The NCMA’s collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art encompasses works from the early 1900s to the present day. The twentieth-century collection primarily focuses on American painting but also includes sculpture, photography, prints, drawings, and works by artists from other parts of the world. The twenty-first-century collection strives to present a truly global story of contemporary art with works in a wide variety of media by local, national, and international artists.
The NCMA was founded with a mandate to acquire historical American, British, and European art through the nineteenth century and did not start collecting twentieth-century art until the late 1950s. The twentieth- and twenty-first-century collections are now the largest at the Museum, making up more than half of the artworks.
In these galleries you will see art from the mid-twentieth century to the early twenty-first century, including a group of works by German expressionist artists from the early decades of the twentieth century shown with German artists from the 1970s and 1980s, a focus on artistic interpretations of the human form, and a survey of the history of abstraction from the 1960s to the present day.
The story of twentieth-century art continues in a group of galleries focused on early to mid-twentieth-century art on the opposite side of this building. The twenty-first-century galleries, featuring global contemporary art, can be found in East Building’s entrance level galleries.
Linda Johnson Dougherty
Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art