In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 154-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art (WGMA), the first art museum in the nation’s capital dedicated to the collection of contemporary art. That decision proved deeply consequential for the Oklahoma City arts community as it ensured that this city would maintain major collections of Abstract Expressionism, Post Painterly Abstraction, Color Field Painting, Minimalism, and Pop Art. The New Art: A Milestone Collection Fifty Years Later honors this extraordinary collection on this major anniversary, presenting longstanding Museum highlights by Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn, Grace Hartigan, Sam Gilliam, Robert Indiana, and Paul Reed among many others, along with the rarely shown works by Morris Louis, Adaline Kent, Lee Bontecou, Michel Guino. The New Art offers a comprehensive view of the WGMA collection, highlighting twentieth century masterpieces and celebrating the history of one of the nation’s most important modern art institutions.
Gene Davis (American, 1920–1985). Cool Staccato, 1964. Acrylic on canvas. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase, Washington Gallery of Modern ArtCollection, 1968.134. ©Estate of Gene Davis