constantin Brancusi's sculpture from the early part of the twentieth century, Andre has pushed sculpture to a kind of ground zero.

1956
Francis Bacon
Oil on canvas
78 x 54 inches
Year Acquired: 2002

As the earliest surviving self-portrait, painted from memory when the artist was forty-seven years old, Self-Portrait, 1956 is a key work within Francis Bacon’s oeuvre. In this painting, Bacon depicts himself with the classic psychological impact that has come to characterize his portraits. He is isolated and hunched over, with asymmetrical features—the right side of his face is harshly raised by comparison with the left side, and the right eye is reduced to a crude circle.

2000
Stephan Balkenhol
Painted wood
Four figures, each 65 x 19 x 14 inches
Year Acquired: 2001

In 4 Figures, 2000, Stephan Balkenhol depicts four versions of the same rudimentary but realistically rendered modern Anglo man. Each figure is scaled down, and has an unevenly painted surface—the effect of using a broad paintbrush, which leaves much of the natural wood exposed. 4 Figures is characteristic of Balkenhol's work, visually and in its connections to the German woodcarving tradition and to sculpture's classical past. In this work the artist not only pays homage to the history of sculpture, but also critiques it with humor and irony.

1995
David Bates
Plaster, metal and wood
39 x 12 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1952
William Baziotes
Oil on canvas
40 1/4 x 60 inches
Year Acquired: 2000

The idea of a phantom is a strong presence in the works of William Baziotes, including the Modern Art Museum's Sea Phantoms, 1952. This painting characterizes his mature style of 1944 to 1962, a time when he created enigmatic landscapes with careful attention to spatial arrangements. Like his early work, Sea Phantoms was inspired by the Surrealists' automatic drawings, but in a subtler way.

1972
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gelatin silver print, edition 4/5
24 x 20 inches
Year Acquired: 1995
1992
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gelatin silver print
24 x 20 inches
Year Acquired: 1995
1965/printed 1993
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gelatin silver print, edition 1/5
24 x 20 inches
Year Acquired: 1995
1984
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gelatin silver print
24 x 20 inches
Year Acquired: 1995
1982
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gelatin silver print
24 x 20 inches
Year Acquired: 1995
1968
Larry Bell
Glass and chrome
12 1/8 x 12 1/8 x 12 1/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1968

Larry Bell's glass cube manifests the "less is more" aesthetic that drove much twentieth-century geometric abstraction. Reducing compositional elements to a minimum is, however, a risky artistic endeavor; viewers often find the work simplistic, without visual interest, and nothing more than a modernist joke. Artists, on the other hand, have conceived reductivism as a means to distill form to a purer essence, to focus on a medium’s constituent elements, and to produce a distraction-free work that can induce a contemplative, even spiritual, attitude.

1970
Lynda Benglis
Acrylic foam
56 1/4 x 53 1/2 x 46 3/16 inches
Year Acquired: 1970

I felt I wanted to define for myself the organic phenomena; what nature itself would suggest to me in sculpture. — Lynda Benglis

1997
Dennis Blagg
Oil on canvas
44 x 121 7/8 inches
Year Acquired: 1998
1990-91
Deborah Butterfield
Unique Bronze
80 x 112 x 28 inches
Year Acquired: 1992
1966
Vija Celmins
Oil on canvas
16 x 26 1/8 in
Year Acquired: 1996

The Modern Art Museum's collection includes three key works by Vija Celmins, each of which reflects her acute sensitivity to adjustments in space, scale, and color. In the early 1960s Celmins focused on creating imagery of common domestic items, including pencils, erasers, combs, heaters, and lamps, approaching them with a style reminiscent of Edward Hopper's approach to people.

1963
Dan Flavin
Warm white fluorescent light, edition 2/3
96 inches
Year Acquired: 2002

Although Dan Flavin is invariably described as one of the patriarchs of Minimalist sculpture—along with his colleagues Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre, and Robert Morris—he has generally rejected the appellation "Minimalist" and even the term "sculpture" as too confining a designation, often pointing out that his works are ephemeral, temporary, and installed in relation to given architectural conditions.

1961
Adolph Gottlieb
Oil on canvas
72 1/4 x 90 1/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1984

Paint quality is meaningless if it does not express quality of feeling.
— Adolph Gottlieb

1972
Nancy Graves
Acrylic and ink on canvas
102 1/16 x 72 inches
Year Acquired: 1985
1985
Nancy Graves
Bronze and stainless steel with polyurethane paint
92 3/4 x 70 x 31 1/2 inches

Nancy Graves established herself as an artist in the late 1960s with an exhibition of realistic, life-size camels. Fabricated out of wood, steel, burlap, polyurethane, animal hide, wax, and oil paint, these sculptures appeared to be taken directly from a natural history museum, and they asserted the artist’s interest in science and history. Graves returned to sculpture in the 1980s after a hiatus dedicated to painting, still interested in science and nature, but far from her camels of the late 1960s.

1963
Philip Guston
Ink on paper
18 x 24 inches
Year Acquired: 1999

Philip Guston's fifty-year career stands as a unique allegory of the changing conditions of American art in the latter half of the twentieth century. Evolving an imagery that moved from "Symbolic Realism" to abstraction and back to a searching form of autobiographical figuration in the last decade of his life, Guston engaged each decade as if it needed to be seen anew and the meaning of the moment renegotiated.

1964
Philip Guston
Oil on canvas
69 x 78 inches
Year Acquired: 1999

Philip Guston's fifty-year career stands as a unique allegory of the changing conditions of American art in the latter half of the twentieth century. Evolving an imagery that moved from "Symbolic Realism" to abstraction and back to a searching form of autobiographical figuration in the last decade of his life, Guston engaged each decade as if it needed to be seen anew and the meaning of the moment renegotiated.

1968-69
Richard Hamilton
Oil on canvas
26 1/2 x 33 1/4 inches
Year Acquired: 2004

In February 1967, Mick Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, was arrested at a party in London on drug-related offenses. Arrested alongside Jagger was the well-known cultural guru Robert Fraser—Richard Hamilton’s art dealer—resulting in a high-profile, media-fueled event. When Jagger and Fraser arrived handcuffed in a police van at the courts for sentencing, press photographers attended in droves. One of the resulting photographs, shot through the van’s window by John Twine, was used by Hamilton in a series of six paintings he titled Swingeing London.

1999
Joseph Havel
Bronze
119 x 56 x 56 inches
Year Acquired: 2001

I'm interested in capturing the ordinary, whether it be an object or a momentary event. I want to make it permanent but make it seem like it isn't.(1) — Joseph Havel

2002
Callum Innes
Oil on canvas
97 1/2 x 93 1/2 inches
Year Acquired: 2003

This painting by Callum Innes began as a monochrome, with dense layers of black oil paint covering the middle section of a primed white canvas. What appears as a soft veil of color is actually the remains of a carefully unpainted block of canvas. Taking a turpentine-soaked brush, the artist allowed the solvent to run down the surface of one painted section, leaving a ghostly trail of paint and exposing the support underneath. Innes’s exposed paintings, a series he has explored since the early 1990s, take their specific titles from the color of paint used in their creation.

1967
Donald Judd
Stainless steel and Plexiglas
Ten units, each 9 1/8 x 40 x 31 inches Overall 190 1/8 x 40 x 31 inches
Year Acquired: 1970

My work with the whole room began with part of it [the room]. In 1965, I made a work that extended from the floor to the ceiling. This extended the definition of space between the units to those below and above.  Donald Judd

1986
Ellsworth Kelly
Oil on canvas
122 x 356 inches (installed together)
Year Acquired: 1986
1983-97
Anselm Kiefer
Oil, emulsion, acrylic paint, clay, ash, earth, and dried sunflower on canvas
149 5/8 x 299 1/4 inches
Year Acquired: 2002

Since 1969 Anselm Kiefer has consistently returned to the book as subject matter. As a primary source of knowledge and a repository of world religions, books are a powerful and paradoxical symbol for the artist. Eventually Kiefer’s books became freestanding sculptures, massive symbols of the artist’s investigation of world knowledge through images. Book with Wings consists of a massive lead book supported on a steel lectern. The pages of the open book sprout two majestic wings.

1996
Anselm Kiefer
Emulsion, acrylic, and gold leaf on canvas
130 x 218 3/4 inches (330.2 x 555.6 cm)
1992-94
Anselm Kiefer
Lead, tin, and steel
74 3/4 x 208 5/8 x 43 3/8 inches
Year Acquired: 2000

Since 1969 Anselm Kiefer has consistently returned to the book as subject matter. As a primary source of knowledge and a repository of world religions, books are a powerful and paradoxical symbol for the artist. Eventually Kiefer’s books became freestanding sculptures, massive symbols of the artist’s investigation of world knowledge through images. Book with Wings consists of a massive lead book supported on a steel lectern. The pages of the open book sprout two majestic wings.

1961
Roy Lichtenstein
Oil on canvas
56 1/4 x 42 1/8 inches
Year Acquired: 1982

Roy Lichtenstein’s comics-based compositions rival Andy Warhol’s images of Campbell’s Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe as the best known and most influential examples of Pop art. Lichtenstein’s comic-book paintings, such as Mr. Bellamy, 1961, have attained such renown and familiarity that it is easily forgotten that they were produced only briefly (1961–65) and that, as part of his early Pop work, they provoked tremendous controversy.

1967
Robert Mangold
Oil on masonite
72 x 72 inches
Year Acquired: 2003
1970-71
Brice Marden
Oil and wax on canvas
70 x 60 5/8 inches
Year Acquired: 1971
1986
Melissa Miller
Oil on linen, two panels
67 x 168 inches
Year Acquired: 1986
1981
Robert Motherwell
Acrylic on oil-sized canvas
88 x 120 1/8 inches
Year Acquired: 1985
2011
Nicholas Nixon
Gelatin silver print (4/50) (37 of on-going yearly series)
20 x 24
2007
Roxy Paine
Stainless steel
40 x 45 x 28 feet
Year Acquired: 2008
1976
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Bronze, mirror
120 x 84 x 47 inches
Year Acquired: 2001
1952
Jackson Pollock
Enamel on canvas
56 1/4 x 31 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1985

Of all the Abstract Expressionists working in New York in the 1940s and 1950s, Jackson Pollock was undoubtedly the most conspicuous. Even within a radical group that took abstraction to new heights, shifting the attention of the international art world from Paris to New York, Pollock’s mercurial personality and unique mode of painting stood out.

c. 1951
Jackson Pollock
Enamel, silver paint, and pebbles on illustration board
21 3/4 x 30 inches
Year Acquired: 1985

Of all the Abstract Expressionists working in New York in the 1940s and 1950s, Jackson Pollock was undoubtedly the most conspicuous. Even within a radical group that took abstraction to new heights, shifting the attention of the international art world from Paris to New York, Pollock’s mercurial personality and unique mode of painting stood out.

1977
Robert Rauschenberg
Combine painting, mixed media on five panels
Overall approximately 84 x 180 x 8 inches
Year Acquired: 1977

Robert Rauschenberg is typically described as a “protean” artist, and for good reason. Diversity, versatility, and inventiveness have defined his art. “Rauschenberg has created in a range of mediums, materials, and techniques probably wider and more varied than any other artist of this century.”(1) This breadth is embodied in Whistle Stop (Spread), 1977, with its inclusion of fabric, painting, drawing, transfer-prints, and real objects. In its juxtaposition and fusion of various forms, Whistle Stop relates to the “Combines” that Rauschenberg developed in 1954.

1992
Gerhard Richter
Cibachrome, edition 9/12
76 3/8 x 49 1/2 inches
Year Acquired: 1996
1964
Gerhard Richter
Oil on canvas
57 x 78 1/2 inches
Year Acquired: 1997

If there is a continuity in Richter’s art, it is to be found in a finely-tuned dialectic that counterposes the seemingly irreconcilable opposites of subjective expression and objective analysis, and the mechanical versus the handmade. Richter seldom works directly from a subject, preferring the mediation of a photographic image. A majority of the artist’s imagery (including many of his early abstractions) is derived from photographs, which he has kept in his “atlas,” a vast private archive of photographic images taken by Richter or clipped from newspapers and magazines.

1957
Mark Rothko
Oil on canvas
66 x 61 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1970

A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience. — Mark Rothko

1980
Ulrich Ruckriem
Texas red granite
Left: 36 3/8 x 43 x 43 1/4 inches, Right: 36 3/8 x 43 3/4 x 43 1/2 inches
Year Acquired: 1981
1964
Ed Ruscha
Oil on canvas
65 x 121 1/2 inches
1983
Sean Scully
Oil on canvas, two panels
Overall 115 x 96 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1982
Sean Scully
Oil on canvas
114 x 97 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1995
Sean Scully
Oil on canvas
114 x 180 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1994
Sean Scully
Oil on canvas
108 x 162 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1984
Sean Scully
Oil on canvas, three panels
102 x 134 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
2002
Richard Serra
Cor-ten steel
67 feet 10 inches x 21 feet 9 inches x 20 feet 10 inches
Year Acquired: 2002
1948
Ben Shahn
Tempera on panel
36 1/8 x 48 1/8 inches
Year Acquired: 1969
1956
Clyfford Still
Oil on canvas
115 x 104 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1968

Among the small and elite group of American artists referred to by Time magazine as The Irascibles, and who made up the groundbreaking movement known as Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s and 1950s, Clyfford Still was arguably the most irascible and vociferous. Among a generation of American artists who were attuned and sensitive to the potential commercial and political exploitation of their art, Still was undoubtedly the most suspicious of institutional culture. He had little need for “middle men” to present his art and ideas.

1997
Cy Twombly
Bronze
65 3/4 x 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches
Year Acquired: 1999
1962
Jacques Villeglé
Ripped posters mounted on canvas
52 3/16 x 76 1/4 inches
Year Acquired: 2001
1986
Andy Warhol
Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas
108 x 108 inches
Year Acquired: 1998
1962
Andy Warhol
Acrylic on canvas
82 x 66 1/4 inches (208.3 x 168.3 cm)
Year Acquired: 1983

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it. — Andy Warhol

1976-77
Jackie Winsor
Painted wood, wire, and cement
32 1/2 x 32 1/2 x 32 1/2 inches
Year Acquired: 1992