On Certainty: Gifts from the Collection of Suzanne F. Cohen


Suzanne F. Cohen’s (1935–2018) extraordinary leadership and enduring support for the BMA touched every area of the Museum. In addition to chairing the Board and numerous Trustee committees, Cohen helped establish an endowment for free admission and funded many exhibitions, commissions, restorations, public programs, and gifts of art.

“For me, free admission is the capstone of my museum career,” Cohen said in 2016. “It synthesizes my passion for art and the meaningful place it can have in our lives with my personal commitment to social justice— the imperative that we share our wondrous Museum with all of our public all of the time.”

In conjunction with the fall 2021 Contemporary Wing reinstallation, this exhibition will showcase some of the most significant works Cohen collected, lived with, and donated to the BMA, as well as acquisitions she helped facilitate. Highlights include a major multi-panel painting by Ellsworth Kelly and works in various media by leading conceptual artist Mel Bochner, with whom Cohen shared an enduring friendship. Important works on paper by Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Adam Pendleton, Marjetica Potrč, Robert Smithson, and others will be displayed in two five-month installations.

Photo Essay: Learn more about Cohen’s legacy

Curated by Cecilia Wichmann, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art

This exhibition is supported by the Suzanne F. Cohen Exhibition Fund.