Boca Raton Museum of Art
Modern and Contemporary Art
Al Held (American,1928-2005), Mantegna's Edge, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 52 feet.
European and American masters in this collection offer a representative narrative of modernism's development which is defined as art in all media created from 1960 through the present. In the contemporary galleries, a broad range of works from the 1960s through the 1990s serve to illustrate the pluralism of late-20th-century art from fine examples of Op art by Julian Stanczak, Bridget Riley and Richard Anuszkiewicz, to Pop Art with graphics and works on paper by Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein, to post-painterly abstraction and color field painting. The 1970s and 1980s return to painterly work, figuration and narration can be seen in representative works by Janet Fish, Joan Mitchell, Nancy Graves and Gregory Amenoff among others.
Perhaps most outstanding in the modern and contemporary art collection is the Grand Hall's monumental (18-by-58-foot) abstract mural, Mantegna's Edge, by American geometric constructivist painter Al Held (born New York, 1928-2005). Acquired by the Museum in 1994, this large non-gestural abstract composition, dated 1983, is built from bold geometric forms in brightly saturated pure color and was originally commissioned and installed in a public building in Dallas, Texas. It is one of only six monumental murals by Held, and is published in numerous books about the artist's work. Installed on the entire length of the Museum's Grand Hall (which was designed for this mural's permanent exhibition), Mantegna's Edge can be seen from afar, as one approaches the Museum, beckoning through the two-story-tall glass façade at the entrance plaza.
In recent years, the Museum has made a sustained effort to integrate important Latin American and Florida artists of national and international stature into its collections, with recent acquisitions of fine works by artists such as Julio Larraz, Jorge Segui and Arturo Rodriguez.