The Norton Museum’s collection of Contemporary Art reflects the provocative ideas, materials, and processes explored by international artists today. This area of collecting was established as recently as 2009 with the appointment of a Curator of Contemporary Art. The Contemporary Collection reflects the recent emphasis on the art of our time with acquisitions of works by Phyllida Barlow, Nick Cave, Nijedeka Akunyili Crosby, and Jenny Saville, among others who have been featured in Norton-organized exhibitions. While the Museum Collection is strongest in American and European art, gifts of Contemporary Art received since the 1990s through the present have had a marked impact on the breadth and quality of the Museum Collection, increasing the representation of global and diverse voices.
The Contemporary Art collection also reveals the enthusiasm of donors who have contributed significant art and funds for acquisitions; the impact of these gifts cannot be overstated. In 2002, Catherine and Gilbert Brownstone generously donated their outstanding collection of more than 50 paintings, sculpture, and works on paper emphasizing Minimalism, including examples by Lucio Fontana, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, and John McCracken. In 2016, Jane Holzer donated more than 15 artworks, including sculpture by Sylvie Fleury and Dahn Vo. And in 2018, Bob and Pam Goergen donated sculpture by important 20th- and 21st-century figures, including Mark Di Suvero, George Rickey, and Ugo Rondinone among others, which are on view in the new sculpture garden. The Norton’s Contemporary and Modern Art Council (CMAC) has also had a substantial impact in expanding the Contemporary Collection through significant gifts of art and providing funds for acquiring art.