PROVIDENCE, RI, January 9, 2020— The RISD Museum is pleased to announce a significant gift of 66 contemporary artworks from collectors Avo Samuelian and Manuel Gonzalez. Thirty-three works were brought into the collection in December 2019 joining a similar gift to the museum of 33 works in 2017. Both gifts expand the museum’s Contemporary Art and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs collections considerably, introducing works by Uri Aran, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Lothar Hempel, Jordan Nassar, and Paul P; additional works by Karla Black, Jim Lambie, and Tony Feher strengthen the RISD Museum’s commitment to artists already in the collection. Also of note are works by RISD alumni and faculty including David Scanavino, David Benjamin Sherry, and Patricia Treib that further develop the museum’s representation of figures who have helped define the school’s reputation.
“The works donated by Avo and Manuel have made an immediate impact on how contemporary art is understood and presented here at the RISD Museum and have become a constant presence in our galleries since 2017,” remarks Dominic Molon, Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art. He continues, “works by assume vivid astro focus, Fia Backström, and Gardar Eide Einarsson were featured in our 2018 exhibition The Phantom of Liberty and sculptures by Einarsson and Tony Feher play a key role in Nicole Eisenman’s project for Raid the Icebox Now titled “Tonight we are going out and we are all getting hammered”, on view through July 19, 2020. Museum director John Smith concurs, “We are so appreciative of the generosity of Avo and Manuel towards the museum and for their ongoing support of emerging artists.”
Samuelian and Gonzalez have been actively collecting art for 20 years. “Being able to introduce either emerging artists or expand on the historical collection of RISD is a wonderful opportunity,” they state. “We are looking forward in developing this ongoing conversation to further our art historical education and help RISD achieve expand on their permanent collection.” Their collecting is distinguished by an emphasis on young and emerging artists, providing critical (and often visionary) support at early stages in their careers. Their gift to the RISD Museum is a compelling snapshot of the adventurous work made in the 2000s and 2010s, providing a unique overview of an artistic moment defined by multidisciplinarity, radical explorations of gender identity, and an inventive and dynamic approach to material and form.