Nine decades ago, Phillips Academy alumnus Thomas Cochran established the Addison Gallery of American Art “to enrich permanently the lives of the students” of the Academy. Since the museum’s opening on May 18, 1931, the Addison has assembled one of the world’s most significant collections of American art, allowing both students and the general public to trace the cultural, political, and social forces that have shaped the American experience from the 18th century to the present day.
This season we celebrate 90 years of innovative art education with programming featuring a diverse selection of works from the collection, discussions with artists and art historians, and highlights from the museum’s archives, that bring to life the Addison’s storied history.
The exhibition Learning to Look: The Addison at 90 (May 8–December 31, 2021) presents celebrated favorites, lesser-known gems, and new acquisitions that tell the story of the Addison’s collection and ongoing commitment to groundbreaking artists. With a presentation that allows objects to speak across time and media, the show 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, including museum correspondence, artist’s letters and sketches, and architectural plans. Also accompanying the exhibition, a series of virtual events with both museum staff and guest presenters will offer a variety of perspectives on the Addison.