The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women Includes Works by Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Eva Hesse, Cindy Sherman, Doris Salcedo, Lorna Simpson

For Immediate Release:

(Boston, MA, December 19, 2014)–In the largest gift of art ever made to the museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) has acquired 43 major works of 20th- and 21st-century art from political activist and philanthropist Barbara Lee, announced Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the ICA. The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women represents three decades of collecting by Lee, and brings together painting, sculpture, and photography by iconic modern and contemporary artists whose work and ideas have changed the course of art history.
Comprised of 43 works of art by 25 artists from eight different countries, the gift deepens the ICA’s holdings of works by Louise Bourgeois, Tara Donovan, Marlene Dumas, Mona Hatoum, Cindy Sherman, and Lorna Simpson, and adds seminal works by artists who are part of the ICA’s exhibition history including Sandra Cinto; Rachel Harrison; Eva Hesse; Jenny Holzer; Roni Horn; Louise Lawler; Ana Mendieta; Doris Salcedo; Joan Semmel; Amy Sillman; Kiki Smith; Shelburne Thurber; and Lisa Yuskavage. The works span nearly seven decades, with the majority created between 1980 and the present. From Marlene Dumas’ multi-panel painting The Messengers (1992) to Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1979-80) to powerful sculptures in wood and metal by Doris Salcedo, the works encompass the ideas and themes emblematic of women’s artistic practice in the late 20th- and early 21st-centuries.
“With this extraordinary gift, the ICA Collection is enriched by works of remarkable quality and depth, ensuring our audiences the opportunity to experience art that has defined and continues to influence contemporary culture,” said Medvedow. “Lee’s bold decision to focus on women artists has resulted in a collection that is conceptually distinct and diverse. Combining a personal sensibility with a pointed political vision, the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women is a magnificent demonstration of the power of one woman to catalyze change. We are honored to welcome these works into the collection and grateful to have such a champion in Barbara Lee.”
“Since its inception, the ICA has been an incubator of bold ideas, championing artists underrepresented in the cannon of art history and introducing them to Bostonians and visitors from around the world,” said Lee.  “Under Jill Medvedow’s leadership, the ICA continues to forge milestones for the museum and the city. I can’t imagine a better home for this collection.“

Commented Marlene Dumas: “It's a pleasure to see my work entering the ICA Boston collection, where I had a solo show in 2001 at the same time as female artists Rineke Dijkstra, and Layla Ali. It was a wonderful combination and an honor to be part of it. And Barbara Lee is great!” 
Lee is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the ICA and has a demonstrated commitment to its growth and impact. She made the lead gift to jumpstart the campaign to build the ICA’s new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed building on Boston Harbor, endowed the chief curator position, and has continually invested in the museum’s power and potential as a collecting institution.

An online gallery featuring select works from the Collection can be accessed at

Press Contacts:

Kelly Gifford, 617-478-3197

Colette Randall, 617-478-3181
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About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for over 75 years. Like its iconic Diller Scofidio + Renfro building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions, collection, performances and educational programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas.

The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for students, and free for members and children 17 and under. State Street Corporation Free Admission for Youth at the ICA is generously supported by the State Street Corporation. Free admission is offered on ICA Free Thursday Nights, 5–9 p.m. Free admission for families is offered for ICA Play Dates (2 adults and children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit

Image: Barbara Lee and Jill Medvedow in front of Lorna Simpson’s work ID (left) and one of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (right). Photo: Liza Voll Photography

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