Pay It Forward

Mid-century master painter Barnett Newman left behind an expansive body of abstract expressionist works and was also prominent in the area of color field. Most famous for his “zip” paintings, his bold choices of scale and proportion unapologetically drove contemporary art forward with surprising and imaginative manipulations of canvas and medium.

Barnett Newman's "The Wild" 1950. The canvas was a radical eight feet tall by around 2 inches wide, foreshadowing his "zip" concept for which he would come to be known.

But even more important than his own work is the posthumous foundation established by his widow Annalee Newman. Set up to provide grants to artists, it is this legacy of thoughtful generosity that makes Barnett Newman stand out among his peers.

Sam Gilliam, "Column Series" 1963, Acrylic on Canvas

The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation’s aim is to further the spirit of great art, recognize a seriousness of purpose and guide an ambition to explore new ideas for painting, sculpture, mixed media and creative video.

Richard Smith, "A Whole Year a half a day IX" 1966, Acrylic on Canvas

The Jewish Museum’s current exhibition, After the “Wild”: Contemporary Art from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection highlights an exciting cross section of works by 47 recipients of this generous grant program and span the years 1963-2023. Many of these recipients knew Barnett as a mentor and friend who championed them throughout their careers and made an impact on how they saw themselves as artists.

Richard Deacon, "Shiver My Timbers (3, 6, 9)" 2015, Wood
Richard Howard Hunt, "Angel Tide" 2010, Welded Stainless Steel

For lovers of contemporary art in particular, the curation is inspired and thought-provoking and represents the best of Barnett and Annalee Newman’s intentions to honor, support and provide financial assistance to the next wave of artists to carry contemporary art forward.

Elizabeth Turk, "Script, Column #8" 2018, Marble
Cai,Guo-Qiang. "Wolf and Earth: Drawing Experiment for Deutsche Guggenheim" 2005, Gunpowder on Paper, Mounted on Wood Panel

After the “Wild”: Contemporary Art from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection runs through October 1.