We’ve built a world-class contemporary art collection with a wide array of wonderful highlights. Sometimes bold and beautiful, sometimes subtle and profound—and always reflecting our culture of change—art at Progressive changes you whether you know it or not.
(b. 1930 — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, d. 1987) Through his paintings, objects, films, photography, and personal life, Warhol stands out as the primary representative of pop art. His most characteristic device is repetition—endless rows of Coca-Cola bottles, Brillo boxes, painted flowers, Campbell's Soup cans, and photographs of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jackie Kennedy. This repetition disrupts our conventional way of looking at an image. It renders the subject matter irrelevant and exploits a wide variety of formal devices without an allegiance to any of them, to negate the conventional notion of an artistic “eye.” New York Times art critic Andy Grunberg writes, “What Warhol does in his art is to present representation, making us face them for what they are, devoid of sentimentality and beyond the reach of irony.” (Jan. 11, 1987) Warhol continues, in an enigmatic way, to influence our society. His works are included in most museum collections worldwide. Warhol studied at Carnegie Institute of Technology and moved to New York City in 1952.
Kerry James Marshall
acrylic and collage on canvas, 103 inches x 114 inches
(b. 1955 — Birmingham, Alabama) Marshall combines an array of references and experiences drawing upon American popular culture, traditions of monumental history painting, and the African American urban experience. Often, the paintings bring to mind black folk art. The artist is direct about the subjects he chooses to paint. He attempts to portray the characters with enough dignity so that they escape from collapsing into pure stereotypes and rather are filled with self-respect and a more noble stature. He states, “I stylize my figures purely for effect, to be troublesome, to be extreme, to try to explore the cultural stereotypes that polarize us in our everyday interactions. Nothing is simply black or white. Both of these are extreme positions, and I want to take a position against the rhetorical stances people use to define themselves … I want a slow read. I want people to be intrigued enough by the arrangements to spend the time to unravel the narratives.” The ribboned public declarations, the placement of highly stylized figures, and the self-containment of the scenes echo the monumental quality of medieval paintings. A critic writes, “It is through this combination that Marshall endows his subjects and their accessories with a heroic complexity. The gentle pause of the adolescents in ‘Bang,’ surrounded as they are by the jaded symbols of American independence, is clouded by the inclusion of the title of the painting as part of the caption. Recalling the conflicted birth of this country, Marshall suggests that the transition to equality and independence is not complete …”
Marshall was featured in a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art and included in the 1996 “Whitney Biennial” and “Documenta” exhibitions. “Bang” was exhibited in “Korrespondenzen/Correspondences” at The Chicago Cultural Center in 1995. Also in 1995, Marshall was included in ARTnews magazine's list of Top 40 Artists Under 40 To Watch. In 1997, he received a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award, better known as the “genius award.”
1992 – 1993
wall installation with plywood, shoes, stretched cow bladder, and surgical thread, 36 inches x 66 inches x 5 inches
(b. 1958 — Bogota, Colombia) Salcedo creates sculptures and installations that are defiantly grounded in the horrors of everyday existence in her native Colombia. She transforms domestic items such as shoes and chairs into sculptures that cry of violence and loss. “Atrabiliarios” (Defiant) is an environment composed of shoes inserted into wall niches. Each niche is closed off from the room by a semi-opaque skin of dried animal bladder that has been sewn to the wall, “as if the niche were a gigantic rectangular gash that had been coarsely sutured over ... These niche-receptacles, which with their contents are partially buried in the wall, have a funereal character reminiscent of religious reliquaries; and indeed, Colombian cemeteries regularly contain small niches to hold the body's cremated ashes.” The shoes belonged to a woman who was made ”to disappear” in Colombia. They function as remains of a loved one and can be read as objects of remembrance. They powerfully evoke the presence of the disappeared and the experience of the survivors. Critic Charles Merewether writes, “These are shoes from families of women who have disappeared. Their abandonment is testimony of a forced separation. They stand in for the presence of the absent body ... The installations represent a collective statement of defiance against the tactics of disappearance which the military exercises over its people.” The artist says, “We have all been wounded, but we forget our pain too easily.” Salcedo received her MFA from New York University in 1984.
Salcedo has exhibited widely throughout the United States, Europe, and South America, and was included in the 1995 group exhibition “About Place: Recent Art of the Americas” at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is included in the collections of: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Art Institute of Chicago; and The Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, among others.
enamel on metal, 49 inches x 36.5 inches
(b. 1959 — Antwerp, Belgium) Alys creates work concerned with the absurdity of human behavior, often alluding, sometimes quite humorously, to the inexplicable logic which pervades contemporary, urban life. His figures are regularly portrayed as emotionally detached from their environments, often in a style reminiscent of Alys’s countryman, the great surrealist painter, René Magritte. In 1993 he formed the Taller workshop in Mexico City with fellow artists Enrique and Rodolofo Huerta, Juan Garcia, and Emilio Rivera. Inspired by the colorful painted storefront facades of Mexico, Alys collaborated with these professional sign painters (rotúlistas) to create a series of collaborative artworks. Alys would paint a small work of an everyday landscape or imagined scene, and one of the workshop’s artists replicated the scene at a larger scale, in their own style. Presented together, the works highlight Alys’ affinity for collaboration and repetition. Alys has exhibited internationally, including shows at the Louisiana Museum, Denmark, and the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
color photograph, 33.25 inches x 56 inches
(b. 1954 — Glen Ridge, New Jersey) Cindy Sherman began her photography career in the late 1970s, photographing herself in settings reminiscent of film noir and Hollywood publicity stills. The artist photographs herself dressing in different clothes and guises, employing wigs and actor’s makeup to portray women in film, historical paintings, and advertising. In this body of work, Sherman makes wry visual comments on the history and style of portrait painting and the commercialization of the female form. Throughout history, especially in commercial arenas, there is a convention of portraying women that are not real but rather idealized figures. Sherman comments on these female stereotypes and their depiction by males. Sherman earned her BFA from State University of New York at Buffalo. Her photographs have been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, and were featured in a major solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1987. The artist is the recipient of a “genius” MacArthur Award. She currently lives and works in New York City.
c-print, 35 inches x 40 inches
(b. 1949 — Panama Canal Zone) Richard Prince is well-known for appropriating and remaking existing imagery—he takes photographs of existing photographs from magazines and other mass-media sources and slightly alters them in some way. “By enlarging, cropping, changing focus, adding color, he transforms bland photographic clichés into acerbic* commentaries on commercial exploitation.”
*acerbic: sharp or biting, as in character or expression.
Untitled (Kneeling Woman with Mask)
cut paper and adhesive, 55.25 inches by 32 inches
(b. 1969 — Stockton, California) Walker is best known for her wall installations of cut-out silhouettes staging pastoral scenes reminiscent of the Old South. These visually seductive works comment on the sexual, physical, and racial exploitation that remain issues today. Walker grew up in a multicultural community in California and did not encounter feelings of overt racial bias until she moved to Atlanta. It was this profound experience that inspired the artist to create work that relates a certain romantic vision of a “Gone with the Wind” Deep South, while directly confronting racial stereotypes and stories of slavery. These images serve to narrate dark, often ludicrous tales through fantastic allegories. A critic writes, “As if derived from some sort of collective unconscious, these narratives touch on issues of racial struggle, division of labor and gender, as reenactments of episodes of 19th century American history.” Walker elaborates, “I’m trying to set up a narrative of myself that references ... a fictional construct through which I tend to view much of my life. A fiction ... with a heroine and an almost discernible plot. In my case, the plot suggested a lot of suppressed, self-imposed racism.”
acrylic on paper, 72 inches x 65 inches x 3 inches
(b. 1977 — Los Angeles, California) Wiley draws from Renaissance and French rococo painting, depicting young black men in iconic poses that reference religious and historical figures. The artist states, “I’m fascinated with the ways powerful white men have been depicted in the history of Western easel painting. It is a craft that has evolved into a vocabulary of signs that tells one that the subject is important. The absence of young, black, urban men in painting says something about our society.” Wiley continues, “Painting is about the world that we live in. Black men live in the world. My choice to include them is my way of saying yes to us.” Wiley’s models are young men he meets on the street, both in Harlem and in Los Angeles. They are asked to assume poses from Titian and Tiepolo paintings while dressed in their street clothes. His use of French rococo, with its garishness and vulgarity, complements the flashy attire and display of material consumption evident in hip-hop culture. States Brian Keith Jackson of Vibe magazine, “The portraits examine not only how African American males are viewed by others, but also how they see themselves. Wiley hones in on their desire to pose, to be seen, to keep it real, but above all, to represent.” The artist earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, California, in 1999, and an MFA from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut, in 2001. He has exhibited his work in New York and Los Angeles and received a grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation in 2002.
mixed media, 48 inches x 72 inches
(b. 1954 — Red Bank, New Jersey, d. 1992) Wojnarowicz never formally studied art, but had an affinity for surrealism and dada art movements. Wojnarowicz made, “Pessimistic, fiercely critical paintings of great inventiveness and idiosyncratic formality.” One feels the weight of pain in his work. Critic Lucy Lippard writes, “The freedom of vision, the use of art as a healing process for damaged lives, an occasionally raw technique disguising subtle content … Wojnarowicz balances aggressive violence and pessimism with transgressive, life-affirming vitality.” (Art in America, Dec. 1, 1990) His work has much to do with the AIDS crisis and homosexuality—about the contradictions of the human condition. His work has been exhibited extensively since 1980.
computer-generated print, 78.25 inches x 115 inches
(b. 1962 — Veracruz, Mexico) Gabriel Orozco’s works feature blown-up press photographs of popular sports athletes in the midst of play. The viewer is confronted with humankind’s competitive urge. A critic writes, “The pictures, complete with captions, were lifted from British newspapers, and no attempt was made to smooth them over. Printer’s dots are blown up along with everything else—very gritty. Athletes were then overlaid with computer-generated disks in colored sectors, like flayed soccer balls, as the artist’s play overtook theirs. Such impositions are part and parcel of Orozco’s smaller drawings and photographs, simultaneously critical and playful.”
In 1996, Orozco had a solo exhibition at the ICA, London, and the Kunsthalle, Zurich. He was featured in the Projects Room at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1993, and in a one-person exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 1994.
mixed media on wood, 60 inches x 60 inches
(b. 1968 — New Jersey) Bailey creates spiritually charged work that deals with both memory and loss, and draws from his African American heritage. Based primarily on vintage family photographs, Bailey uses paint, a variety of print-making techniques, and collage to create these poignant vignettes. A critic notes, “Like many artists who find sustenance in African traditions … he uses images to traverse and knit together time and space.”
His work has been included in exhibitions at: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The High Museum, Georgia; and The Mint Museum of Art, North Carolina. His work is in the permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, Colorado, and The Mint Museum, North Carolina. Bailey is a graduate of the Atlanta College of Art.
screenprint and collage, 48 inches x 62 inches
(b. 1925 — Port Arthur, Texas, d. 2008) Rauschenberg was, perhaps, the most important painter in establishing the vocabulary of American pop art. Since the 1960s, he increasingly used silkscreen transfers to create a kaleidoscope of images derived from the daily press and motion pictures. Combinations of disparate images through photo-transfer, silkscreen, incorporation of found objects, and painted forms resulted in striking juxtapositions. He continued to experiment with disks, motors, Plexiglas, sound, and variations in technique such as the transfer of photographs to silkscreen in the manner of the late Andy Warhol.
Rauschenberg studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Academie Julien, Paris, the Art Students League, New York, and Black Mountain College, North Carolina. His work has been widely exhibited throughout the world and is included in most museum collections worldwide.
“Women of Allah” (Version #2)
gelatin silver print photograph, 56.5 inches x 40 inches
(b. 1957 — Iran) Shirin Neshat explains the impetus of her work as being inspired by visiting her homeland after a 16-year absence. Neshat’s dramatic, confrontational, black-and-white photographs frequently feature herself, severely garbed in a black chador, sometimes with other women, and at times carrying a weapon. Often, Neshat inscribes Farsi verses and the words of Iranian poets as a means to further “veil” her face, hands, or feet. A critic writes, “One might say that these photographs document the artist's effort to feel her way, through the veil, toward an empathetic understanding of who she would be if, instead of having escaped the Iranian revolution, she had chosen to live it.” Writer Hamid Dabashi explains, “The glory of Shirin Neshat's photography is in her uncanny ability to turn violence into a source of energy for serenity, sadness into an animating force for sensuality.”
Burnt by the Sun
enamel on jacaranda wood, 64 inches x 19 inches x 19 inches
(b. 1973 — Pretoria, South Africa) Schreuders creates carved wood figures in which she combines cultural symbolism with elements of her own life. Her sculptures were inspired by family photographs and childhood memories. The artist, whose father went to Africa from the Netherlands at age 16, states, “They are portraits, but are presented in such a way that they refer to an identity within a specific social circle. In this sense they serve to examine the broader context of the society I grew up in.” Her use of wood is meant to evoke an African context, emphasizing the dislocation of her white family. She is also strongly inspired by the painted wooden Colon figures of West Africa; interested primarily in their status as outsiders or “ambiguous aliens,” which is how she views her presence as a white woman in South Africa. The title, “Burnt by the Sun,” is perhaps a suggestion that even the sun agrees that she does not belong in South Africa with her white skin. Her figures have a devotional quality, combining Western and African elements to create a quiet stillness and solidity. New York Times critic Holland Cotter states, “In Ms. Schreuders/' work, the exploration of self-identity, cultural discomfort and a strong if clouded spirituality adds up to a compelling mix.”
“Garden” (Ozone Summer Series)
scorch marks on unstretched canvas, 94 inches x 48 inches
(b. 1955 — Somerville, New Jersey) Cole is best known for creating anthropomorphic sculptures made from irons, blow dryers, ironing boards, telephones, and other eclectic everyday materials, as well as creating works on canvas that he physically scorches with electric irons. He examines issues of African American cultural identity and racial stereotypes. A critic writes, “These common household objects have become electrically charged with their life of use … His transformation of irons and ironing boards gains strength from the labor of the people who used them in the practice of everyday life.” In “Garden” (Ozone Summer Series), the pattern that emerges brings to mind both African tribal masks and the visual rhythms of African fabrics. It’s symbolic of the branding of skin or a scarification ceremony.
Cole had solo exhibitions at the Newark Museum, New Jersey, and the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri. His work is included in the collections of the St. Louis Art Museum, Allen Memorial Art Gallery, Ohio, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1989, he was an “Artist-in-Residence” at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.
Girl with Crossed Arms
Ilfochrome print, 11.75 inches x 11.75 inches
(b. 1969 — Dresden, Germany) Trained as a painter, Lux creates imaginary portraits of children that are hybrids of paintings and photographs. Painting backgrounds to accompany her child subjects, she digitally inserts photographs of the children into her invented landscapes. States the artist, “I always choose models that I can identify with, that remind me of my own childhood. What interests me about children is the mixture of vulnerability and pride, genuineness and learned behavior, self-awareness, and hidden knowledge. I am exploring the awakening of the self.”“Influenced by the great Italian and Spanish painters of the 17th and 18th centuries, Lux's portraits often refer to fairy tales and myths.
The artist earned a degree in painting from the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Munich, in 1996, and has exhibited her work in Madrid, London, and Munich since 1999 and in New York in 2003. Her work is included in public collections in the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.
José Antonio Hernández-Diez
c-print, 98.5 inches x 63 inches
(b. 1964 — Caracas, Venezuela) José Antonio Hernández-Diez expresses the cross-cultural nature of contemporary art by framing pan-Western concepts with common objects found in commercial Venezuelan culture. In this photograph, the artist represents the 20th century Czech author Franz Kafka by carefully stacking training shoes that are commonly purchased from street vendors in his native Caracas. This work is from a thematic series in which the artist similarly “spells out” other key Western thinkers like Karl Marx, David Hume, and Carl Jung. In these photographs, Hernández-Diez exposes the tendency of Western cultures to objectify important or valued people, goods, and ideas with titles and logos, whether they are historical thinkers or athletic footwear. For Hernández-Diez, symbols of Venezuelan street culture have as much identity and cultural presence as historical Western ideologues. This conceptual blending of such distinct cultural entities is enhanced by the commanding visual language of his large-scale art. His “Kafka” becomes a bold and colorful icon of South American street life while the urban fashion of Caracas recharacterizes one of Western literature's most important writers. The artist has exhibited his work in the United States, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico.
acrylic on canvas, 78 inches x 59 inches
(b. 1954 — New York, New York) Dwyer's work is included in major public and private collections throughout the United States. Dwyer's work is about the mechanics of public and personal communication, and the density and mystery of common words. The work calls to mind the way the world speaks to people through advertisements. An air of expectation, devoid of content pervades her paintings, as it does with the abstract paintings of the 1960s with which Dwyer's work bears a technical resemblance. “Her work becomes representations of space itself, vacated pauses within the violent assault of spectacular images. But they also show how strangely evocative such empty spaces can be. Dwyer has made these allusions to the infinities of time and space into images of the sublime. They are like tinges of terror at the heart of consumerism.
Untitled (Woman in Flowers)
laser direct c-print, 50 inches x 60 inches
(b. 1962 — Brooklyn, New York) In keeping with Progressive's advertising tag line at the time, “Not what you'd expect from an insurance company,” we commissioned Crewdson to investigate the concept of the end of status quo for the 1999 Annual Report. He creates staged photographs that examine the notion of the “unexpected.” Crewdson’s evocative work is a fusion of documentary and fiction. His constructed fictions are inspired by dioramas displayed at natural history museums. He searches under the calm surfaces of suburban landscape in an effort to find the tensions that lie just beneath domestic trappings. This photograph, from his most recent series, “Twilight,” has a cinematic quality and was actually shot at dusk. Crewdson explains, “Twilight is this magic hour. It's the perfect hour between day and night when ambient and artificial light come together. It's a time of transcendence when extraordinary things happen.” A group of 35 stagehands, electricians, tree surgeons, and actors collaborated in the creation of the photographs, adding to the sense of film-like narrative. The artist is a skilled colorist and the resulting photographs have a lush, painterly quality. Writer Elizabeth Hayt states, “The collision of the ordinary and extraordinary, the normal and the strange, lies at the heart of Mr. Crewdson’s work, in which a perfect world is perverted by surrealist, macabre touches ... Like the filmmakers David Cronenberg, David Lynch, and Alfred Hitchcock, from whom he draws inspiration, Mr. Crewdson seeks to map out a terrain that is at once familiar and terrifying, the photographic equivalent to Freud's definition of the uncanny.” Crewdson also cites Stephen Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” as a major influence on his work. Crewdson studied at Yale School of Art & Architecture. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and are in many museum collections throughout the United States and Europe.
“A ilha” (The Island)
acrylic on canvas, 48 inches x 48 inches
(b. 1960 — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Milhazes's swirling paintings are a mix of painting and printing. What results are bold abstract patterns that are so vibrant they appear to have a life of their own. New York Times critic Roberta Smith writes, “Ms. Milhazes's elaborately patterned paintings have a strange faded glory and a sure intelligence, with a layering of references, forms and colors that keep the mind in constant motion. Her drifting, spherical patterns often cluster toward the top of her canvases like lanterns (or chandeliers) at a party, or luscious pieces of fruit on a laden tree.” (March 22, 1996) The paintings also bring to mind women's domestic work. These patterns “conjure up lace making, beading, crocheting, stenciling, open metalwork, furniture decoration; hand-painted signs, wrapping paper, and wallpaper.” Milhazes was included in the prestigious 1995 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, and “Anos 80,” Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
oil on canvas, 42 inches x 47 inches
(b. 1976 — Livonia, Michigan) Dana Schutz is a painter who uses diverse imagery which she derives from short stories or anecdotes. She feels that her paintings belong to an ongoing narrative: “I like the idea of paintings walking into other paintings.” In this painting, Schutz has taken a beginning sculpting class and brought it out into the night, turning the masses of clay into specimens to be studied under the light. She explains, “I was interested in painting sculpture because sculpture has to deal with stuff that painting can take advantage of, like gravity. In my experience, usually beginning sculpture is heavily symbolic. I am interested in what happens to that symbolism when they are taken outdoors, out of their original context. I am interested in the objects as fictional artifacts from a proposed real situation.” Schutz earned her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from Columbia University.
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Explore some of our most recent acquisitions and site-specific installations from across the country
Mohau Modisakeng / Passage
Each year we acquire approximately 200 artworks. We seek artists whose diversity of identity and communication reflect that of our Progressive people. Our art arouses our people to dialogue and debate. Progressive’s collection can be described as compelling, visually unforgettable, innovative, rich in content, and critically representative of the times in which we live.
We’ve commissioned several artists to create large-scale, site-specific artworks for our regional contact centers across the country. Often the most memorable takeaways from a site visit, these massive artworks proactively awaken our shared spaces.