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Anonymous Donor Gives 170 Works to Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Andres Serrano, 'Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus,' 2003.

Andres Serrano, Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, 2003.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND NATHALIE OBADIA GALLERY

The latest major museum donation has come cloaked in secrecy.

The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in Massachusetts revealed today that it has received 170 works from an anonymous donor. Included in the donation are a bevy of notable names: Mona Hatoum, Cindy Sherman, Christopher Williams, Candice Breitz, Laura Owens, Carroll Dunham, Mark Bradford, and Analia Saban, to name a few.

David E. Little, the museum’s director and chief curator, said in a statement, “We are so incredibly fortunate to be the recipients of a gift of contemporary art of this scale and scope. The addition of more than 170 works of contemporary art will have a tremendous impact on our collection, and supports us in our ongoing efforts to expand our holdings in ways that reflect the diversity of the Amherst College community.”

A selection of works from the donation will go on view at the museum on September 10, as part of an exhibition of recent acquisitions called “Starting Something New: Recent Contemporary Art Acquisitions and Gifts.” It runs through July 26, 2020.

In the past few years, the Mead has also acquired Yinka Shonibare MBE’s The American Library Collection (Activists), 2018, which features 234 books wrapped in Dutch wax print fabric, as well as pieces by Kapwani Kiwanga, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Heather Agyepong, Danny Lyon, and David Hockney.

The anonymous donation is not the only significant gift the institution has received of late. Last year, John and Sue Wieland gave the museum $3 million to endow its director and chief curator position.

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