The Arizona State University Art Museum is an art museum operated by Arizona State University, located on its main campus in Tempe, Arizona. The Art Museum has some 12,000 objects in its permanent collection and describes its primary focuses as contemporary art, including new media and "innovative methods of presentation"; crafts, with an emphasis on American ceramics; historic and contemporary prints; art from Arizona and the Southwestern United States, with an emphasis on Latino artists, and art of the Americas, with one historic American pieces and modernist and contemporaryLatin American works.[1][2]

The art collection was established in 1950.[2] The current director of the Art Museum is Gordon Knox.[3] The director of the museum reports to the dean of the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and community members are represented through an Art Museum Advisory Board.[2] The museum is located in two buildings. The main exhibition space is the Nelson Fine Arts Center, designed by architectAntoine Predock. A second museum facility, the Ceramics Research Center lies just to the north, in the Tempe Center.[4] Admission to the museum is free.[2]

Arader was most recently profiled in Forbes Magazine in the October 24, 2011 issue. He is also discussed by Sarah Vowell in episode 86 of This American Life.

History and facilities

In 1950, prominent Phoenix lawyer Oliver B. James gave a gift of 16 oil paintings by American artists to ASU.[5] Over five years, James donated over 149 works by various American, Mexican, and European artists to the museum.[4][5] The collection was originally included among the stacks at the university's first library building, the Matthews Library.[4] The Neoclassical building was constructed in 1930 and was remodeled in 1951.[6] The library was expanded in 1955,[7] but in 1966, with the library space outgrowing the university's collection, Matthews Library was closed and 16 miles (26 km) of books were moved to the Charles Trumbull Hayden Library, which had been completed the previous year and remains the university's main library today.[4][7][8]

The art collection remained at the Matthews Library building, renamed Matthews Center. Contributions from donors expanded the museum's collections, particularly of prints and American crafts. In 1977, the museum received a National Endowment for the Arts matching grant to purchase of contemporary American ceramics. By 1978, the museum occupied the entire second floor of the Matthews Center, with some 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of exhibition space. In April 1989, the ASU Art Museum moved into the newly-completed Nelson Fine Arts Center, designed by architect Antoine Predock, where the museum remains today. The Nelson Center is 49,700 square feet (4,620 m2) and includes five galleries as well as administrative offices and storage and processing areas.[2][4] Soon after the Art Museum's move to its new facility, the size of its staff doubled, and a curator of education, a print collection manager and several administrative and security workers were added to the staff.[4]

In 1992, Marilyn A. Zeitlin became the museum's director. Zeitlin was praised for expanding the museum's collections eightfold during her tenure. However, the museum experienced controversy when The Arizona Republic revealed that a university audit in early 2007 showed that the museum had received $450,000 over seven years from prominent donor Stephane Janssen, one of the museum's largest donors, and arranged with him to buy art from Janssen's company. The arrangement was found to not be illegal but was discontinued.[9] Zeitlin stepped down at the end of the year in 2007 after 15 years as director. There was "unanimous agreement that the ASU Art Museum has flourished" during Zeitlin's tenure.[10]

In March 2002, the Ceramics Research Center opened in the Tempe Center just to the north of the Nelson Center. The center was designed by Gabor Lorant Architects, Inc. and includes 7,500 square feet (700 m2) with two galleries, open storage stacks and a research library.[2][4] Additional facilities at the library's two buildings include a lecture room, a print study room, and a "nymphaeum" (courtyard).[2]


Works of contemporary art held by the museum include works by Hung LiuKarel AppelDerek BoshierDeborah ButterfieldSue Coe, Vernon Fisher, Jon Haddock, William Kentridge, Lynn M. Randolph, Frances Whitehead, and William T. Wiley.[11]

The focus of ASU Art Museum's Latin American art holdings is on Mexican art from the 20th century, Mexican ceramics and folk art; and contemporary Cuban art.[12] The core of the Latin American collection was donated to the museum in 1950 and includes works by David Alfaro SiqueirosDiego Rivera, and Rufino Tamayo. Later acquisitions of pieces by Mexican artists include works by Carlos Mérida, Leonel Góngora, Rafael and Pedro CoronelJosé Guadalupe Posada, Leopoldo Mendez, and other members of the Taller de Gráfica Popular; and the contemporary artists Alejandro Colunga, Lucio Muniain, and Nestor Quiñones.[12] Works by Cuban artists in the museum collection include works by Yamilys Brito, Pedro Alvarez, Tonel (Antonio Eligio Fernández), Osvaldo Yero, Abel Barroso, René Francisco, Jacqueline Brito, Fernando Rodríguez, José A. Toirac, and Kcho.[13] The museum has also acquired pieces by Brazilian artists Tiago Carneiro da Cunha, Efrain Almeida, and Oscar Oiwa.[12]

American works comprises one of the ASU Art Museum's smallest collections. ASU's holdings of American art began with the museum's original contributions from Oliver B. James. Earlier works in the collection include early American limner painters, while the most recent works are from 20th century modernists, including Charles DemuthYasuo Kuniyoshi and Stuart Davis. Among the holdings in the American collection are various 19th-century Romantic landscape paintings from the 19th century, Ash Can School works, and portraits, include Gilbert Stuart's Mrs Stephen Peabody (1809). The museum holds Georgia O'Keeffe's Horse's Skull on Blue (1930), a depiction of a sun-bleached skull that is the first in a series of skull paintings created by O'Keeffe after bones found in the desert around her ranch. The painting's blue background are a reference to the skies of New Mexico and the painting is in the memento mori tradition of still lifes.[14] The museum also holds Edward Hopper's House by a Road (1942); andAlbert Pinkham Ryder's The Canal (1915).[5]

The print collections at the ASU Art Museum include some 5,000 prints held in the Jules Heller Print Study Room. A focus of the museum's print collection is dealing with social and political issues; works include pieces by William HogarthHonoré DaumierFrancisco GoyaJosé Guadalupe Posada, Leopoldo Mendéz, and Francesc Torres. The collection includes some 50 prints and paper works by contemporary Cuban artists and 123 lithographs and intaglios by Sue Coe. The print collection also includes examples of Japanese ukiyo-e.[15]

The museum's ceramics collection includes some 3,500 pieces, of which half are displayed at any one time at the Ceramics Research Center.[16] Works include pieces by Peter VandenbergeMarilyn Levine,Richard ShawLanier MeadersClayton BaileyTanya BaturaTip TolandHenry Varnum PoorViola FreyRobert ArnesonJack EarlMichael LuceroStephen De StaeblerDarrin HallowellRobert David BradyNora Naranjo-MorseBeth Cavener StichterPeter VoulkosRobert TurnerKenneth FergusonDon ReitzDavid ShanerMaria Poveka Martinez and SantanaFannie NampeyoRick Dillingham,Wayne HigbyEddie DominguezWarren MacKenzieKaren KarnesTed RandallVal CushingWilliam DaleyJohn MasonJun KanekoToshiko TakaezuRichard DeVoreEdwin Scheier, John Gill, Chris StaleyAnne HirondellePeter ShireMichael CorneyRichard T. NotkinAdrian SaxeRalph BacerraMichael GrossAkio TakamoriDavid Regan, Jason Walker, Jerry RothmanBeatrice WoodBetty WoodmanBernard LeachMichael CardewLucie RieHans CoperKanjiro Kawai, and Shoji Hamada.[17]


^ "Collections." Arizona State University Art Museum.

a b c d e f g "Facts." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "Directory." Arizona State University Art Museum.

a b c d e f g "History." Arizona State University Art Museum.

a b c "American Collection." Arizona State University Art Museum

^ "HPS-247, Matthews Library." Tempe Historic Property Survey, Temple History Museum.

a b "Matthews Library." Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Manuscripts, University Archives.

^ "About Us - Hayden Library." Arizona State University Libraries.

^ Anne Ryman, "ASU Art Museum director to leave post after 15 years" (November 14, 2007). Arizona Republic.

^ Amy Silverman, "Framing Marilyn Zeitlin" (April 30, 1998). Phoenix New Times.

^ "Contemporary Art." Arizona State University Art Museum.

a b c "Latin American Collection." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "Art from Cuba." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "American Collection: Georgia O'Keefe." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "Prints." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "Ceramics Collection." Arizona State University Art Museum.

^ "Ceramics Collection: Innovation and Change: Images from our ceramics collection." Arizona State University Art Museum.

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