Learning to Look: The Addison at 90
Opens May 8, 2021
Founded through the largesse of Phillips Academy alumnus Thomas Cochran (PA 1890), the Addison Gallery of American Art opened its doors in May of 1931 with a permanent collection of some 400 works. One of the first museums devoted solely to the art of the United States, the Addison was forged with a dynamic and unrelentingly adventurous spirit that has, through the support of generous donors, allowed the museum to assemble one of the world’s most significant and forward-looking collections of American art across media. The collection, which has since grown to include more than 23,000 works, allows visitors to trace the cultural, political, and social forces that have shaped and defined the American experience from the 18th century to the present day.
Filling the Addison’s first floor galleries, Learning to Look: The Addison at 90 features celebrated favorites, lesser-known gems, and new acquisitions that bring to life the Addison’s storied history and ongoing commitment to groundbreaking artists. With an installation that allows objects to speak across time and media, this exhibition includes masterworks by artists such as Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, McArthur Binion, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.
A complementary installation in the Museum Learning Center draws from the museum’s rich and extensive archives. Materials such as museum correspondence, artist’s letters and sketches, and architectural plans, further explore nine decades of innovative art education, progressive exhibitions, prescient acquisitions, and pioneering artist’s residencies.