Collection of gifts


POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Birthdays are great times to take stock—and grow stock, as it were. For museums, that means expanding collections via donated works of arts. A couple of days ago, the Contemporary Museum in Makiki Heights opened an exhibit showcasing the gifts and promised gifts of generous art collectors in commemoration of its 20th anniversary last year.

“;At 21,”; organized by James Jensen, the museum's deputy director of collections and exhibitions, features those newest acquisitions.

“;In the last two decades, our collection has grown to more than 3,000 works, not including things in our current show,”; Jensen says. “;The particular strength of our collection is that it's a good representation of West Coast contemporary artists, California especially. We've also focused on contemporary photography that's conceptual and nontraditional.”;




'AT 21'

        On exhibit: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 24

Place: The Contemporary Museum, Makiki Heights, 2411 Makiki Heights Drive


Admission: $8; $6 students, seniors, military; free to children 12 and younger


Call: 526-0232




In addition, the museum has cultivated a significant collection of wood art by national and international artists, including 100 pieces acquired last year.

Jensen says that while it's the norm for museums to accept donated art, the Contemporary Museum “;is a little unusual in that our local collection represents works gifted by major collectors elsewhere: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago.”;

Much of such acquisitions can be credited to Jensen's relationships over the years with these collectors.

“;I started purchasing contemporary wood (pieces), and collectors have heard about it and taken an interest in building that collection,”; he says. “;In this show are selections from wood gifts (donated by) a couple from L.A. involved with several museums in Houston and Minneapolis. They come on vacation here every year, and they like our museum.

“;The Contemporary Museum is better known across the country and internationally than people might assume.”;

Other highlights of “;At 21”; include a sculpture by Roy DeForest, one of a handful of freestanding works by the artist; a painting by Donald Salton; a still life by Paul Wonner; a painting by Dorothy Faison, a ceramic sculpture by Esther Shimazu; and 14 abstracts from a New York collector.

Last year the museum received a major gift from Sharon and Thurston Twigg-Smith of more than 60 works by H.C. Westermann. The museum also received 24 pieces from iconic ceramist Toshiko Takaezu.