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Isamu Noguchi, Remembrance, 1944. Gift of the Babe and Julie Davis Acquisition Fund, 2013.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN.- On the occasion of its 75th anniversary as a public art center, the Walker Art Center will present 75 Gifts for 75 Years, an exhibition on view February 5, 2015 through August 2, 2015 that showcases some of the newest works of art gifted to the Walker’s collection and underscores the tremendous impact that gifts of art have made on the institution’s collection throughout its history. The Walker, like many institutions, is indebted to the donors who have helped strengthen its holdings through significant gifts of art. While the Walker has made prescient purchases of works of art over the years through an endowment that supports acquisitions, often buying the work of artists early in their careers, this activity alone could not have built the museum into the preeminent repository of contemporary art that it is today.


Frank Stella, Untitled, 1962. Metallic oil on canvas. 11-1/2 x 22-3/4 in. unframed. Gift of the Babe and Julie Davis Acquisition Fund, 2013.

The “75 Gifts” of the exhibition’s title refers to a selection of works that will celebrate the culmination of the Walker’s three-year initiative to solicit 75 donors to give generously from their personal or corporate collections on the occasion of this anniversary year. As a result of the initiative, more than 250 works of art from nearly 100 donors have been added through outright gift or promise, and 50 artists not previously in the Walker’s collection are now represented.


Michelangelo Pistoletto, Uomo Alla Balconata (Man on a Balcony), 1965. Gift of Sage and John Cowles, 2014

75 Gifts for 75 Years will be on view concurrently with another anniversary exhibition, Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections, tracing the growth of the collection under the stewardship of Walker directors and curators since 1942. Curated by the Walker’s Executive Director Olga Viso and guest curator Joan Rothfuss, the exhibition looks at 75 years of collecting history distinguished not only by bold and often risk-taking purchases but also acquisitions that have consistently breached the boundaries of media or disciplines. Together, these exhibitions celebrate a milestone moment for an institution that is now one of the world’s leading centers for contemporary art.


Zilia Sánchez, Troyanas, políptico (de la serie Módulos Infinitos) [Trojans, polyptych (of the Infinite Modules series)], 1967. Promised gift of Laura and John Taft ©Zilia Sánchez, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.

The 75th Anniversary Gifts Initiative has made a transformative difference to the collection,” says Walker Executive Director Olga Viso. “It has brought to us a number of works by artists active in the 1960s and early 70s who were not previously represented in the collection, such as the African American painter Beauford Delaney, or early conceptual and minimal artists Joseph Kosuth and Barry Le Va, as well as more contemporary figures like Michaël Borremans, Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans whose works would be difficult to purchase given the prices of their works in the current art market.” Alongside the Art at the Center exhibition, 75 Gifts for 75 Years demonstrates the important relationship between gifts and purchases and how these different approaches to building the collection often work in tandem. As Viso points out, “Visitors who visit both shows can readily see how the institution’s more experimental risk-taking purchases in the Burnet gallery that often have a more decidedly global focus, are complemented by gifts of works by artists working nationally and locally.”


Robert Indiana, LOVE, 1966–1998. Promised gift ©2014 Morgan Art Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

75 Gifts for 75 Years will include works across media, including gifts or promised gifts in the areas of painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and prints made by artists active since the 1950s. This show will underscore the remarkable generosity of the Walker’s supporters from within the Twin Cities and around the globe, and will showcase the story of ongoing support that has helped the scope of the collection to broaden in important ways. Some of these more recent donations, including works by Robert Indiana, Joseph Kosuth, Claes Oldenburg, Ad Reinhardt, George Segal, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol help to build on the Walker’s existing areas of strength; others, such as works by Beauford Delaney, Philip Guston, Franz Klein, and Gordon Matta-Clark fill historical gaps; while a range of works by established artists including Marlene Dumas, Barry Le Va, Steve McQueen, Lari Pitman and Luc Tuymans, are by artists new to the collection. Still other gifts have introduced younger artists to the Walker’s holdings who have received significant attention in recent years, such as Dianna Molzan, Tauba Auerbach, Walead Beshty, Sarah Crowner, Zak Prekop and many others. The gifts also include work by numerous artists from Minnesota, including Siah Armajani, Harriet Bart, Jay Heikes, Philip Larson, Scott Nedrelow, Ruben Nusz, David Rathman, Elizabeth Simonson, Alec Soth, and JoAnn Verburg.


Kara Walker, Cut, 1998. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Gift of Donna MacMillian, 2013.

We continue to be awed by the outpouring of support for the institution from donors committed to enhancing the depth and breadth of our holdings,” says Viso. “This effort has brought together individuals across generations, both within our community and around the globe who not only wish to gift us choice works they may have already collected but are also eager to help us acquire prospectively into the future to ensure that the Walker’s collection boldly reflects the art of our time. From artists and friends, to museum members, to new Board members and longtime trustees, the level of participation is unprecedented. It is truly a remarkable moment and indeed several individuals have promised significant bodies of work from their collections.”


Luc Tuymans, Timer, 2005. Gift of Beth Swofford, 2013.