Vik Muniz: First acquisitions by new Contemporary Collectors Circle

This fall, visitors to the Museum are enjoying three newly acquired works from the Rouen Cathedral series by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, inspired by Impressionist master Claude Monet’s well-known paintings.

The three artworks were purchased for the Museum by its newly founded Contemporary Collectors Circle (CCC), whose goal is to transform the Museum and the city through the acquisition of major works of contemporary art. The concept for the CCC was born out of the personal experiences of Matt Felton, a Museum Trustee with a passion for modern and contemporary art.

“Being relevant means boasting a great collection of contemporary art—a broad and extensive inventory of internationally recognized and conceived art works,” says Felton. “The creation of  the Contemporary Collectors Circle is an enriching experience for all of us involved, inspiring appreciation and collection of contemporary art on a personal level, as well as the advancement of the Museum’s collection.”

The group believes this initiative will not only benefit the Museum immediately, but will also have the long-term effect of positioning the institution and Portland as a national and international destination for 21st-century art.

The group members, who dedicate donations annually, travel to the world’s leading art fairs, galleries and private collections considering pieces for acquisition. Trips during this inaugural year included Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze New York, and the Seattle Art Fair. It was at Frieze where the first purchase was made—an impressive set of three photographs by Muniz, who is widely celebrated as one of the most innovative and creative artists of our time. Originally trained as a sculptor, he is now renowned for creating what he calls “photographic delusions.”

The three works reimagine a famous Claude Monet painting of Rouen Cathedral. On the surface it appears as if Muniz has recreated Monet’s impressionistic brush strokes. Yet on closer look, we see the multitude of images of other works of art cut from magazines, catalogs, and art books that compose the animated surface—an art history primer contained in a reference to an iconic work of 19th-century European painting.

“The selection of these wonderful works by Vik Muniz demonstrates the aims of the group—to acquire art works that are engaging with a show-stopping impact,” said Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The Muniz photographs are now on view in the Luwayne E. “Buzzy” Sammons Gallery.

For more information about joining the Contemporary Collectors Circle, please call Elizabeth Thomas at 503-276-4206.

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