Welcoming Nara Park and Ellington Robinson to the Collection

Ellington Robinson (left) and Nara Park (right) discuss their work at the Phillips

Ellington Robinson (left) and Nara Park (right) discuss their work at the Phillips

On Thursday, August 23, the Phillips welcomed Nara Park and Ellington Robinson to discuss their artworks which were recently acquired by the museum through the Contemporaries Acquisition Fund. The artworks were selected for acquisition by the Contemporaries Steering Committee, with the guidance of Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović and the approval of the Director.

The Contemporaries Acquisition Fund was established in 1996 as a way to create deeper engagement with young professionals with philanthropic aspirations and interest in contemporary art and collecting. By participating first-hand in the museum acquisition process, young patrons gain experience in collecting practices while also helping expand the Phillips’s permanent holdings. Active through 2008, the Fund amassed more than 20 works of art—mostly photography—that date from the early to mid-20th century. The Fund was reinstated in 2017 with an aim to further grow the collection with contemporary artworks.

Visit the Phillips to see the new works along with photographs acquired by the Contemporaries over the years. For information about the Contemporaries—the Phillips’s young professionals group—visit PhillipsCollection.org/contemporaries or contact membership@phillipscollection.org.

Nara Park, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, and Ellington Robinson

Left to right: Nara Park, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, and Ellington Robinson. Photo: Ray A. Llanos, 2018 (All rights reserved. ray@rayllanos.com @rayllanos)

Disillusioned I by Nara Park

Nara Park, Disillusioned I, 2017, Plastic laminate and monofilament, 105 x 13 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. Contemporaries Acquisition Fund, 2018

Never Forget On Ice by Ellington Robinson

Ellington Robinson, “Never Forget” on Ice, 2013, Acrylic, collage, found objects, and glue on vintage mirror, 38 x 53 x 2 in. Contemporaries Acquisition Fund, 2018

Start the Art: Fainting Couch

See our other Start the Art profiles.

While the Made in the USA exhibition occupies most of the museum’s galleries, the original Phillips house is devoted to new treasures and old favorites. We are so excited to display an especially unique recent acquisition, Valeksa Soares’s Fainting Couch (2011). This multisensory work invites visitors to repose on a stainless steel chaise as they take in the heady olfactory notes of real stargazer lilies—60 to 80 blooms in all—which are stored in drawers built underneath the metal seating.

In order to maintain the pleasant aroma, the lilies must be replaced on a weekly basis, a task that has fallen to none other than the Phillips’s Chief of Security and Operations Dan Datlow! Working directly with the collection wasn’t something Dan ever thought would be part of his daily activities, but he readily admits that he enjoys the responsibility. “The couch demonstrates that the Phillips isn’t a static building, but an active, modern institution. It really makes me appreciate what we do here,” Dan says. “I don’t really look at replacing the lilies as work, it’s actually very therapeutic. I jump at any opportunity to work with the collection like this.”

Soares’s Fainting Couch is on display through the end of April, so make sure you come by and take in the “scent-sational” experience for yourself!

Director’s Desk: Participatory Art and New Acquisitions

Curator at Large Klaus Ottmann engages with Roter Gesang (Red Song) by Franz Erhard Walther. Photo: Dorothy Kosinski

Curator at Large Klaus Ottmann demonstrates the participatory qualities of a Franz Erhard Walther sculpture, Roter Gesang (Red Song), at an Arts Committee meeting this week. Walther (born in Fulda, Germany in 1939) produces minimalist sculptures, often in brilliant primary colors, out of ordinary heavy canvas, that seem like soft versions of minimalist compositions. This will look brilliant near our Rothko Room.  It also harmonizes with another new acquisition, Wolfgang Laib’s wax room, in which the visitor enters to appreciate the beautiful aroma, the rich surface, and the embracing small space. Our acquisitions meeting was a heady affair with the approval of many new works from photographs by Eugène Atget, to a painting by Al Held, a painting by Walter Dahn,  and works by Helen Torr, to mention only a few.