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Sheldon Museum of Art acquires recent paintings by Bordo, Grabner, and Whitney
Todd Tubutis, associate director of Sheldon Museum of Art, and artist and 2016 Guggenheim Fellow JoAnne Carson with Stanley Whitney’s “Red” (2015), which has been acquired by the museum.

LINCOLN, NEB.- Sheldon Museum of Art announces the acquisition of recent works by Robert Bordo, Michelle Grabner, and Stanley Whitney from its current invitational exhibition “It was Never Linear: Recent Painting,” on view through July 31.

Continuing a Sheldon tradition dating back to the 1880s of mounting regular survey exhibitions of recent contemporary art from around the country, “It Was Never Linear” features selected works by twelve contemporary artists whose production demonstrates a primacy of the act of painting—gestural mark making and attention to surface material—over any true representation of form or figure.

Wally Mason, Sheldon’s director and chief curator, and his co-curator for “It Was Never Linear,” Aaron Holz, associate professor of art at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, have assembled an exhibition that fosters reconsideration of the art historical canon by looking inclusively at artists who represent varied production. “Visitors to the museum will see the complexity and richness of paint as a language while supporting a new, more complicated narrative about painting’s current state and recent past,” said Holz.

Although the 2016 invitational explores a general re-emergence of painting, Mason makes clear that its objective is not to look at an aggregate. “The exhibition emphasizes the individual identities and production of forward thinking artists,” he emphasized. The artists featured in the exhibition are a testament to a nonlinear view of current art making that more fully embraces complexity in age, gender, ethnicity, and location. In addition to Bordo, Grabner, and Whitney, the artists in “It Was Never Linear” are: JoAnne Carson, Dawn Clements, Lois Dodd, Josephine Halvorson, Loren Munk, Joyce Pensato, Colin Prahl, Peter Saul, and Barbara Takenaga.

The paintings by Bordo, Grabner, and Whitney, acquired by the museum, join a collection of profound works by artists who have significantly influenced contemporary painters. As an example of such impact, Mason cites the noteworthy addition of a canvas by Whitney to holdings that include works by Mark Rothko and Philip Guston. The museum purchased “Red” (2015), an energetic painting, exemplary of Whitney’s rhythmic, grid compositions.

Recent exhibitions of Whitney’s work include “Dance the Orange” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, “Stanley Whitney: Paintings” at Lisson Gallery, Milan, and a solo exhibition at Karma Gallery in New York.

Sheldon also acquired Robert Bordo’s expressive canvas “mother” (2013-14). Bordo, whose paintings were exhibited in “Greater New York”at MoMA PS1 in 2015, has influenced many artists beyond the studios of The Cooper Union, where he has been an associate professor of art since 1996.

Bordo received the 2014 Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, which is awarded annually to a mid-career American artist. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Tesuque Foundation, Canada Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Additionally, Sheldon purchased a systematically executed radial painting by Michelle Grabner, whose multi-faceted career incorporates writing, curating, and teaching with a studio practice grounded in process and productivity. These varied interests led the Whitney Museum of American Art to name Grabner as co-curator of its 2014 biennial with Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer.

As an artist, Grabner works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, video, and sculpture. Her first comprehensive solo museum exhibition opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland in 2013. Solo exhibitions of her work have also been held at Indianapolis Museum of Art; INOVA, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University; and University Galleries, Illinois State University.

Sheldon Museum of Art has acquired more than 250 significant artworks directly from invitational exhibitions since its first in 1888. A selection of objects acquired from these exhibitions is on view in “Building a Legacy Collection: A Survey of Invitational Acquisitions” through July 31.

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