From the Collection of Anonymous

October 2021 – February 6, 2022


Museum Directors make lifelong friends. Museum Director Laurel Reuter has made many close friends in her 50-year career. One friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, has taken a particular interest in the Permanent Collection, believing rich collections of art deeply enrich communities.

David Rockefeller once said, “A museum has to renew its collection to be alive, but that does not mean we give on important old works.” The Museum holds nearly 2500 works of art in the collection. The earliest works, purchased with grants from the National Endowment of the Arts in the early 1990s, are coveted and important to the history of the Museum. Upon opening the new space in the early 1990s, the Museum began to purchase important works of art by artists such as Xu Bing, Don Reitz, N. Scott Momaday, and Georgie Papageorge. Early donors realized how important collections were to the region and bought works on behalf of the Museum. Sanny Ryan, of the Ryan Potato Company, and whose name graces one of the main floor galleries, purchased the first outdoor sculpture by Native artist Allan Houser. These early works form the backbone of the collection; however, new works are rounding out the areas needing to be filled in the collection.

Anonymous Donor realized the importance of access to contemporary artwork in the Dakotas and took it upon himself/herself to purchase as many works as possible for the people of the State. Over the last ten years this donor has purchased more than 70 majors works of art for the Museum. “From the Collection of Anonymous” highlights include, North Dakota-born James Rosenquist, who is often credited with being the precursor of the Pop Art movement; Julian Schnabel, who represented the U.S. at the 1980 Venice Biennale and painted the 2002 album cover By The Way for the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Helen Frankenthaler, an American abstract expressionist painter who had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOMA in New York, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Patrick Wilson, an up-and-coming painter out of California with works in the collections of Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Elmhurst Art Museum; Robert Polidori, one of the foremost photographers of human habitats and environments; and Minneapolis-based photographer Alec Soth.

Angela Dufresne, New York, New York.
Jewelry Shop Parent Trap, 2019.
Oil on canvas, 78 x 108 inches.

Installation View

Anne Lapin, Los Angeles, California.
We Beam Passed, 2018.
Flashe paint, charcoal, acrylic, urethane on linen, 26 x 30 inches

Installation View

Patrick Wilson, Los Angeles, California.
Space Heater, 2018.
Acrylic on canvas,  57 x 66 inches.