The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art will be highlighting works donated to or purchased for the museum during an exhibition that opens next week.
The exhibit, “Selections from the Permanent Collection of Contemporary Art,” runs from Thursday through March 27.
The exhibition features pieces from two major private collectors who have helped shape the museum’s collection: Barry Berkus and his son, Jeff; and Arnold and Marie Forde.
“They were private collectors willing and eager to donate parts of their collections to museums, so everyone could enjoy the art,” Judy L. Larson, Askew professor of art history and museum director, said in a news release.
The Berkus collection includes John Walker’s “The Centre, #2,” Kiki Smith’s “Kneeling Woman with Rabbit,” and Los Carpinteros’ “Tanque le Aqua.” The exhibition will include works by Alison Saar, Andrea Bowers, Marie Schoeff and a piece by Karen Kilimnick, generously donated by the Fordes. Noteworthy donations from artists include works by Connie Connally and Ken Jewesson.
“The art of our time requires thoughtful consideration,” Ms. Larson said. “The work may not speak to you at first, but we invite you to spend some time with each piece, approaching each with a creative and open mind.”
The past exhibition and auction, “5X5: Celebrating 10 Years,” sold more than 600 pieces with bidders in both the U.S. and Australia, and raised more than $36,000 for arts programming at the museum. The top grossing art pieces were by Kenton Nelson, Kenny Scharf, Billy Al Bengston and “Shag” Josh Agle.
“The 5×5 exhibition was such a success and lots of fun too,” Ms. Larson added. “Our thanks to all the artists who participated, more artists than any other 5×5 fundraiser. Many Santa Barbara artists donated art, but we also had artists represented from 36 states.”Ms. Larson is thankful for the work of Chris Rupp, curator and collections manager, who organized the exhibition and auction, and Tamara Vaughan, education and outreach coordinator, who oversaw logistics.“We are also appreciative of everyone who bought art works,” she said. “These small works make powerful statements.”
The exhibition will be available online at westmont.edu/museum/contemporarycollection.
— Mitchell White