Oct 28, 2016 Ali Hibbs
The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring artwork from the Empire State Plaza Art Collection. The People’s Art: Selections from the Empire State Plaza Art Collection is organized in collaboration with the New York State Office of General Services, which curates the Plaza Art Collection. The exhibition features 20 works, including both paintings and sculpture, by 17 artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, David Smith, and Alexander Calder. The exhibition remains on view through September 3, 2017.
“We are proud to partner with the State Office of General Services on this exhibition featuring works from the Empire State Plaza’s world-class modern art collection,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “This collection belongs to the people of New York State and we’re honored to host this exhibition of artwork that has intrigued Empire State Plaza visitors for the past 50 years.”
“As the proud stewards of the Empire State Plaza Art Collection, we are excited to be partnering with the New York State Museum to celebrate the collection’s 50th anniversary and increase the public’s exposure to these amazing works of art,” State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. “Several of the pieces that will be on display in the museum were created by painters who were the first American artists to generate a groundbreaking and unique artistic movement that had a worldwide impact. The works created after World War II by the first generation of abstract expressionist artists helped shift the art capital of the world from Paris, where it had been for centuries, right here to New York.”
“Governor Nelson Rockefeller recognized the vital importance of American art and the Plaza Art Collection reflects the greatest public collection of twentieth century works in the nation,” said State Museum Director Mark Schaming. “We are honored to exhibit this selection of many of the best works from the Plaza Art Collection for State Museum visitors to view as never before.”
The Empire State Plaza Art Collection has been heralded as one of the greatest collections of modern American art in any single public site. Beginning in 1965, following a procedure he established decades earlier during the construction of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, Governor Nelson Rockefeller assembled a commission of art experts to select the works for the Plaza and personally signed off on each acquisition. Funds for the art purchases were allocated as a percentage of the construction cost of each building on the Plaza.