Simmons Collection of Post-War American Prints Highlighted at St. Louis Museum of Art
The Saint Louis Museum of Art will open next month “Catching the Moment: Contemporary Art from the Ted L. and Maryanne Ellison Simmons Collection,” an exhibition celebrating the 2020 acquisition of more than 800 works of art that enhanced the museum’s collection of post-war American art. prints.
Opening June 26, 2022, the exhibition features more than 190 objects from this collection, a rich variety of prints, drawings, collages, artist’s books, photographs, a painting and three-dimensional objects edited by a diverse group of 39 artists , primarily active in the United States from the mid-20th century to the present day. Highlights on display include Bruce Conner’s “BOMBHEAD”, Helen Frankenthaler’s “Savage Breeze”, Wayne Thiebaud’s “Candy Apples”, Kara Walker’s “Keys to the Coop” and HC Westermann’s “The Connecticut Ballroom”.
Ted L. Simmons is the former St. Louis Cardinals catcher and hitter, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020. Maryanne Ellison Simmons is an artist and printer-publisher who started her own printing company. ‘art, Wildwood Press, in St. Louis in 1996. The acquisition is part gift and part purchase: the married couple donated 50% of the value of the entire collection and the museum purchased the remaining interest.
As collectors, the Simmons focused on the art and artists of their time, and the couple was particularly drawn to works that dealt with social issues and historical moments important to them, including the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis. “Catching the Moment” explores artists’ answers to these and other questions while helping visitors understand the many connections between works by artists in the Simmons Collection.
The Simmons collected certain artists in depth, and “Catching the Moment” reflects this with expanded presentations of works by artists like Kiki Smith, whose work explores the body and self as well as environmental concerns; Enrique Chagoya, who deploys a global spectrum of visual culture in his critique of colonialism and injustice; and Tom Huck, a master of Missouri rural scoundrel epics in woodcut form.
Peter Hujar, Paul Thek and David Wojnarowicz were friends and peers of Smith, and they worked within the community of artists who came together before and during the AIDS crisis. HC Westermann’s nightmarish evocations of the Pacific chapter of World War II appear alongside Bruce Nauman’s often biting sociopolitical commentary and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s energetic foregrounding of Native American history. The exhibition also highlights the appropriation of historical and contemporary visual material found in the work of Jane Hammond, Roger Shimomura and Tony Fitzpatrick.
Catch the moment will remain visible until September 11th. Tickets are available in person at the museum or via MetroTix, which charges extra.
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Wyckoff, Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs; Andrea L. Ferber, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; and Clare Kobasa, assistant curator for prints, drawings and photographs. “Catching the Moment” comes with a 172-page booklet, bound catalog which includes an interview with the Simmons and essays from the co-curators, as well as Sophie Barbisan, the museum’s associate paper curator.