Left: Mary Callery, Orpheus, 1951. Kykuit, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Right: Melissa Meyer, A Nod to Grace (detail), 2021. Melissa Meyer Studio, New York City. Photos by Andy Romer.
Inaugural Exhibition at the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center
This fall, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) will present its first exhibition in the gallery at the new David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center at Pocantico (DR Center). Inspired Encounters: Women Artists and the Legacies of Modern Art explores ideas of intergenerational influence and innovation among visual artists working in a range of practices. It will be on view from October 1, 2022, through March 19, 2023.
Comprised of 43 artworks, the exhibition pairs pieces by a dozen groundbreaking women artists of the postwar period with new commissions of contemporary art presented publicly for the first time. It draws primarily from the permanent collection of modern art at Kykuit, the former Rockefeller family home that now operates as a historic house museum on The Pocantico Center campus. The house, as well as the art collections, were bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Nelson A. Rockefeller in 1979.
“The DR Center is the first temporary exhibition gallery at Pocantico, offering us new opportunities to activate the historical collections beyond the period rooms in which they are preserved in amber, so to speak,” says Katrina London, manager of collections and curatorial projects at the RBF. “With this show, we aimed to highlight the diverse stories and voices of brilliant women who relentlessly pursued artistic success despite the discrimination they faced."
Artists Sonya Clark, Maren Hassinger, Elana Herzog, Melissa Meyer, Fanny Sanín, Barbara Takenaga, and Kay WalkingStick were invited to visit Pocantico and asked to respond to the museum and grounds with artwork for the exhibition. The result is a series of inspired encounters that frames the modern art of the postwar period as relevant, generative, and open to myriad creative possibilities.
“We wanted to identify the ways in which contemporary women artists have both upheld and upended the ideas put forth in the period of high modern art,” said Consulting Curator Jeremiah William McCarthy, formerly of the National Academy of Design, who co-organized the exhibition. “This was a natural partnership because, unlike other academies, the National Academy of Design has welcomed women students since its inception in 1825 and is led today by a woman president.”
Additional works were loaned by the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans; the Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, SC; and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation and National Academy of Design in New York to broaden the historical context of the exhibition.
“Not only does the inaugural exhibition at the DR Center celebrate women artists, but it also highlights the Rockefeller family’s historic support for the visual arts and the women in the family who pushed the boundaries of their time,” said Judy Clark, executive director of The Pocantico Center. “I’m delighted that it will make art from Kykuit’s collection accessible to audiences in a new context.”
The gallery will be open to the public Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 p.m.–7 p.m. All visitors must reserve a free timed-entry ticket prior to visiting, tickets are available here.
Artists in the Exhibition
• Anni Albers (Berlin, Germany 1899–1994 Orange, CT)
• Mary Bauermeister (Frankfurt, Germany 1934)
• Lee Bontecou (Providence, RI 1931)
• Louise Bourgeois (Paris, France 1911–2010 New York, NY)
• Mary Callery (New York, NY 1903–1977 Paris, France)
• Elizabeth Catlett (Washington D.C. 1915–2012 Cuernavaca, Mexico)
• Valerie Clarebout (Surrey, UK 1908–1982 Norfolk, MA)
• Sonya Clark (Washington, D.C. 1967)
• Dorothy Dehner (Cleveland, OH 1901–1994 New York, NY)
• Lin Emery (New York, NY 1926–2021 New Orleans, LA)
• Marisol Escobar (Paris, France 1930–2016 New York, NY)
• Grace Hartigan (Newark, NJ 1922–2008 Baltimore, MD)
• Maren Hassinger (Los Angeles, CA 1947)
• Elana Herzog (Toronto, Canada 1954)
• Louise Kruger (Los Angeles, CA 1924–2013 New York, NY)
• Melissa Meyer (New York, NY 1946)
• Louise Nevelson (Pereiaslav, Ukraine 1899–1988 New York, NY)
• Fanny Sanín (Bogotá, Colombia 1938)
• Barbara Takenaga (North Platte, NE 1949)
• Lenore Tawney (Lorain, OH 1907–2007 New York, NY)
• Wendy Taylor (Stamford, UK 1945)
• Kay WalkingStick (Syracuse, NY 1935)
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 150-page catalogue, which includes gallery installation photos, new research, and never-before published archival materials.
It features scholarly essays by the exhibition curators and Kimberli Gant, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum; Fritz Horstman, education director at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation; and Helaine Posner, independent curator and chief curator emerita at the Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase; with additional contributions by Adrienne L. Childs, senior consulting curator for the Phillips Collection; Laurence Madeline, chief curator for French national heritage; Maura Reilly, executive director for Rutgers University’s Zimmerli Museum of Art; and David Rockefeller, Jr. The catalogue will be published by Dancing Foxes Press and available in early 2023.
Inspired Encounters is a collaboration between the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Academy of Design. It is organized by Katrina London, manager of collections and curatorial projects at The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Jeremiah William McCarthy, chief curator of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. The exhibition and catalogue are made possible in part with support from the Ford Foundation.
Inspired Encounters will be the subject of the Fall Forum at Pocantico on November 2, 2022, featuring a panel discussion with the exhibition curators and catalogue contributors Adrienne Childs, Kimberli Gant, and Maura Reilly.
Additional programming to be announced.