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Modern Media Invite

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Press Contact:

Julian Rankin
jrankin@msmuseumart.org | 919-630-0707


Mississippi Museum of Art hosts blockbuster exhibition of 20th century modern masters

Works by more than fifty artists from Georgia O’Keeffe to Jackson Pollock


Exclusive Press Preview for When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection, the fifteenth presentation of The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series. With works by 52 of the 20th century’s most influential artists, the exhibition illuminates the artistic transformations that took place in the U.S. during the first half of the century while also exploring Roy R. Neuberger’s significant role as a collector of and an advocate for the contemporary art of his time. On view at the Museum in Jackson from April 9 – October 30, 2016, this presentation marks the first time this collection has traveled from its home at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York, since Neuberger donated it over 40 years ago. The Museum is honored to be the first venue on this unprecedented tour. When Modern Was Contemporary is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY.

The exhibition showcases work by a remarkable selection of modern masters including Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and numerous others. Never before has this collection of artists been represented together in the state for public display.


Comments from:

Mayo Flynt, Chairman of the Board, Mississippi Museum of Art

Betsy Bradley, Director, Mississippi Museum of Art

Laurie McRee, trustee, Mississippi Museum of Art and the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation

Jerry Host, President, Trustmark

Stephanie LaNasa, Chairman of the Board, American Federation of Arts

Tracy Fitzpatrick, Director, Neuberger Museum of Art


Thursday, April 7

10 AM Press Conference

Guided exhibition tour for press by Tracy Fitzpatrick immediately follows the conference.


Mississippi Museum of Art

380 South Lamar Street | Jackson, MS 39201

Exhibition Overview

Drawing from the collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art, When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection surveysthe development of modern art in the U.S., from representational modes in the early years of the twentieth century through the abstract expressionist revolution at mid-century. The exhibition begins with works by artists who built upon European precedents, including paintings such as Max Weber’s La Parisienne (1907), with sinuous lines inspired by Matisse; and Joseph Stella’s Gas Tank, Pittsburgh (American Landscape) (1918), which freely samples from cubism and futurism to depict the vibrancy of an American city. Georgia O’Keeffe, in her Lake George by Early Moonrise (1930); and Arthur Dove, exploring shape and color in his Holbrook’s Bridge to the Northwest (1938), are inspired by organic forms in the American landscape, while industry is celebrated in paintings such as Ralston Crawford’s At the Dock (1941) and Charles Sheeler’s The Web (1955), a conceptual view of industrial structures. The collection’s masterworks of abstract expressionism include Jackson Pollock’s Number 8, 1949, an exemplary “drip” painting; and Willem de Kooning’s Marilyn Monroe (1954), the only named figure in the artist’s groundbreaking Woman series.

Neuberger selected each work for the collection himself, taking artists and artworks on their individual merits, a fact evidenced by the notable diversity of the artists he supported. Works by exceptional masters such as Marsden Hartley, represented by the iconic Fishermen’s Last Supper, Nova Scotia (1940–41); and Horace Pippin, represented by a classic Cabin in the Cotton (1944); as well as significant sculptures by Harry Bertoia; Alexander Calder; David Smith; and others, are among numerous highlights.

When Modern Was Contemporary also exhibits rarely seen archival material, including contributions made by artists to albums presented to Neuberger for his fiftieth and seventy-fifth birthdays and original receipts for purchases of artworks, offering unique views into the development of the collection, the artist-patron relationship, and the workings of the art world.

Following the presentation at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, the exhibition travels to the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, (December 2, 2016–January 29, 2017); Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, (February 26–May 21, 2017); and Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, New Mexico, (September 30–December 31, 2017).

The exhibition will be highlighted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #Neuberger, and during its run in Mississippi with #BeModernMS.

About the Curator

Tracy Fitzpatrick is director of the Neuberger Museum of Art and an Associate Professor of Art History at Purchase College, SUNY. She is responsible for the Museum’s first in-depth study of the Roy R. Neuberger collection. Fitzpatrick has written, curated, and taught widely on American art of the twentieth century.


The fully illustrated publication is the first comprehensive catalogue of the Roy R. Neuberger collection. Both a companion to the exhibition and a valuable resource for scholars, it includes an essay by Tracy Fitzpatrick, large illustrations and detailed scholarly entries for works in the exhibition, and a selected checklist of the Neuberger Collection. An illustrated brochure offering visitors an overview of the exhibition, published by the American Federation of Arts, will also be available.


The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY.

Neuberger Berman is the national tour sponsor of When Modern Was Contemporary. Additional support is provided by the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. In-kind support is provided by Christie’s. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Generous support for the original presentation and the accompanying catalogue was provided by Helen Stambler Neuberger and Jim Neuberger. Sotheby’s has provided in-kind support to the Neuberger Museum.

Local presentation is made possible through the generous support of the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation and Trustmark. Additional support is provided by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Mississippi Media, the city of Jackson, the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Admission to the exhibition is $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 students (includes admission to Reflections: Works by Modern Masters from the Collection).

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s mission is to “engage Mississippians in the visual arts.” The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art’s exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit www.msmuseumart.org.

About the AFA

The American Federation of Arts is the leader in traveling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit institution founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.

About the Neuberger Museum of Art

The Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, is the premier museum of modern, African, and contemporary art in the Westchester/Fairfield County area. An outstanding arts and education institution, the Museum was conceived with the dual purpose of serving both as an important cultural resource to its regional, national, and international audiences, and as an integral part of Purchase College. Support for the Museum’s collection, exhibitions, publications, and education programs is provided by grants from public and private agencies, individual contributions, the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and its Board of Directors, the Purchase College Foundation, and the State University of New York.

Modern art from the Mississippi Museum of Art Collection

Complementing When Modern Was Contemporary is a secondary exhibition called Reflections: Works by Modern Masters from the Collection. Also on view April 9 – October 30, 2016, this exhibition features works by many of the same American artists but in this case drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection and from that of Paul and Celia Mabry (Oxford). Moreover it includes remarkable examples by contemporaneous artists not represented in the Neuberger Collection—like Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol—as well as works by Mississippi modernist painters such as Dusti Bongé, Andrew Bucci, and George Wardlaw.

As war disrupted Europe’s economy and art market—twice in the first half of the 20th century—the United States provided refuge to both European and American artists whose work was revolutionary. After a parade of stylistic “isms” such as Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism, American artists embraced abstraction as the formal strategy that best suited their artistic purpose and made New York City the international capital of the art world. Reflections: Works by Modern Masters from the Collection features art from the 1910s to the 1970s, from the Armory Show of 1913 to the Pop artists of the “psychedelic” decade. Cost: $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 students (includes admission to When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection) This exhibition is sponsored by The Thomas G. Ramey and Peggy Huff Harris Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson.