The Tyler Museum of Art during the first part of 2010, and you will discover a selection of the Museum’s latest acquisitions. But New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection does more than simply present a sampling of significant pieces recently obtained by the TMA; the exhibition tells a tale of a growing and vibrant institution that has, since 1971, cultivated the community’s interest in the visual arts and developed an extensive permanent collection that is both interesting and important. New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection will remain on display in the Museum’s North Gallery through Sunday, May 23, 2010.
A museum’s permanent collection defines the very essence of the institution. It gives the museum meaning and purpose, and becomes a lasting legacy for past, current and future generations. The Tyler Museum of Art’s permanent collection has been rapidly growing in recent years in step with the institution’s exhibition and education programs. The collection was begun in tentative steps during the Museum’s second year, and in 1987, the decision was made to form a permanent collection. Works of art gifted to the Museum prior to that date were “retroactively” accessioned, and a formal collecting plan was developed, focusing on contemporary Texas art, but also including works from 19th century to the present.
Over the ensuing 36 years, the permanent collection of the TMA has seen periods of great advancement, including a gift of Mexican folk art from Laura and Dan Boekman. Today, the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican and Latin American Folk Art is one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States. Other works of art continue to be gifted to the Museum and others have been selected for purchase with funds donated by benefactors. Such individuals – and in some case, organizations and foundations – became vital partners in forming the collection and in defining the Museum’s character and purpose. When visitors arrive at the TMA and walk through New Works, they will begin to know the personality of the Tyler Museum of Art as envisioned and made reality by founding members and continuing supporters of the Museum.
New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection presents a wide variety of visually stunning works of art. There are three Collectors’ Circle selections included in this exhibition: Vincent Falsetta, Untitled (CL 05-3) from 2007, Sedrick Huckabee, Big Mama’s Room from 2008, and Mark Messersmith, Those Who Believe from 2009. These three works express varying degrees of abstractions associated with different representational qualities; along with Karl Umlauf’s The Slag Pullers and Franklin Willis’ The 7th Year Harvest, both acquired in 2008, they are particularly noteworthy paintings in the exhibition.
While there are works by such artists as Josef Albers, Al Held, Robert Motherwell, Clayton Pond, and Edward Zucca who are associated with other regions of the country, both Falsetta and Huckabee are Texas artists as well as many others in the exhibition. Some among them, such as painters William B. Montgomery, Karl Umlauf, and Ancel Nunn; sculptors Piero Fenci, and James Surls; and photographer Skeet McAuley have strong East Texas and even Tyler connections.
All of the pieces included in New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection are not only visually pleasurable to the visitor, but also are concrete testaments to the ever-widening web of goodwill and relationships that link this Museum in Tyler to a much wider community. In addition to the Museum’s own purchases, it has been individuals, institutions and corporations across the nation that have gifted these works. TMA Curator, Ken Tomio, believes that it is the collection of the TMA that ties the Museum to the global community in the most profound and practical way. “In the same manner that our lives – and art and culture – are connected to the global community, the Museum is connected to the wider world,” said Mr. Tomio.
The Tyler Museum of Art now holds over 1200 works in its permanent collection with many more hundreds in long term and permanent loans. The rapid growth in the permanent collection is one of the most compelling reasons behind the Museum’s plans to construct a new building. “We have an outstanding facility in our current building, but the Museum has grown so unbelievably fast that we simply no longer have enough space to foster the growth the way we should – and must continue to do,” TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio said.
Plans for a new Tyler Museum of Art building are underway, and construction will begin once a certain percentage of the necessary funds are raised. In the meantime, the Museum remains committed to showcasing items from the permanent collection in addition to organizing and hosting traveling exhibitions. “We will ensure that our permanent collection will continue to grow and reflect the role of the Museum as a vibrant and relevant institution in this community,” Ms. Tomio said.
Thursday, May 20, artist Vincent Falsetta will offer a lecture on abstract art from the Tyler Museum of Art’s Classroom, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Visitors may observe an example of Falsetta’s artwork which is included in New Works: Highlights from the Permanent Collection.
This exhibition was organized by the Tyler Museum of Art. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are the Julietta Jarvis Foundation, Inc., Joyce & Bill Pirtle, Sheryl Rogers Palmer, and the A.W. Riter, Jr. Family Foundation. The Tyler Museum of Art is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler.
The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during museum hours.
For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org