One July morning, blue tape marks the walls where art will be hung, staff balance on ladders adjusting lights, and Katie Lee-Koven takes in all the activity as the museum comes back to life.
A gift from artist and philanthropist Nora Eccles Harrison helped fund construction of Utah State University’s art museum in 1982. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) collection focuses on art west of the Mississippi River since 1920, and features 5,000 works of art by 1,845 artists. NEHMA opens its doors again Sept. 15 after a $5 million restoration and expansion project with Collecting on the Edge, a two-part exhibit celebrating its permanent collection. It showcases works by 172 artists and a range of movements such as Bay Area abstract expressionism, Santa Fe transcendentalism, abstract classicism, pop, and conceptual art.
“This exhibition asks viewers to consider what art tells us about our past and how history should be re-examined, in this instance with respect to art in the West,” says Lee-Koven, NEHMA’s executive director and chief curator. “This grouping of 172 objects demonstrates that the history of art in the American West has been even more of a force in American art and culture than one might think.”
Museum Grand Reopening Celebration
September 15, 7-9 p.m.
Collecting on the Edge Exhibition
Part One: September 15-December 15, 2018
Part Two: January 17-May 4, 2019