Brooklyn Museum Adds Works by Emma Amos, Beverly Buchanan, Betty Tompkins, and Many More Women Artists to Its Collection

Emma Amos, Flower Sniffer, 1966.


Over the past roughly year and a half, the Brooklyn Museum has been staging a bounty of feminist exhibitions and events under the banner “A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum,” and today it detailed 96 acquisitions that it has made as part of the initiative.

Among the artists who have work entering the museum’s collection are Beverly Buchanan, the pioneering practitioner of Post-Minimalism and Land Art who was the subject of a revelatory retrospective, “Ruins and Rituals,” in 2016; Emma Amos and Betye Saar, who both figured in the expansive survey “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85,” which ends its run at the Albright-Knox in Buffalo on Sunday; and the Guerrilla Girls, who had more than four dozen of their posters acquired.

Not only is the list of artists impressive, many of the works that have been acquired are substantial. Betty Tompkins’s early Fuck Painting #6 (1973)—a jaw-dropping, carefully rendered closeup of exactly what its title suggests—was given by the artist-couple Robert Gober and Donald Moffett in 2016, and Saar’s 1973 assemblage Liberation of Aunt Jemima: Cocktail—a key work in “We Wanted a Revolution”—was added through funds from Elizabeth A. Sackler, the museum’s contemporary art committee, and the William K. Jacobs, Jr. Fund.

Beverly Buchanan, Untitled (Frustula Series), ca. 1978.


And here’s one more treasure now held by the museum: Flower Sniffer (1966) by Emma Amos, an intimate 50-inch square self-portrait that was another standout in the “We Wanted a Revolution” show, which was acquired through the Jacobs, Jr. Fund in 2017. (Now the question is whether a museum will be able to acquire Sandy and Her Husband, 1973, the double portrait of a dancing couple that features that paint painting hanging on the wall; in “We Wanted a Revolution,” it was presented as a loan from Amos.)

“The Brooklyn Museum is excited to have added numerous works from ancient times to the present to its collection over the past year and, after a concerted effort to broaden our historic narratives, among them are nearly a hundred works by women artists, all of whom have contributed significantly to our times,” Anne Pasternak, the museum’s director, said in a statement today.

Other artists who had work acquired during the run of the “Year of Yes” program included Eleanor Antin, Nancy Azara, Andrea Bowers, Judy Chicago, Mary Beth Edelson, Lauren Ewing, Nona Faustine, Harmony Hammond, Deborah Kass, An-My Lê, Nikki S. Lee, Marilyn Minter, Park McArthur, Diane Neumaier, Miriam Schapiro, Dread Scott, Joan Semmel, Sylvia Sleigh, Joan Snyder, Nancy Spero, Jana Sterbak, May Stevens, Athena Tacha, Adejoke Tugbiyele, June Wayne, and Martha Wilson.

Since these acquisitions were made over the past 18 months or so, many are already available for perusal on the Brooklyn Museum’s website. Have a look.

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