December 23, 2020
BMA Concludes 2020 Vision Acquisitions with Works by Laura Aguilar, Valerie Maynard, Betye Saar, and Joyce J. Scott, Among Others
BALTIMORE, MD (December 22, 2020)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today 33 new acquisitions made as part of its 2020 Vision initiative, which includes a commitment to only purchase works by female-identifying artists this calendar year. Among the highlights entering the collection are mixed-media sculpture and paintings by Theresa Chromati, Shirley Gorelick, Loïs Mailou Jones, Valerie Maynard, Betye Saar, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Kay WalkingStick; works on paper by Camille Billops, Margaret Burroughs, Lea Grundig, Joyce J. Scott, and Zarina; and photographs by Laura Aguilar, Zackary Drucker (with A.L. Steiner), Nona Faustine, Martha Rosler, and Ming Smith. The BMA has spent $2.57 million adding 65 works to the collection by 49 female-identifying artists, including 40 who had not previously been represented at the museum.
In addition to the recent purchases made as part of 2020 Vision, the BMA has received an extraordinary gift of 35 works on paper from Baltimore-based collectors Frances K. and George Alderson, as well as gifts of works by Somaya Critchlow, Jadé Fadojutimi, Jerrell Gibbs, Adda Husted-Andersen, Tracy Miller, Daido Moriyama, Cassi Namoda, Betty Parsons, Pablo Picasso, Lieko Shiga, Lilly Martin Spencer, Anicka Yi, and those by unidentified artists from China, Japan, Tanzania (Sandawe and Nyamwezi cultures), and the Chokwe and Pende cultures in Central Africa. A full list of 2020 acquisitions is available at artbma.org/2020.
“The new 2020 Vision acquisitions represent the widest-ranging group of works to enter the BMA’s collection yet, with objects produced through a spectrum of techniques and approaches and by artists of deeply varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. As we continue to develop our collection, we remain focused on rectifying critical omissions of works by artists who are also women, Black, Indigenous, and persons of color from across the diaspora, within our own holdings and across art history more broadly,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “I am also grateful for the many gifts of art that have been given and promised to the museum and the ways in which they too amplify our ability to share narratives across time, geography, and genre. We look forward to developing exhibitions around these new acquisitions and to engaging our many audiences with them.”
The following are highlights of the recent acquisitions:
• Laura Aguilar. Access + Opportunity = Success. 1993.; Motion #59. 1999.
Laura Aguilar (American, 1959-2018) drew upon her identity as a queer Latinx photographer with auditory dyslexia to create work about personal agony and triumph as well as about community, self-acceptance, and political resistance within marginalized sub-cultures. Aguilar identified Motion #59 as being the most significant and evocative of a series she created during a residency in San Antonio. Access + Opportunity = Success captures the artist’s negotiation of her minority position within existing power structures.
• Margaret Burroughs. Black Venus. 1957 (printed c. 1970).
Referred to as the First Lady of African American art, Margaret Burroughs (American, 1915-2010) was a Chicago-based artist, writer, educator, and activist. Her most iconic work, Black Venus, was created in response to The Voyage of the Sable Venus, from Angola to the West Indies, a print created by British illustrator Thomas Stothard as the frontispiece for a 1793 publication that romanticized the slave trade. Burroughs’s image reclaims the Sable Venus with bold graphic lines and an assertive gaze. This is the first impression of the edition of 50, which was not printed in full until the 1970s, and the first example of Burroughs’s work to enter the BMA’s collection.
• Shirley Gorelick. Double Libby II. 1971-72.
Shirley Gorelick (American, 1924-2000) was a prolific, yet under-recognized figurative painter working in the latter half of the 20th century. Double Libby II is a seminal painting from a series that reimagines the mythological genre of The Three Graces. Whether reclined on a velvet chaise or seated in a chair wrapped in a checkered textile, both instances of Gorelick’s intensely psychological portrait depict Libby as guarded and stoic. The painting—the first by the artist to enter the collection—expands the BMA’s holdings of historical feminist and figurative works from the 1960s-70s.
• Loïs Mailou Jones. Untitled (Two Women). c. 1945.
Loïs Mailou Jones (American, 1905-1998) was a nationally recognized painter, textile designer, collage artist, and teacher who taught generations of artists including Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, and David Driskell. Though based in Washington, DC for much of her career, Jones traveled extensively, collecting and expanding on subjects and styles she encountered to produce an expansive and eclectic body of work. In 1973, she became the first Black American artist to have a solo exhibition at the MFA, Boston. Two Women captures Jones’s bold use of line, color, and pattern. The painting is the first work by Jones—and the first pre-1960 work by a Black female painter—to enter the BMA’s collection.
• Valerie Maynard. Rufus. c. 1968; Mourning for Maurice. c. 1970; Artist Trying to Get It All Down. c. 1970;
Lost and Found. 1989; Get Me Another Heart This One’s Been Broken Too Many Times. 1995.
Valerie Maynard (American, born 1937) is an admired printmaker, sculptor, stage set designer, and teacher whose work demonstrates a singular visual vocabulary and approach. Among the objects entering the BMA’s collection are Get Me Another Heart…, which captures the technical complexity of Maynard’s improvisational technique of using found objects as stencils to create negative impressions on heavy card stock. The Lost & Found portfolio is a summation of Maynard’s groundbreaking work as a printmaker as it translates her pioneering spontaneous acrylic spray paint technique into a portfolio of 10 silkscreens. Maynard, who has lived in Baltimore for nearly three decades, is currently the subject of a solo exhibition featured as part of the BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative. These are the first works by the artist to enter the museum’s collection.
• Betye Saar. The Destiny of Latitude & Longitude. 2010.
Betye Saar (American, born 1926) creates multimedia collages, assemblages, altars, and installations that illuminate denied or distorted narratives of history and Black experience. Her work challenges racial and sexist stereotypes deeply rooted in American culture while simultaneously paying tribute to her African, Native American, Irish, and Creole heritage. The Destiny of Latitude & Longitude—her largest and most significant cage assemblage to date—evokes the nightmare and terrors of the Middle Passage while pointing to the continuous entrapment of a global economy in the trading of stolen peoples. This is the first work by Saar to enter the BMA’s collection, joining recently collected peers Barbara Chase-Riboud, Howardena Pindell, and Mary Lovelace O’Neal, as well as her daughter Alison Saar.
• Joyce J. Scott. Hip Hop Saint, Tupac. 2014.
Joyce J. Scott (American, born 1948) is among the most important American artists living and working today. Her five-decade career spans sculpture, assemblage, jewelry, textile, beadwork, glass, printmaking, comics, storytelling, immersive installation, performance, sound, and social practice, and demonstrates an intersectional approach to life, social justice, and creativity. This monotype belongs to Scott’s ongoing Hip Hop Saints series, in which she frames hip hop artists of the 1990s as allegorical figures. This highly tender portrait memorializes slain rapper Tupac Shakur (1971-1996), who spent formative years at Baltimore’s Dunbar High School and Baltimore School for the Arts. It is the tenth work by the artist to enter the collection.
• Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Echo Map I. 2000.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s (Enrolled Salish, member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Montana, born 1940) influential career as an artist, activist, teacher, and curator spans more than four decades. Echo Map I belongs to her most iconic and searing series—the map paintings—which she began in 1992 in response to the Columbus Quincentennial and evolved as a multifaceted ongoing project. This monumental, emotionally evocative painting explores the prevalence and distribution of Spanish speakers across the U.S. and how those stories of migration intersect with Indigenous histories. This is the first painting by Quick-to-See Smith to enter the BMA collection. It joins two lithographs by the artist that entered the collection in 1996, as well as seven works on paper acquired this year as a gift from Garth Greenan.
• Kay WalkingStick. Fantasy for a January Day. 1971.
Kay WalkingStick (American, born 1935) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a renowned artist who focuses on the American landscape and its metaphorical significances. Fantasy for a January Day belongs to an early series of paintings featuring silhouettes of human figures in chromatic colors and is distinguished by its daring turn of the female gaze to the male nude. This painting shows the artist focusing on themes of gender and sexuality, as well as painterly concerns of color and space. This work and Jaune Quick-To-See Smith’s Echo Map I are the first major contemporary paintings by Native American artists acquired by the BMA and advance the stories the museum can share around Indigeneity as artistic identity in North America.
• Zarina. A Sigh. 1968.; Letters from Home (portfolio). 2004.; Abyss. 2013.; Beyond the Stars. 2014.
Zarina (Indian, 1937-2020) explores the transient and subjective definitions of home, place, language, family, journey, and memory. This selection of works entering the BMA represent different aspects of Zarina’s creative process within her wider thematic examinations. A Sigh (1968) relates to both her personally itinerant life and to the historical division of British India into the separate and warring countries of India and Pakistan in 1947. The portfolio Letters from Home (2004) explores the long-term effects of that historical event in a deeply personal collection of eight intaglio prints replicating a group of letters the artist’s sister, Rani, wrote but never posted. The violent chaos caused by Partition is further distilled in Abyss (2013), which renders the Radcliffe line. The BMA had work on paper by the artist prior to this acquisition.
Among the many significant gifts of art given to the museum are a group of 35 remarkable works on paper from Baltimore-based collectors Frances K. and George Alderson. It includes major graphic artists active in Europe, particularly France, and the United States during the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries, including Marie Bracquemond, Alexander Calder, Mary Cassatt, Germaine de Coster, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Henri Charles Guérard, Jeanne Guérard-Gonzalès, Jean-Emile Laboureur, Georges Lepape, Auguste Lepère, Maximilian Luce, John Marin, Alfredo Müller, Augusta Rathbone, Jacques Villon, and James McNeill Whistler. The couple has been affiliated with the BMA for many years and gave the museum 117 works on paper in 2015. This gift provides a valuable addition to the BMA’s extraordinary collection of graphic arts, illustrating a broader range of printmaking techniques and practitioners, including artists like de Coster, Rathbone, and others not previously represented in the collection.
Also notable are two owl vases (both titled Chouette, 1969) and two plates (Picador et Taureau, 1953 and Toros Ramie, 1952) designed by Pablo Picasso and gifted to the BMA in memory of Jane Pumphrey Nes, a collector who had lived in Baltimore and Paris. The works were created during Picasso’s 25-year exploration of ceramics at the Madoura pottery factory led by ceramicist Suzanne Ramié and her husband in Vallauris, France. There, Picasso worked as a designer, modeler, maker, and glaze inventor, creating at least 633 pieces or editions that translated his two-dimensional visions into expressive, three-dimensional objects.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.