Museums are constantly adding to their collections—filling the gaps of periods, artists and media—through purchases, but more often through gifts. On Dec. 4, you’ll get a chance to see what’s new in the Honolulu Museum of Art’s collection when three exhibitions open. The thematic centerpiece is Recent Acquisitions, a showcase of works in a wide range of media—paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, prints and textiles—that have recently come into the museum’s possession, or which have previously not been displayed. Among many notable works are Roy Lichtenstein’s large sculpture Woman Contemplating a Yellow Cup, two works by Los Angeles-based abstract minimalist Karl Benjamin, prints by Andy Warhol, and an Aleutian Island seal gut winter parka.
Under the same umbrella, gifts from two private collections form their own exhibitions. As curator of contemporary art Jay Jensen explains, “Since both gifts included a concentration of works in the respective areas of photography and contemporary wood, we decided to highlight them in discrete installations of the entire gifts.” Los Angeles philanthropists Jane and Marc B. Nathanson have transformed the museum’s collection of 20th-century photography with a donation of 35 photographs, which includes two photographs by Man Ray that illustrate the development of his work over a 20-year span. In addition, a large gift of contemporary woodworks from the Minnesota collectors David and Ruth Waterbury, along with a pair they had previously given to the museum, will go on display. In all, the 30 masterfully crafted fine wood sculptures represent over a dozen preeminent artists working in wood today.
The three exhibitions reveal the growth of the museum’s collection in size and geographic and temporal scope. On a deeper level, they represent the museum’s big-picture growth that is spurred by critical relationships—with museum members and donors, and with artists and collectors who offer the museum committed support.
Karl Benjamin (American, 1925 – 2012)
Untitled #6 (Blue Squares), 1973
Oil on canvas
Gift of Judy Cronin in memory of Rusty and Dick Cronin, 2013 (2013-45-03)