Honoring and extending the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye, the Frye Art Museum showcases its Founding Collection of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century European art. The Museum is also dedicated to initiating and presenting exhibitions of contemporary art—a commitment that arises from the collecting practice of the Fryes, who regularly sought the counsel of living artists and often purchased paintings directly from artists in their studios. The Founding Collection is the catalyst for the Museum’s engagement with contemporary art and artists.
Among the internationally renowned artists whose work has recently been exhibited at the Frye are assume vivid astro focus, Raul Ortega Ayala, Guy Ben-Ner, Louise Bourgeois, George Brecht, Maurizio Cattelan, Willie Cole, Critical Art Ensemble, R. Crumb, Henry Darger, Dias & Riedweg, Amie Dicke, Nathalie Djurberg, Tim Eitel, Dan Graham and Japanther, the Handspring Puppet Company, Oliver Herring, Candida Höfer, Pierre Huyghe, Runa Islam, Joan Jonas, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Meiro Koizumi, Neue Slowenische Kunst, Paul McCarthy, Annette Messager, Matt Mullican, Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, Robyn O’Neil, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Mike Parr, Patricia Piccinini, Paul Pfeiffer, Neo Rauch, Dario Robleto, Sigrid Sandström, Paul Sharits, Kiki Smith, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Kara Walker, and Erwin Wurm.
Seattle artists who have exhibited at the Frye are Leo Saul Berk, Claire Cowie, William Cumming, Victoria Haven, Patrick Holderfield, David C. Kane, Jeffry Mitchell, Mark Mumford, Joseph Park, Tracy and the Plastics, Trimpin, and Robert Yoder.
The Frye also presents historical exhibitions that complement and contextualize the Founding Collection. Among these exhibitions was The Munich Secession and America, which featured major loans from the Municipal Gallery Lenbachhaus; the Bavarian State Painting Collections, Neue Pinakothek; and the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich; the Berlinische Galerie – State Museum Berlin and Art Library of the State Museums of Berlin; the State Museum Mainz; the Municipal Gallery in Dresden; and the Art Museums of Krefeld: Kaiser Wilhelm Museum; the Unterberger Collection; and the Sander Collection. The exhibition also included loans from Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington.
Other major institutions that have generously supported the Frye through their loans are the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Bronx Museum of Art, New York; the Royal Academy of Art, London; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; the San Antonio Museum of Art; the Seattle Art Museum; the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930, brings together for the first time the work of two of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) from the United States and Qi Baishi (1864-1957) from China.
The fall 2013 season at the Frye Art Museum opens with Frye Salon, a re-staging of the Founding Collection as it was installed in the home gallery of Charles and Emma Frye.
The first exhibition in the United States to explore artistic and intellectual exchanges between Chinese artist Teng Baiye (1900-1980) and his American contemporary Mark Tobey (1890-1976).
The first museum exhibition to celebrate the work and career of Seattle artist Curtis R. Barnes. For over six decades, Barnes has worked as an artist, illustrator, muralist, and community advocate. In his sculpture, painting, and drawing, he employs imagery derived from his vast experience, mystical erudition, and heritage.
A three-person visual cogitation exploring continuum, identity, ritual, and adornment, with work by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Nicholas Galanin, and Nep Sidhu. The three artists work with the ancient and sacred in unison with the new and revised, bound by the belief that a people without myth and a society that fails to look upon itself honestly are destined to the same fate.