Black and white photo showing 7 people standing outside in front of a cement sculpture.

Celebrating 50 Years

Come together with us as we reflect on the museum’s history, and its continued path forward.

Welcome to our Timeline

This timeline is a journey through the evolution of Washington State University’s art museum, an institution that has evolved and flourished since its inception in 1974 as the Museum of Art/WSU. Initially nestled within the Fine Arts Center, the museum quickly gained acclaim for hosting world-class exhibitions, artists, and scholars. Decades later in 2018, and through the generosity of Jordan Schnitzer and many other donors, the museum inaugurated a majestic purpose-built facility at the very heart of the WSU Pullman campus. As we contemplate our shared history, we anticipate the museum’s ongoing role as a dynamic center for the arts, nurturing a sense of community and purpose for future generations.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our donors and museum friends, and past museum staff, whose unwavering support and tireless work has been integral to our journey. It is a remarkable and undeniable fact that it has been the hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 50 years who have carried, and cared for, the essential tenet that the arts fundamentally express and improve our shared humanity.


We have curated a digital timeline from a list of approximately 390 exhibitions that have been on display at WSU’s art museum. Explore our curated selection below.

Use the buttons below to navigate to different decades, or keep scrolling to explore all 50 years!

A black and white photo showing an exhibition of historical chairs.
The museum started in 1974 under the direction of Harvey West


The Museum of Art is founded in the new Fine Arts Center to develop exhibitions of educational merit and to care for the University’s art holdings.

From the Archives

Greco-Roman artifacts produced by the ancient craftsmen and purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum of Malibu, CA will be exhibited along with works of two later European masters, Francisco Goya (Spanish 1746 – 1828) and Honore Daumier (French 1808 – 1979).  Museum of Art Publication:  Goya:  Los Disparates.  The University’s Holland Library agreed to lend its collection of 18 of the 22 known Goya etchings titled the Proverb Series, as well as 20 select Daumier lithographs, which constitute his noted satire on antiquity.  These prints represents a span of nearly 2,000 years.   Finally, a collection of ancient Northwest Indian tools and there modern counterparts will be displayed.  These tools were loaned by the Pacific Northwest Indian Center of Spokane, WA. 

Lecture/Reception:  Dr. Jiri Frel, Curator of Antiquities of The J. Paul Getty Museum, and Mr. Stephen Garret, Deputy Director of the Museum, Oct. 11, 7:30pm, FA Aud. – reception following in Museum.

Poster showing imagery of objects in the exhibition.
Poster designed by WSU Museum of Art for the Fall Exhibition.

Poster Description:

October will be highlighted by four exhibitions which represent the concepts and skills of past artists:              

  • Recent Acquisitions, Ancient Art
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, Mailbu, California
  • Francisco Goya (Spanish 1746-1828): Proverb Series, 18 Etchings
  • Honore Damier (French 1808-1879): 20 lithographs
  • Ancient Northwest Indian Tools and their Modern Counterparts

The central exhibit is to be a collection of recently purchased Greco-Roman artifacts by The J. Paul Getty Museum of Mailbu, California, and loaned to Washington State University. Dr. Jiri Frel, Curator of Antiquities, Getty Museum, and Mr. Stephen Garrett, Deputy Director of the Museum, will present lectures October 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the ancient art collection. A reception in the Gallery honoring the two speakers will follow the lectures.

These priceless art objects produced by ancient Greek and Roman craftsmen will be accomplished by works of two later European masters, Francisco Goya (Spanish 1746 – 1828) and Honore Daumier (French 1808-1879). The University’s Holland Library has graciously agreed to lend its collection of 18 of the 22 known Goya etchings from the Proverb Series, as well as 20 select Daumier lithographs, which constitute his noted satire on antiquity. These magnificent prints will offer an elegant contrast in artistic concepts, which represent a span of over 2,000 years.

The fourth October exhibit is a collection of ancient Northwest Indian tools and their modern counterparts. These ancient tools will reflect the resourcefulness and simplicity of the early artists and imply similarities with tools of today. The ancient tools were loaned to the University by the pacific Northwest Indian Center of Spokane.

During his presidency (1915-1945), Ernest 0. Holland purchased more than 100 valuable paintings at feasible prices. He kept an expansive correspondence with art dealers and artists as he assembled this impressive collection of 19th and early 20th century works by American and European artists. Through the lean years of the Great Depression, Holland covered the costs with the President’s Emergency Fund. When Holland died in 1950, he left his personal art collection to the university with the provision that it be displayed in a proper exhibition space on campus and protected against “loss by fire or theft or damage by water or mutilation.”

These luminous works came to the College through purchases made by President Ernest O. Holland. As the longest serving president in WSU history, Holland’s tenure stretched from 1915 to 1945. During those years, and throughout the Great Depression, he assembled a collection of art he hoped would identify the greatest painters of the day and inspire faculty, staff, and students. Financial support came from Regent Charles W. Orton who contributed funds to support Holland’s ambitious collecting efforts at a time when resources were scarce.

In 1935, President Ernest 0. Holland and the Regents granted art professor Worth D. Griffin a leave of absence with salary and all expenses paid to complete a sweeping portrait project of individuals especially valuable to the welfare of Washington State College. Created in homes, offices, hotel rooms, and school rooms, Griffin painted more than 50 portraits of publishers, educators, state officials, and other prominent individuals in eastern Washington. While completing these portraits, Griffin sought an extension of his commission to paint portraits of prominent Native American tribal leaders and members. Pursued partially on the belief the culture and customs of the Plateau tribes were endangered, Griffin sought to create “a pictorial record of certain active and influential members of various tribes for their public-spirited contributions to their communities.” Griffin completed 45 portraits between 1935 and 1936 in advance of co-founding the Nespelem Art Colony with his colleague Clyfford Still on the Colville Indian Reservation.


Museum of Art becomes one of five founding members of the Washington Art Consortium, a group of art museums in the state comprised to share collections of works on paper and photography (later expanded to 7 member institutions).

A man and woman chat in front of a wall of Warhol prints.
Harvey West and Virginia Wright. 1975.

Recognizing the importance of preserving America’s art, in 1975 a group of individuals, organized by the Seattle patron Virginia Wright, devised a novel and ambitious plan to form a survey of American art of the post-war era, from 1945 – 1975. The collection would not belong to any one museum. Instead, it would be treated as a shared resource for institutions in Washington State and the nation. The works themselves would be drawings and works on paper, easy to transport and easy to handle.

The Washington Art Consortium evolved and became the first organization of its type in the nation. The Consortium is a unique partnership of seven institutions that agreed to work together to acquire and care for a major collection of works on paper and photographs by important American artists of the twentieth century. Today the Consortium’s membership includes: the Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham; the Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman; the Tacoma Art Museum; the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane; the Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham; the Henry Gallery of the University of Washington, Seattle; and the Seattle Art Museum.

Today, the Consortium holds three significant collections. The Consortium’s first two collections, Works on Paper: American Art 1945-1975 and American Photographs: 1970-1980, were acquired through the Virginia Wright Fund and a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The third collection was donated in 1988 by Mary and Richard Aiken, and focuses on prints by American artists from mid century to the present, such as Jacob Lawrence, Jennifer Bartlett and Susan Rothenberg. Combined, the collections represent many of the most notable artists of the latter half of the 20th century.

The WAC disbanded in 2017.

From the Archives

Guest Curator: Curt Sherman, Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Washington State University

Exhibition poster showing an image of a wood chair.
Poster designed by WSU Museum of Art for the exhibition The Chair.

Poster Description:

The exhibition of chairs will attempt to trace the development of the chair from its earliest appearances to its latest manifestations. We will see its evolvement from a simply crafted object to a product of advanced technology. The chair for over 2,000 years has been a symbol of status, of wealth and position. Its early usage set its occupant apart from the rest of his fellows, first by simply raising him to a higher plane and later by the height of the back or the elaborateness of its ornamentation.

In the past this everyday object, made for convenience and pleasure, reflected both the personalities of its owner and its creator. Before the Industrial Revolution, a chair was designed in collaboration between its owner and its craftsman, each contributing something to the whole. Today most chairs are mass-produced. This has meant a standardization of forms to some extent, but it has also meant a greater variety of seating is available to a larger percentage of the population.

The chair, no less than a painting, piece of sculpture, or work of architecture, reflects the creative capacity of a civilization. Like other works of art, a chair is judged on the manner in which its creator has handled line, form, space, proportion and materials, as well as function and comfort.


From the Archives

Exhibition poster with a green background an a metal figure sculpture.

Poster Description

Rodin: The Marhill Collection

February 4 – February 29, 1976

From the Archives

Exhibition poster showing cubist figures on grey paper.
Wendell Brazeau Exhibition Poster

Poster Description

Organized by the Museum of Art, this exhibition also traveled to Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, January 2nd – February 2nd, 1976 Olin Gallery, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, March 6- March 25, 1976.


Friends of the Museum is founded as a 501c3 to support the Museum of Art.

From the Archives

Exhibition poster with image of paint splatters.
Poster from Works On Paper: American Art 1945 – 1975 Exhibition

Poster Description

Works on Paper:  American art 1945- 1975 was an exhibition put together from the Washington art Consortium Collection. The Washington Art Consortium was organized in 1975 by four institutions:  Cheney Cowles Memorial State Museum, Spokane; Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma; The Western Gallery, Western Washington State College, Bellingham; The Consortium, the first organization of its type in the nation, is a unique partnership of four museums who have agreed to work together to acquire jointly a major collection of works on paper by important American artists of the twentieth century. Funds for this project were provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Wright Fund, Seattle.

From the Archives

Exhibition poster with bright green background.
WSU Museum of Art poster 1977

Poster Description

April 11 – May 1, 1977

Spring Selection:  Goya:  Los Disparates; Robert Smithson:  Cayuga Salt Mine Project; People of the Cedar

Back to Timeline

People wandering the galleries.
The 1980s were marked by pivotal exhibitions, and remarkable support through the Friends of the Museum of Art.


From the Archives

The Earthworks exhibit was the result of a project sponsored by the King County Arts Commission to reclaim 104 abandoned gravel pits in King County, WA and make them into a medium for the selected artists’ artistic expressions.  The initial stage of the project was a symposium and plans, photographs, models and maquettes created for the symposium, which form the crux of the exhibit along with an explanatory catalog.  Among the artists selected to participate were Robert Morris, Iain Baxter, Mary Miss, Dennis Oppenheim, Beverly Pepper, Richard Fleischner, and Lawrence Hanson.  Hanson was a participant also in the Northwest Sculpture exhibit at the WSU Museum of Art in 1975.

The Darius Kinsey Collection is 63 photographs of fifty years of photo images of the Northwest character  (landscape, commercial, homesteading, loggers and logging, shingle mills and lumber yards) from the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s.  Darius and Takitha Kinsey were a husband and wife team; he took the pictures and she developed and made prints of them.  The entire collection is owned by the Whatcom Museum of History & Art, Bellingham, WA.  

From the Archives

Black and gray exhibition poster with text.
The Contemporary American Potter exhibition poster.

Poster Description

October 20 – November 19, 1980

Speakers:  Rudy Autio, Garth Clark, William Daly, Sanford Shaman, Betty Woodman


From the Archives

British print exhibition of 70 prints by 45 artists working with traditional techniques such as lithography, etching, woodcut, etc., including more innovative works employing photographic techniques, offset lithography and industrial methods. Developments such as artists’ books, multiples, and unlimited editions are examined. The works on view were brought together for the exhibition from private and public collections in the Northwest (the Portland Art Museum and the Vancouver Art Gallery, B. C.) and from collections in Britain – chiefly the British Council and London galleries. The exhibition was curated by Patricia Grieve Watkinson, Curator of the Museum of Art, WSU and it traveled to other locations in the United States as a Museum of Art Traveling Exhibition. A small brochure catalog titled British Prints: Highlights of Four Decades was published for the exhibit by the WSU Museum of Art.

Exhibition poster on white paper with figure drawing.
British Prints exhibition poster

Poster Description

The past 40 years have seen a renaissance in British printmaking and the emergence of the medium as a significant area of artistic endeavor. This selection shows the development of printed art in Britain from the post-war years to the present day. The exhibition includes traditional techniques such as lithography, etching, woodcut, etc., and more innovative works employing photographic techniques, offset lithography and industrial methods. Developments such as artists’ books, multiples, and unlimited editions are examined. Patricia Grieve Watkinson, Curator. Among the artists shown are:

David Hockney
Henry Moore
Bridget Riley
Richard Smith
Ben Nicholson
Graham Sutherland
Richard Hamilton
R.B. Kitaj
Paul Nash


From the Archives

150 examples of “Made in Japan” Art Deco porcelains – “fancy ware” produced by Noritake between 1922 and 1929 (perfume bottle, chocolate sets, cigarette boxes, cosmetic and powder puff boxes, wall pockets, etc.). The founders of the Noritake factory were the Morimura Brothers and the head of the New York design staff was Englishman Cyril Leigh. Their homebase was Nagoya, Japan with offices in New York. Their homebase factory was bombed during WWII and most of their records and examples documenting Noritake’s production were destroyed. Dr. Howard Kottler, UW professor and Seattle based ceramic artist, assembled over 500 examples of Noritake 1921-41 “fancy ware” by frequenting antique shops, second-hand stores, and flea markets throughout the United States. The exhibit is organized by the WSU Museum of Art in cooperation with the WSU Dept. of Fine Arts and the East and South Asia Program. The exhibit is scheduled for a two-year international tour and has been developed for circulation by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Catalog titled Noritake Art Deco Porcelains published by WSU and the Museum of Art to accompany the exhibit as well as T-shirts and sweatshirts featuring the Noritake “cherry blossom” backstamp.

Publication Noritake Art Deco Parcelains: Collection of Howard Kottler was released in 1982.


From the Archives

Feb. 14 – March 13, 1983

Expressionism: German Expressionist Prints from the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Arts of Indonesia:  From Local Collections

German exhibition highlights the work (prints and paintings) of Expressionist artists in Germany before and after WWI – within a 20 year-span. Organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Exhibit supplemented with works from private collectors. Indonesia exhibit features traditional sculpture, weaving, puppets, batik, jewelry, etc. The exhibition was assembled by Patricia Watkinson and Barbara Coddington of the WSU Museum of Art staff, entirely from local collections.


From the Archives

E.O. Holland was President of Washington State College (WSC) from 1916 to 1944.  During those years he assembled a collection of art which he hoped would identify the great painters of the day.  He personally donated 40 of those paintings to the college and 30 of those pieces will be on display during this exhibit.  The Holland exhibit can be divided into three collections:  his privately donated collection; the collection which he assembled with funds provided by Charles Orton, a former WSC regent; and paintings by WSC fine arts faculty member Worth D. Griffin.

Exhibit composed of pieces from Holland Library; Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections; the WSU Museum of Art permanent collection, etc., by a number of artists in a variety of media.

A painting from the WSU Museum of Art permanent collection, “Evening Landscape” by 19th century American master George Inness (painted in 1862), was among the works which toured the country as part of a major retrospective exhibition of Inness’s work.  The exhibit, organized by Michael Quick of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, opened on Mon., Apr. 1, 1985 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and visited five major metropolitan areas in the country over 17 months and finished its tour at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “Evening Landscape” was donated to WSU in 1948 by Dr. and Mrs. William E. Boeing Sr., of Seattle and underwent major restoration in 1975.

Exhibition poster on off-white paper.
Museum of Art poster 1986

Exhibition poster with an image of a man with lipstick.

From the Archives

October 4 – 26, 1986

Paintings, drawings, and ceramics by artists in the Northwest influenced by the artistic traditions of Japan.

Five Northwest artists who have drawn influence from traditional Japanese art.  Works from a variety of lenders including the artists and the Portland Art Museum/Oregon Art Institute.


Hilda Morris – Drawing

Norie Sato – Mixed Media

Keiko Hara – Paintings

Robert Sperry – Ceramics

John Takehara – Ceramics


WSU Museum of Art produced and distributed its first newsletter to members and WSU Faculty & Staff.

From the Archives

Exhibit featuring the print work of eight British and American artists from the Museum of Art permanent collection and from regional private collections. Brochure by Museum of Art, Pullman, WA.
On Exhibition:
Bernard Cohen
R.B. Kitaj
Eduardo Paolozzi
Peter Phillips
Tom Phillips
Robert Rauschenberg
Larry Rivers
Ed Ruscha
Andy Warhol

From the Archives:

Modern Myths: Classical Renewal
Exhibit features the work of 20 contemporary European and American artists whose academic-style paintings are inspired by classical antiquity (18th & 19th century Classicism and Romanticism). The paintings are on loan from galleries and private collectors in New York and Los Angeles, and Houston, as well as from the Rhode Island School of Design. Exhibit organized by the Boise Gallery of Art and Sandra Harthorn, Boise Gallery of Art, curator of the exhibition.

Exhibition poster on pink paper.
Exhibition poster from 1987 (front)
Exhibition poster back with text.
Exhibition poster from 1987 (back)

Poster Description

Paintings by twenty contemporary American and European artists who are committed to reintroducing classical structure and subject matter into art. Organized by the Boise Gallery of Art.

In 1987, the university art museum established the Museum of Art Friends Fund Endowment. Support for this project came from the director of the museum, Patricia Watkinson, and the Friends of the Museum board, who were tireless fundraisers of the museum. The Friends of the Museum were a group of museum members who not only donated but also volunteered their time and effort to support the museum’s mission and vision. Their dedication to the museum came in many forms, and resulted in a tightly knit art-enthusiast community who enabled the art museum to share the wonders of art with WSU students, the region, and the nation.

The Museum of Art Friends Fund supports daily operations, exhibitions, education, marketing, and impacts our visitors, staff, and students.

Established in 1987 by WSU alumnus Sean Elwood, the Karen E. Hardin & John R. Elwood Collection is named for Elwood’s parents, both esteemed former WSU faculty members, and includes work by artists from outside the state of Washington.


From the Archives

More than 100 photographs including works by artists from Chile, Cuba, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil and Spain, as well as by Americans of Hispanic descent.  All of the artists in the exhibit now live in the New York City area.  Exhibit organized by the New York State Museum in Albany, New York with guest curator Robert Phelan.  Catalog included with exhibit.

From the Archives

The Museum of Art was one of four museums in the country to host the exhibition of oil paintings and watercolors by Milton Avery, a world-renown, twentieth-century American colorist. The 40 works exhibited represent the finest paintings of Avery’s career between 1929-1961. Themes were the landscapes and settings of daily life. Paintings in exhibit made available through the Sally Avery and Milton Avery Trust, as well as from public and private collections throughout the country. Curated by Marla Price, chief curator of the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, and organized by Sandy Harthorn, curator of exhibitions and the staff of the Boise Art Museum.


From the Archives

Exhibition of 43 works in a variety of media by 15 women from Washington State which previewed at the WSU Museum of Art before traveling to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Works selected (out of over 450 entries) by jurors Johanna Nitzke, Northbarnes Productions Curator, Planner, Artist; June Blume, Artist who organized first show of women’s in the nation, Author, Curator; Patterson Sims, Associate Director for Art & Exhibitions, Chief Curator for Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum. Exhibit organized by the Washington State Committee of the NMWA, co-chairs Nelleke Langhout-Nix and Susanna Finnel, assistant to the director of the Honors Program at WSU. Catalog for the exhibit as well as a portfolio of entry slides displayed in museum throughout the show.

This exhibition of work by 15 women from Washington State will preview at the WSU Museum of Art before traveling to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. This program is funded in part by the Institute of Museum Services; Washington State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; and Friends of the Museum of Art.

From the Archives:

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century satirical prints by three European masters of the genre, Francisco Goya, Honore Daumier, and William Hogarth.

Back to Timeline

A large crowd on a grass lawn.
In 1995, the museum celebrated its 21st birthday with a celebration on the WSU campus.


From the Archives:

Large-format color photographs of forces at work in the Southern California desert landscape by Richard Misrach (4 parts: “The Terrain”, “The Event”, “The Flood”, “The Fires”).

Catalog: “Desert Cantos”, 1987, introduction by Reyner Banham.

Curated by Therese Heyman, curator of prints and photography at Oakland (Calif.)Museum, and organized for tour by the Oakland Museum, Oakland, California.

From the Archives:

Exhibition poster with image of colorful artwork.
Exhibition Poster from 1990

Children of the Palouse A juried exhibit of paintings by young artists in the Pullman elementary and middle schools. Co-curated by Barbara Coddington, Museum of Art, and Judy Busch and Barbara Cochran, art instructors, Pullman School District.

80 child artists displaying 70 pieces (watercolors, paintings, painted essays) from the Soviet Union and 47 child artists from Pullman displaying 36 pieces (variety of media) and 11 kites from the ceiling. The exhibit from the Soviet Union was chosen from thousands of pieces created since 1984 and was co-sponsored by the Children’s Art Exchange, Middlebury, Vermont, and the WSU Museum of Art, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (includes curriculum package with a video, music, etc.). The Pullman exhibit was juried and included the elementary and middle schools – co-curated by Barbara Coddington, Museum of Art, and Judy Busch and Barbara Cochran, art instructors, Pullman School District.


Established in 1992 by WSU alumnus Sean Elwood, the Shannon Strother Elwood Collection is named for Elwood’s daughter, and features artists living in the state of Washington.

From the Archives

Exhibit comprised of the WSU Museum of Art permanent collection. Over 400 framed works of art from a large number of artists in a huge variety of mediums on display.

From the Archives

A private collection of musical instruments from more than 60 countries around the globe and spanning 400 years of music-making history. Organized into 5 geographic regions: Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East (including the former Soviet Union). Curated by Barbara Coddington and Jack Schuman – Collection of Jack and Dorinda Schuman, Phoenix, OR. Museum of Art Publication: World of Music: The Jack and Dorinda Schuman Collection.

From the Archives

The Definitive Contemporary American Quilt and two panels of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt December 1 – 18, 1992
48+ artists using a huge variety of materials in their quilts
Exhibition organized by the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, New York City
AIDS quilts courtesy of the NAMES Project Foundation, San Francisco – in recognition of World AIDS Day, the Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and “Common Threads,” a film about the Quilt won the Academy Award as Best Feature Documentary of 1989.

“The quilt is an American cultural icon,” writes curator Bernice Steinbaum. But the 48 artists she has chosen challenge preconceived notions of quilt-making, using materials from photographs and feathers to watercolor and acrylic. Exhibition organized by the Steinbaum Gallery, New York City.

Two sections from the AIDS Memorial Wuilt will join this exhibition December 1-16, in recognition of World AIDS Day. The quilts are courtesy of the NAMES Project Foundation, San Francisco. A National Issues Forum on Coping with AIDS is at 7:30 p.m., December 1, Fine Arts Auditorium.

The Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Arts Endowment Fund supports exhibitions for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Dr. Samuel H. Smith served as the eighth president at Washington State University from 1985 to 2000. During their tenure, he and his wife, Patricia, demonstrated a strong interest in the arts by supporting a wide variety of related programs at the university. Patricia served as an active volunteer for the art museum, serving in several capacities. Both Sam and Pat were instrumental in the drive to fund the new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU (JSMA), and continue to believe in the museum’s mission.


The Museum of Art/WSU begins reporting directly to the Provost/Academic Vice President after having been a department in the College of Liberal Arts.

From the Archives

March 1 – 27, 1994 Naive Paintings from the National Gallery of Art

35 paintings by both unknown and well-established self-taught artists representing the American past with a variety of subject matters including portraits, landscapes and still-lifes.
On loan from the National Gallery of Art in cooperation with International Exhibitions Foundation.
All work in show donated to the National Gallery of Art by Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.

Lecture/Reception (in conjunction with VPLAC – “Close Encounters: Art and Family” series): “Reality and Illusion: What You See May Be Something Else” Marilyn Ihinger-Tallman, WSU Dept. of Sociology, Mon., Feb. 28, 7:30pm, FA Aud. – reception following

Exhibition poster with an image of an artwork of a boy holding a stick.
Exhibition poster, 1994 (front).
Backside of a white poster with blacktext.
Exhibition Poster, 1994, (back).

Poster Description

In the early nineteenth century, middle-class Americans increasing in affluence turned to artists to record their families, children, homes and land for posterity. Erastus Salisbury Field, Joshua Johnson, Ammi Phillips, and William Mathew Prior are maong the many “naïve” painters in this exhibition—so-called because their self-taught style deviates from the classical mainstream and has a freshness of vision and strength of design. Portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes are included in this representation of the American past. All paintings are on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.

On March 7th, Fred Wilson, nationally acclaimed installation artist and art educator, will present the 20th Friel lecture. John Mathews Friel Memorial Art Lecture.


Contemporary prints by a number of artists donated to the WSU Museum of Art by alumnus Sean Elwood. Donated in honor of his parents, Karen and John Elwood, both former faculty members in the WSU Department of English and his daughter Shannon.

Clearly Art: Pilchuck’s Glass Legacy was organized by the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, WA, curated by Lloyd Herman who also wrote an illustrated 80-page catalog for the exhibit. The exhibition traced the history of Washington state’s famed Pilchuck School over the past 25 years. The show included eighty objects by 66 glass artists.

The Robert J. and Joan W. Jarvis Endowment supports education and educational programming to further appreciation for the arts.

In 1938, three young women spent six months traveling by bicycle through Europe. It was the eve of World War II, and Joan Jarvis and her two good friends saw everything from monasteries to art museums, as well as evidence of the coming war. Returning to Washington, Joan gave some 100 speeches on her travels before marrying Bob Jarvis, whom she had met as a student at Washington State College. Both earned degrees in 1937; Joan in English, and Bob in electrical engineering. “Then the war snapped us up,” said Joan.

Bob served with the 47th Engineers, a battalion of advanced engineers who prepared islands for occupation by American forces. When he returned home in 1945, he and Joan moved to Ephrata, then settled in Spokane. In 1949, their daughter, Constance, was born.

For most of his career, Bob was a partner in Ace Concrete, retiring before continuing to work with Central Pre-Mix. He is now truly retired and working happily for various charities. Joan was a volunteer in her community and served as a docent for the Seattle, Bellevue, and Spokane art museums. Joan’s trip to Europe sparked her love for art history, and she and Bob established the Robert and Joan Jarvis Endowment for the WSU Museum of Art. The fund advances the museum’s mission of educational outreach and will also further appreciation for the arts, sparking interest for generations to come.


William T. McDermitt (1884-1961)
Curated by Melissa Webster, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla, WA. Landscape paintings of the eastern Washington, Oregon, and California. McDermitt was the first head of the art dept. at WSU and a major figure in the arts in Pullman from 1916-1933. The WSU Museum of Art has a number of his pieces in its permanent collection & also borrowed works from a number of places for the show. Museum of Art Publication: Northwest Focus: William T. McDermitt.

From the Archives:

Organized by The Plateau Project – Director Barabara Coddington, Curated by Lynette Miller & Ronald Pond
Work by 17 female tribal tradition bearers from the region & more than 200 loaned artifacts from museum’s and private collections (258 works total) – music, storytelling, weaving, hidework, quill/bead embroidery, doll making, etc. A Song to the Creator catalog (color, 200 pg.’s) was published in 1996 by the University of Oklahoma Press. A traveling version of the Song to the Creator exhibit featuring 18 photographic text panels available for national touring beginning in 1997 (sponsored by Exhibit Touring Services, Eastern Washington University). Native American docents were recuited from the community to help with tours. A display table allowed visitors to touch various materials used in creating the works in the museum. A series of videos dealing with aspects of the show played continuously in the mini-gallery.

This exhibit focuses on women who have kept alive the cultural traditions of their people, creating works of surpassing beauty and spiritual purpose and teaching these art forms to succeeding generations. The objects on display magnificently recreate 100 years of Plateau weaving, hideworking music, storytelling, and the ornamental arts.


From the Archives:

Exhibit organized by Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana
John Buck sculpture on plaza borrowed through the Walla Walla Foundry in Walla Walla, Washington
Deborah Butterfield – Sculpture & John Buck – Sculpture and Woodblock Prints (husband and wife)
Large John Buck sculpture displayed on FA plaza

Poster Description:

Horses have been Deborah Butterfield’s singular subject in her career as a sculptor. She uses found materials, such as twigs and mud, as well as cast bronze in her work. Buck’s monumental sculpture and woodblock prints often include a totemic Everyman figure among their many symbols and graphic surface designs. Exhibition originated by Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana. Made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Carl Weissman and Sons, Inc., Great Falls. Additional support provided by WSU Summer Recreation Committee.

An exhibition poster showing a mixed-media horse made of branches.
Exhibition Poster, 1997.

The endowed fund was established in 1997 with a generous gift from Robert and Virginia Neill, who were longtime Pullman residents and Friends of the art museum. Robert and Virginia Neill took special interest in the museum for its role as a guardian of the artistic history of the university, the region, and the nation.

The Neill Permanent Collection endowment supports funding for the conservation and preservation of the museum’s collection, ensuring the collection’s longevity of service to the public for future generations of learners and art enthusiasts.


The Mildred Bissinger Museum Endowment supports exhibitions, special guest lectures, unique learning opportunities, community involvement, recognition programs, honorarium and/or speaker fees, travel, wages, and benefits for the endowment purposes. Mildred Sherrod Bissinger grew up in Tekoa, Washington, and graduated from Washington State College in 1933 with a B.A. in English. For many years, Mildred maintained a deep interest and loyalty to WSU, supporting several areas of the university, including the Libraries, the Potter Fund, and the Museum of Art.

In her time, Mildred underwrote museum exhibitions, staff development and general operations, and donated many fine prints for the museum’s collection. This endowment is an expression of her sincere belief in the museum and its role in the education of WSU students, and solidified her desire to see the museum flourish in the future. It is also a testimony to her own belief in the arts as vital for life as well as a testimony to her life, lived in enjoyment of the arts.


From the Archives:

Organized by Spelman College, Atlanta, and toured by ExhibitsUSA

Over 60 works of art by 24 artists working in a variety of mediums.

Creation Location: “Collage” Carol Scally, WSU Museum of Art Education Coordinator, an art project for kids to work on & display, area set up for the length of the exhibit.

Back to Timeline

Students pointing at an artwork in the gallery


From the Archives:

September 11 – October 15, 2000

Features previously unexhibited, rare sculptural works from the private collection of this well-known American visionary artist begun in Ireland in the late 1950s and recently completed. They represent a transition that included a collaboration with the NASA Lunar projects in the mid-60s. Organized through the Schmidt-Bingham Gallery in New York, Morris Graves: Instruments for a New Navigation also includes related drawings and paintings on paper from 1940s to 80s on loan from the collections of Bank of America, University of Oregon, and Tacoma Art Museum. Additional support for the exhibition provided by the WSU Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee.


From the Archives:

September 4 – October 14, 2001

A pamphlet from 2001:

Since 1974 the museum of Art at Washington State University has created an enviable record of exhibitions, special events and lectures that has been central to the cultural life of both the University and of the eastern Washington and northern Idaho community. In addition the Museum has developed a Permanent Collection of art which has grown over the years to include more than 2000 works, many by contemporary artists of the northwest.
In this new millennium the Museum of Art is expanding its educational outreach to schools and communities in the Palouse, and also plans to provide space to host social events for University departments and other organizations which meet on campus. We are positioning ourselves to be the cultural meeting place for all the members of the University community.

Our first exhibition of the 2001-2002 season The Raw and the Cooked* consists of objects from the many museums and collections around the University. We want to widen the definition of art (and collecting) so that viewers can, in one place, share the excitement and beauty of the things that in our academic world are usually kept in separate boxes. Our reference point was the 17th century “cabinet of curiosities” (Wunderkammer) …collections of unfamiliar objects brought back by early European explorers…fossils, carvings, strange plants, stuffed mermaids, unicorn horns and unfamiliar animals…the ancestor of our contemporary museums.

There are many people to thanks for The Raw and the Cooked: the Museum staff for their willingness to indulge a new Director and to work together on very short notice on the exhibition’ the curators and directors of the museums and collections on the campus who have been willing lenders and enthusiastic supporters of this project; Roger Rowley and Amy Mooney for their insightful essays; the Friends of the Museum of Art as well as private donors; the Office of University Publications and Printing, and Delphine Keim-Campbell and William Wise for the catalog design.

The new motto of Washington State University is “World Class, Face to Face.” What better place to have that experience than at the Museum of Art where the visitor can literally stand face to face with the world class art on display.

We hope to see you here.
Ross Coates
Interim Director

*If you are quite curious about the title, search under Claude Levi-Strauss


From the Archives:

This exhibition from the exceptional Schnitzer collections highlights work by international recognized artists working with multiples from 1997 to 2001. “Multiples” covers a host of different media that by their very nature have some relationship to issues of production and popular culture. Though mostly different forms of prints, from lithographs to aquatints and silkscreens, the exhibition also includes a grocery sack, a marble bench and an inflatable sculpture. The exhibition consists of 54 works created in the last 5 years by 23 artists of international, national, and regional reputation including Louise Bourgeois, Chuck Close, Robert Colescott, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, Kiki Smith and Kara Walker among others. The exhibition was organized by The Art Gym, Marylhurst University and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University.

A dark colored poster with a cactus and a jar.
Exhibition Poster (front), 2002
Back of a white poster with black text.
Exhibition Poster (Back), 2002.


From the Archives:

Art in 2 Worlds: The Native American Fine Art Invitational 1983-1997 celebrates the creativity and innovation of Native American artists by bringing together fifty-two works by forty-eight Native American artists from the Heard Museum’s (Phoenix, AZ) seven invitational exhibitions from 1983 to 1997. Working in a variety of media, including oil and acrylic paint, watercolor, pastel, sculpture, ceramics, lithography, etching, serigraphy, and mixed media, the forty-eight artists represented in this exhibition shatter stereotypes of Indian art and afford viewers the opportunity to expand their understanding and gain insight into the Native American Fine Art Movement. The artists in Art in 2 Worlds bring to their work a wide array of backgrounds, cultures, and worldviews. Blake Debassige says about his work, “I feel that I am still carrying on a tradition of picture writing, using art as the way of making a statement. The whole thing is a way of communicating to the world.”

Poster with image of a person's face.
Exhibition Poster (Front), 2003.
Backside of a white poster with black text.
Exhibition Poster (Back), 2003.

Poster Description

Organized by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ., the exhibit showcases 52 works by 48 artists, from around the U.S. and Canada. The Annual Invitational has sought to recognize artists who produce artwork that does not conform to the more traditional anthropological approach to Indian art, but rather create art that explores new technologies and media as contemporary expressions of living cultures.

From the Archives:

Richard Weisman grew up in a family dedicated to art. Living in New York in the 1970s, he collected some of the most important names in art and traveled in Andy Warhol’s circle of friends. Weisman will speak on his experiences, do a signing of his book Picasso to Pop, and meet with students. In 1979, Weisman commissioned Warhol to create his well known Athletes Series, in which the artist photographed ten famous athletes of the day, and then made a series of vibrant paintings. The paintings will be on special view at the Museum of Art for five days only, along with Warhol’s landmark Campbell’s Soup print & Self-Portrait, also from the Weisman collection. Included will be an Andy Warhol self-portrait loaned by Derald Long of Spokane, WA & Andy Warhol selections from the WSU Museum of Art Permanent Collection.


From the Archives:

A wide-ranging grouping of 88 contemporary works of art, dated 1948-2002 by 23 internationally acclaimed artists. The exhibition explores the question, “What does cool look like?” Utilizing one of the great modern and contemporary art collections in America (Bagley & Virginia Wright, Seattle, WA), Museum of Art director, Chris Bruce, has assembled a presentation of cool as a series of visual attitudes ranging from Minimalism to Pop. Among the artists included: David Hammons, Damien Hirst, Barnett Newman, Gerhardt Richter, Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol.

Bold text reads 3DC on a collage poster.
Exhibition Poster (Front), 2004.
Backside of a white poster with black text.
Exhibition Poster (Back), 2004.

Poster Description

By utilizing one of the great collections of modern and contemporary art in America, that of Virginia and Bagley Wright, this exhibit presents “cool” as a series of visual attitudes ranging from Minimalism to Pop.


  • Peter Alexander
  • Larry Bell
  • Mary Corse
  • Jim Dine
  • Robert Frank
  • Robert Gober
  • David Hammons
  • Damien Hirst
  • Alex Katz
  • Agnes Martin
  • John McCraken
  • Arnett Newman
  • Jules Olitski
  • Larry Poons
  • Gerhard Richter
  • Susan Rothenberg
  • Ed Ruscha
  • Robert Ryman
  • Julian Schnabel
  • Richard Serra
  • Cy Twombly
  • Andy Warhol
  • William Wood

From the Archives:

Founded in 1980 by Mark Anderson, the Foundry has become one of the most prominent fine art bronze casting facilities in the United States. The exhibit will present a history of the Foundry with a special focus on the work of Jim Dine who has been a significant force in international art for over four decades. The exhibit will present large-scale sculpture made at the Walla Walla Foundry between 1983 and 2004 by this legendary artist. Jim Dine’s works will be placed in the Museum (lent by PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York, New York) and on campus grounds in the Museum’s “neighborhood” (Vet lawns, FA Plaza, etc.), not to mention, other major sculptures cast at Walla Walla will be sited on twelve prominent campus locations by the following artists: Terry Allen, Robert Arneson, Frank Boyden, John Buck, Deborah Butterfield, Marilyn Lyoshir, Tom Otterness, Brad Rude.

A historical book on the Foundry, the artists involved with the Foundry, and the WSU/Foundry project was published with exhibit: Extending the Artist’s Hand, Sculpture from the Walla Walla Foundry

The Campus Arts Committee decided to purchase the John Buck, the Jim Dine, and the Brad Rude pieces for permanent display on campus.

Marian E. Smith Glass Collection is housed in the Samuel E. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education. This collection is on permanent display for students, faculty, staff and visitors to enjoy during their daily activities on the Pullman campus. Initiated with a generous donation from Marian Smith, the collection highlights many of the most influential glass artists of the Pacific Northwest. WSU alumni, Roger and Nancy MacPherson and WSU President Emeritus Samuel E. Smith and Patricia Smith, made significant contributions to fund the permanent installation.

Cover of Extending the Artist's Hand book
Extending the Artist’s Hand: Contemporary Sculpture from the Walla Walla Foundry, 2004.

Extending The Artist’s Hand: Contemporary Sculpture from Walla Walla Foundry

With full color photography and informative text, Extending the Artist’s Hand celebrates the collaboration between artist and technician, explores the fascinating journey of metal sculpture from initial concept to final installation, and documents the history and achievements of the Walla Walla Foundry.

Published October 2004 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and WSU Press, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Extending the Artist’s Hand: Contemporary Sculpture from Walla Walla Foundry

With full color photography and informative text, Extending the Artist’s Hand celebrates the collaboration between artist and technician, explores the fascinating journey of metal sculpture from initial concept to final installation, and documents the history and achievements of the Walla Walla Foundry.

Published October 2004 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and WSU Press, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


From the Archives:

Roy Lichtenstein Prints 1956-97 From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

This exhibition would go on to travel to seven museums in seven different states.

The retrospective included 76 prints by the late Pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein, covering the period from his first proto-Pop image in 1956, to the print he was working on at the time of his death in 1997.  All works are from the vast collection of the Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation.  Roy Lichtenstein Prints 1956-97 will travel to a number of other venues after leaving Pullman: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, Eugene; Las Vegas Museum of Art; Palm Springs Art Museum; and Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Poster Description:

An exhibition poster with a pop-art graphic of an explosion.
Exhibition Poster, 2005.

From the Archives:

Cover of Lichtenstein Book with print.
Roy Lichtenstein Prints 1956-97, From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, 2005.

Produced by the Museum of Art/WSU and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation through Marquand Books of Seattle, the publication takes an in-depth look at the seventy-six Lichtenstein prints that were on display in the exhibit.  Accompanying essays by Elizabeth Brown, Chief Curator of the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, Chris Bruce, Museum of Art Director, and MacArthur award winning writer Dave Hickey, offer an introduction to Lichtenstein’s work as well as fresh perspectives on his lasting impact on Pop art and beyond.


From the Archives:

The decades of the 1950s and 1960s saw a series of radical changes in art and society. This exhibit presents world-class examples of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Pop Art, along with exhibits that provide a context of the life and times of the art works. Artists include Mark Rothko, Willem deKooning, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Alexander Calder, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The Publication

Cover of Art and Context book
Art & Context: The 50s and 60s, 2006.

Art & Context: The ’50s and ’60s

Prior to the 1960s, art objects were viewed as wholly distinct from non-art. But by mid-decade, that perspective was being challenged by artists. Art and Context examines how art relates to a society bombarded by advertising while also in the midst of a cultural revolution.

Published December 2006 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and WSU Press, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

In the News: Art museum to feature artists from the ’50s and ’60s

August 24, 2006

Museum of Art Director, Chris Bruce said, “This exhibition is a special opportunity for our community to experience some of the building blocks of contemporary art – 16 works by some of the most significant artists of the time, representing the four primary styles of the ‘50s and ‘60s: Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Pop and Minimalism. It is from the strength of their work that succeeding generations of artists were provided a distinct array of options of what art could look like and what content it could hold.”


The Robert A. and Winona P. Nilan Endowment for the Director’s Fund for Excellence supports learning, enjoyment, and excellence in all projects central to the mission of the museum. Projects may include exhibitions, educational programming, and art acquisition.

Robert A. and Winona P. Nilan supported the museum for many years. They created the Director’s Fund for Excellence as commitment to the museum’s historic vision of “a place where people of diverse backgrounds can encounter exceptional examples of innovation and creativity within a context that fosters understanding and inspiration.”

The fund’s creation recognized that some of the most profound experiences arise outside normal scheduling practices, fueling support for opportunistic thinking and flexibility to seize opportunities beyond the scope of long-term planning. Such opportunities are defined as exceptional, world-class, and uniquely nurturing to WSU values and community engagement.

From the Archives

Book Cover for Gaylen Hansen.
Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Paintings, 2007.

Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Paintings

Gaylen Hansen: Three Decades of Paintings brings together more than 70 works spanning 30 years of this remarkable artist’s development. This survey exhibition and illustrated catalogue present an artist of great talent and emotional range, following a deeply American eccentric tradition.

Published October 2007 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and WSU Press, Washington State University, Pullman WA.


The Publication

Book cover showing an artwork of a child-like dress garment.
Sherry Markovitz: Shimmer–Paintings and Sculptures, 1979-2007, 2008.

Sherry Markovitz: Shimmer – Paintings and Sculptures 1979-2007

This book brings together forty-two works spanning nearly three decades of Seattle artist Sherry Markovitz’s remarkable development. Through highly informative and engaging essays as well as the artist’s own commentaries, Sherry Markovitz: Shimmer provides the defining statement on this unique artist and her captivating work.

Published February 2008 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and University of Washington Press, Seattle WA.

The Buy-A-Bus program supports funding for school buses, drivers, and travel expenses for grades K-8 from 16 surrounding counties.

Eugene Rosa created the Buy-A-Busload-of-Kids endowment in honor of his parents, “who though of meager education, held education as one of their highest values.” Eugene Rosa was an environmental sociologist who continuously contributed to Washington State University, and the local community. Rosa’s career was focused on understanding the relationships between technology, the environment, and the social world. As an artist, Rosa created “ecolages,” by re-purposing abandoned objects, and furthered his appreciation of the arts by connecting with the Museum of Art at Washington State University. Eugene Rosa, who passed away in 2013, frequently visited the art museum.

Many people find art, especially abstract or provocative art, intimidating. This may even be more true of those who, by virtue of rural residence, have little or no exposure to the great museums clustered and distanced from them in urban areas.

Eugene Rosa

Learn more about the Buy A Bus program and our work today.

In 2008, the Museum of Art was awarded a gift of over 100 original Polaroid photographs and 50 silver gelatin prints by Andy Warhol from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. A second gift of original Warhol screen-prints was accepted in 2013 from the foundation expanding the scope of work from this famous American artist.


From the Archives

Exhibition Dates: January 14- April 4, 2009

The exhibition, organized by the Museum of Art/WSU, is the first comprehensive presentation of this internationally-known artist’s work, and will travel nationally. It will focus on Jordan’s recent body of works, Running the Numbers (2006-present), and will also include examples of the previous series of straight, documentary photographs, Intolerable Beauty (2003-05).

The Publication

Book cover showing photo of thousands of bottles.
Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait, 2009.

Chris Jordan: Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait

Published April 2009 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and Prestel Publishing, Munich/Berlin/London/New York. Won first prize in the book category of the 2009 American Association of Museums.

Museum of Art presents “Running the Numbers”

December 17, 2008
In 2006, Jordan began a series of digital photographs that present contemporary American culture via statistics regarding American excess. Each image portrays a specific quantity of consumption or cultural value: two million plastic beverage bottles (the number used in the U.S. every five minutes); 426,000 cell phones (the number retired every day); 2.3 million orange prison uniforms (the number of Americans incarcerated annually).

Back to Timeline

Past director and Jim Dine smile and lift a print off a printing press
A new building came to fruition by 2018, marking a tremendous transition for the university art museum.


Carol E. Gordon and Mary Lou Enberg both retired from the WSU Department of Physical Education for Women in 1983. Upon retiring, they spent much of their time traveling and collecting art. They especially loved visiting galleries in Santa Fe and San Francisco, where they purchased many of their favorite pieces. In 2008, Mary Lou sadly passed away. To honor their long friendship and love of art, and to extend and perpetuate the joy this brought to their lives, Carol decided to set up a fund with the art museum which will is used to acquire and maintain art for the museum’s permanent collection. This fund extends Carol and Mary Lou’s personal passion for collecting art, honoring their friendship and sharing it with the greater community.

Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Company spent 35 years building an art collection focused to enrich the working environment for its employees, make connections in the community, and to support emerging and mid-career Pacific Northwest artists. The Safeco Collection grew to be one of the leading corporate art collections in America by the time Liberty Mutual Insurance acquired the company in 2008.

Electing to reduce its art holdings, Liberty Mutual partnered with the Washington Art Consortium in 2009 to preserve in Washington 840 works from the Safeco Collection’s Northwest portfolio. Curators from the Consortium’s seven member museums collaborated to strategically distribute works, deepening and expanding each member’s collection of Northwest art.


From the Archives

September 30-December 10, 2011

The Museum of Art/WSU is proud to present a career overview of one of the Northwest’s most significant architects, Jim Olson. Learn more in our Exhibitions Archive

In the News: Museum of Art creates architect retrospective

September 14, 2011
The first comprehensive retrospective of the 45-year career of Northwest architect Jim Olson will be on exhibit at the Washington State University Museum of Art Sept. 30-Dec. 10. A reception will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the museum gallery, followed by a lecture by Olson at 7 p.m. in the CUB auditorium.


From the Archives

September 28-December 15, 2012

This exhibition celebrates a unique and under-recognized collection of prints and drawings made between 1945 and 1975, by 48 of the most important American artists of the period. Learn more in our exhibitions archive.

White book cover with a banner of black brush strokes.
The Artist’s Hand: American Works on Paper 1945 – 1975 From the Washington Art Consortium Collection.

The Artist’s Hand celebrates the Washington Art Consortium’s collection of American prints and drawings, with ninety-seven works and biographies of the fifty-two artists―among them Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jo Baer, Myron S. Stout, Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol.

Published in October 2012 – Distributed by JSMA WSU and WSU Press, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Donated by Robert and Shaké Sarkis, the Museum of Art received a gift of work by late Northwest artist Robert Helm consisting of 82 works on paper created between 1975 and 1999. One of the Northwest’s most acclaimed artists, Helm was born in Wallace, Idaho and earned his MFA degree at WSU in 1969. He taught at the University of Colorado before returning to teach at WSU 1971-84. Helm and his wife Tammy continued to live and work in their studios between Pullman and Moscow until he passed away in 2008.


From the Archives

Exhibition Dates: September 20 – December 14, 2013

This exhibit pairs two of the most influential and complex artists in the Pop art genre, with a selection of prints that spans each artist’s career.

So, two Pop artists – one East Coast, the other West Coast; one “hot,” the other “cool.” Both James Rosenquist and Ed Ruscha grew up in the midwest in the 1940s, but Rosenquist went to New York (from Minnesota) and Ruscha went to Los Angeles (from Oklahoma).

Both artists worked as commercial artists early in their careers: Rosenquist was a billboard painter; Ruscha a layout artist for an advertising agency. Both artists reveled in the mind-opening poetics of ordinary everyday imagery: Rosenquist in his wild smash-ups of seemingly disjointed imagery; Ruscha in his use of words as image.

You could say that Rosenquist expressed the intense compression of imagery he encountered in New York, while Ruscha responded to the more isolated, horizontal and open spaces of Southern California.

Both artists have made prints in parallel to their paintings, throughout their long careers.

All works in the exhibition come from the vast collection of contemporary prints and multiples from Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. We are grateful for his passion for art and his generous loans so our audience can experience such a wide range of work by these two modern masters.

Patron donates $5million for new WSU Museum of Art

Schnitzer said his contribution reflects his fundamental belief that the arts reflect the highest ideals of our society. “Every person, especially young people, must have the opportunity to experience the arts as part of their lives. What better place to help further that goal than our college campuses?”


From the Archives

Exhibition: September 19 — December 13, 2014
Reception: Thursday, September 18, 6:00 p.m., Museum of Art/WSU
Lecture: (Roger Shimomura) September 18, 7 p.m., Fine Arts Auditorium

A survey exhibition of the work of Lawrence, Kansas-based artist, Roger Shimomura, whose paintings and prints address sociopolitical issues of Asian America. He does this through a painting style that combines his childhood interest in comic books, American Pop Art and traditions of Japanese woodblock prints, thereby evoking his Japanese ancestry while locating him firmly within modern American artistic developments.

The Publication

Blue book cover showing a drawing of a man with a yellow hat.
Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff, 2010. WSU Press.

For four decades Roger Shimomura’s paintings, prints and theater pieces have addressed artistic forms and sociopolitical issues of Asian America. This publication was produced by Museum of Art and WSU Press. Introduction by Chris Bruce, and essay and interview by Anne Collins Goodyear.

Sept. 18 Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff

The Kansas-based artist’s paintings and prints address sociopolitical issues of Asian America.  He does this through a painting style that combines his childhood interest in comic books, American Pop Art and traditions of Japanese woodblock prints, thereby evoking his Japanese ancestry while locating him firmly within modern American artistic developments.

In 2014, the Museum of Art received an unprecedented gift of more than 200 fine art prints from internationally acclaimed artist Jim Dine. The gift—valued at nearly $2 million—created the largest permanent collection of Dine prints at a university in the world. Gifted in honor of art patron Jordan D. Schnitzer, the donation was intended as a stimulus to the campaign for a new museum building on the Pullman campus.


From the Archives

Exhibition: January 12 – April 3, MOA Gallery
Reception: Thursday, January 22, 6-8 pm, Featuring Dennis DeHart, MOA Gallery

The Washington State University Museum of Art is proud to present two distinct exhibitions in Through the Lens: An American Century – Corbis & Vivian Maier, which explore the personal and public uses of photography featuring some of the most famous images in history and – with a recent discovery – the most private. The exhibition opens January 12, 2015 and runs through April 3, 2015.

A public reception will be held 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 22, in the Museum of Art/WSU gallery with a talk, “What makes a lasting image”, given by photography professor Dennis DeHart. An additional public reception will be held 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Museum of Art/WSU gallery with a talk given by art historian Marianne Kinkel before the documentary screening of the film Finding Vivian Maier at 7 pm in the CUB Auditorium.

This exhibit also features emerging student photographers from across the country. Students use their cameras as a vehicle to create portraits of our nuanced communities while simultaneously posing the question, “What constitutes a lasting and meaningful image?”

Corbis: From the Collection of Tony and Leslie Rojas

Since its founding, Corbis has collected hundreds of thousands of photographs that represent great and small moments throughout history.  Here we showcase a selection of 32 iconic photographs through times of war or peace, the first flight at Kitty Hawk and the moon landing, and the quest for civil rights.  Each picture stands as a defining visual moment within a signature event or personality in the 20th century. All works come to us from the Tony and Leslie Rojas Collection of Photography.

Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier was born in 1926 and spent most of a quiet anonymous life in Chicago.  She died in 2009 and left no heirs or family. Unbeknownst to anyone, she did however leave a legacy of brilliant “street photography:” a hundred thousand negatives, thousands of rolls of undeveloped film, in color and black and white, and one hundred and fifty 8-mm. and 16-mm. films.  The images exhibited represent a selection of the photographs that were discovered after her death.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by Tony & Leslie Rojas and Members of the Museum of Art.

From the Archives

EXHIBITION: October 2 – December 12, 2015
RECEPTION/GALLERY TALK: 10/1, 6-8pm, Talk at 7pm, MOA/WSU Gallery

Jim Dine entered the New York art world to great acclaim with his performance art “Happenings” and mixed media assemblages in the late 1950s. Although identified among the first generation of Pop artists, Dine’s work has always been independent of labels. His signature images of hearts, tools and bathrobes suggested popular culture references, but in his hands they became opportunities for a strong romantic, expressionist sensibility. Over time he expanded the realm of imagery to embrace classic and mythic themes, along with figurative work and portraiture.

Dine is one of those rare artists who has been active as a creative printmaker throughout his career and for whom prints are artistically equal to, and closely interact with his other work in painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. In the spring of 2014, Jim Dine donated 201 complete works of art from his personal archives to the Museum of Art at Washington State University, in honor of art patron Jordan D. Schnitzer and as a stimulus to the campaign for a new museum building on the Pullman campus.

Established in 2015, this endowment supports the growth, care, and access to the museum’s permanent collection. The endowment is named in honor of President Ernest O. Holland who was instrumental in establishing the museum’s first collections as well as Regent Charles W. Orton who contributed funds to support Holland’s ambitious collecting efforts at a time when resources were scarce.

Read: Museum Opens Photography Exhibit

The Washington State University Museum of Art is proud to present two distinct exhibitions in Through the Lens: An American Century – Corbis & Vivian Maier, which explore the personal and public uses of photography featuring some of the most famous images in history and – with a recent discovery – the most private. The exhibition opens January 12, 2015 and runs through April 3, 2015...

Through Dec. 12: Jim Dine: A Life in Printmaking

An exhibit of prints by contemporary artist Jim Dine – part of the largest gift of art made to the Washington State University Museum of Art – will run Oct. 2-Dec. 12 at the museum on the Pullman campus. Admission to the show and related events is free.


The Mary Margaret Aiken and Richard Aiken Collection of Late Twentieth Century Works on Paper focuses primarily on American prints created between 1965 and the mid-1990s. Comprised of 24 artworks by 16 artists, the collection includes art by renowned American and international artists. The Aiken Collection serves as a reminder of the legacy left by the Washington Art Consortium (WAC), a unique cooperative of seven museums throughout Washington state. Founded in 1975 by Seattle philanthropist Virginia Wright, she and the WAC member institutions collaborated to build an impressive collection of post-war American works on paper and photography. These foundational collections of 281 works were acquired through the Virginia Wright Fund and a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Although the WAC disbanded in 2017, the artworks are dispersed amongst its member institutions and remain available to the public. Through this process, the Aiken Collection’s ownership and care were transferred to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.


The new museum opens April 6, 2018, welcoming the largest crowd (3,900+ in 3 days) of any building dedication in WSU History.

There were 6 inaugural exhibitions at the opening of the new facility on April 6, 2018.

  • Hearts: Selections from the Jim Dine Print Collection
  • Person(a): Portraiture From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
  • The Death of Buddha: Jeffry Mitchell
  • Companion Species (Underbelly): Marie Watt
  • Video from the True Collection: Wolfgang Staehle, Dara Friedman, Catherine Yass, Anri Sala, Stephen Dean, and Takeshi Murata
  • Ambiente432 An Interactive Sound Sculpture

Established in 2018 by WSU alumnus Sean Elwood, the Yvonne Puffer Collection of Visual Culture, named for Elwood’s wife, includes objects, ephemera, and resource materials.


From the Archives

EXHIBITION: September 18, 2018 – August 10, 2019
Viewer discretion is advised. Memento contains imagery that is sensitive in nature.

ABOUT | memento [muh-men-toh]
1) An object or item that serves to remind one of a person, past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.
2) Anything serving as a reminder or warning.

Memento: Selected Works from the Elwood Collections will be the first chance since the turn of the century to more fully research and exhibit one of the prized collections at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University. Spanning fifty years from 1968 to 2018, the Sean Elwood Collections total over 300 objects across three distinct groupings. Originally established through a single donation of prints, the Sean Elwood Collections has grown to include examples 20thand 21stcentury photography, drawings, video, documentation, and cultural ephemera. Highlights include works by renowned Northwest artists such as Fay Jones, Michael Spafford and Jacob Lawrence, as well as by artists known nationally and internationally, such as Robert Mangold, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Organized thematically, the exhibition will offer reflections on key content areas such as minimalist gestures, performative works, non-normative narratives, as well as social satire and justice.

WSU alumnus Sean Elwood began donating contemporary prints in 1987 in dedication to his parents Karen and John Elwood—both of whom were members of the Washington State University faculty. The early collection features works by artists from outside the state of Washington. A second collection was later established featuring artists living in Washington State and named to honor Elwood’s daughter, Shannon Strother Elwood. The third and final collection of art includes ephemera, resource materials, and objects related to visual culture, and named in honor of Elwood’s wife, Yvonne Puffer.

In 2017, Sean Elwood retired from the Creative Capital Foundation (NYC) where he served for over 17 years as Director of Programs & Initiatives. Prior to Creative Capital, Elwood served in various roles including: curator & art collection manager for the City of Seattle; Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs; director of special projects at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts; and manager of the artist residency program at Centrum Foundation. He founded Sean Elwood Fine Arts, SEEDITIONS Art Publishing Company and was co-founder of Fuller/Elwood Gallery in Seattle. Once retired, Elwood launched Sean Elwood Creative Projects, to assist individuals, businesses and organizations with the management of creative careers, collections, estates and program design. He also formed The Artist’s Estates Foundation to help support artists in all disciplines and allow the arts community to facilitate the creation of new artworks. Throughout his career, Elwood has periodically curated exhibitions, published limited edition artworks, served on multiple art and artist residency selection committees and he has written about, spoken about, collected and donated artworks.

Sean Elwood holds a BA in Fine Arts (Washington State University), and an MA in Visual Arts (Hunter College, New York), and continues to occasionally make artworks under an assumed name.

From the Archives

2019 | Polly Apfelbaum: Frequently the Woods are Pink, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

EXHIBITION | August 27, 2019 – March 14, 2020
Creighton Gallery, Bruce/Floyd Gallery, Borth Gallery, Smith Gallery
Artist Lecture | September 4, 4-5 pm, CUB Auditorium, Reception | 5-6 pm, Museum Gallery

Polly Apfelbaum: Frequently the Woods are Pink, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation features unique prints of extraordinary complexity from this renowned American artist. Apfelbaum creates worlds of visual wonderment. The artist’s maximalist aesthetic posits a startling idea: Beauty, exuberance, and chromatic energy are conduits to social unity. Her works convey a welcoming space where juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous colors and patterns find shared equilibrium hinting at a society in peace.

Marking the artist’s first survey exhibition dedicated solely to her ambitious printmaking practice, more than 60 works on paper have been selected between the years 2004 and 2018. The exhibition will highlight a wide-range of Apfelbaum’s printmaking methods with a collection of one-of-a-kind monoprints taking center stage. Her recent Atomic series arose from a process similar to that of her installation works, such as her “fallen paintings” consisting of many dyed fabric components the artist arranges in situ on the floor. Relatedly, these kaleidoscopic print works were created with assistants at Durham Press who inked hundreds of woodblocks in assorted colors and patterns. The artist then spontaneously placed the blocks in printing jigs to explore different color combinations and compositions. Created quickly, each monoprint serves as a kind of printed sketch, revealing unexpected moments of variation and fluidity.

Apfelbaum has been active since the mid-1980s and is best known for her expansive polychromatic floor-based installations residing somewhere between painting and sculpture. The artist has deployed a wide variety of media—including fabric, paint, dyes, wallpaper, and ceramics—materials traditionally associated with craft and domesticity. Influenced early in her career by artists Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Jackson Pollock; Apfelbaum’s sensibility incorporates energy, playfulness, and wit, as well as her love of popular culture and affirmative view of femininity.

Apfelbaum has mounted nearly 60 solo exhibitions worldwide and has participated in hundreds of group exhibitions. Her work is in numerous permanent collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Dallas Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern of Art, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1987, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993, an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 1995, an Anonymous Was a Woman Award in 1998, a Richard Diebenkorn Fellowship in 1999, a Joan Mitchell Fellowship in 1999, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002, the Rome Prize in 2012, and a Creative Capitol Award in 2019. The artist resides and works in New York City.

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Artist Jeffrey Gibson in front of a patterned wallpaper wall.
Flourishing in the face of adversity, the museum transitioned to virtual programs, before returning to in-person engagement.


Tour this Exhibition Virtually

From the Archives

EXHIBITION | May 26, 2020 – February 12, 2021

“I was too much the farmer’s daughter, in a sense. You know, that marvelous dirt out there that gets turned over with a plow and getting my hands dirty was the thing that turned me on.”

ABOUT | Betty Feves: The Earth Itself presents loaned and promised works by significant yet under-recognized artist Betty Whiteman Feves (1918–1985). Feves belongs to a generation of groundbreaking artists who expanded the use of clay in art. Featuring a wide-range of art from across Feves’ career, the exhibition will include early figurative and architectural forms, functional wares, bonfire pots, and large-scale sculpture. An advocate for living locally throughout her lifetime, Feves was committed to relentless experimentation with regionally-sourced materials. She created her own clay bodies and glazes from her immediate environment and the geology of the Columbia Basin provided a lifelong reservoir of inspiration. Her work continues to be exhibited nationally and internationally, and set the stage for clay to become the expressive medium it is today.

Born into a La Crosse, Washington wheat-farming family, Feves studied art at Washington State College (now WSU) in the late 1930s under the tutelage of a young Clyfford Still, a soon-to-be leading Abstract Expressionist. She spent the early 1940s in New York attending the Art Students League and completing an MA in Art Education at Columbia University. Feves then chose to live, work, and raise her four children in Pendleton, Oregon where she remained the next 40 years. She mentored numerous young artists and advocated for the arts in education by serving on the Pendleton school board as well as the State Board for Higher Education. In 1977, Feves was one of the first recipients of the Governor’s Arts Award for the State of Oregon, for which she was recognized for both art and music.

Funding for this exhibition is provided by Alan and Laurie Feves, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, Patrick and Elizabeth Siler, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art reports to the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office as part of the One WSU Strategic Plan.


From the Archives

Keiko Hara’s exploration of her relationship to her surrounding environment has been continually formulated through the artist’s ongoing series titled, Topophilia. Meaning “a strong love of place,” the term topophilia, with its connection to humanistic geography, also represents a universal desire to hold onto ephemeral moments of beauty and sadness as related to conceptions of place—even if unattainable. This mini-survey exhibition chronicles Hara’s unwavering commitment to painting and her unique form of Japanese woodblock printmaking, over a 40-year period. Her abstract compositions are at once immensely sensitive yet executed in vibrant color with references to water, fire, skies, and verdant lands, offering rich metaphorical imagery. Hara’s longtime home in Walla Walla, Washington, situated in an expansive valley flanked by the Blue Mountains, figures centrally within her work as does a more internal investigation into the poetics of space. Tactility of things, their reference to nature, and how we perceive, feel, and understand the universe that we inhabit are all conditions of Hara’s visual enterprise.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU and curated by Ryan Hardesty. Funding is provided by Ainslie and Keith Peoples, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, Nancy Spitzer, the Walla Walla Foundry, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

The Publication

Book cover with blue abstraction print.
Keiko Hara: Four Decades of Paintings and Prints, 2022.

Keiko Hara offers a detailed exploration of the artist’s unwavering commitment to painting and her unique form of Japanese woodblock printmaking. Separated from her cultural surroundings in Japan, memory and longing became overarching themes. Rich with metaphorical imagery, her visual universe encompasses and investigates the poetics of space.

Published in 2022 – Distributed by the JSMA WSU and WSU Press

Established in 2022, the Timothy Bradbury Collection is comprised of over 80 photographs from modern and contemporary practitioners of lens-based image making. The collection includes many of the twentieth century’s most foundational photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Minor White.

Read: Schnitzer Museum announces naming gift from Patricia W. and Samuel H. Smith

Washington State University’s art museum is one step closer to creating a collection classroom on the Pullman campus, thanks to a $52,500 gift by Patricia W. and Samuel H. Smith to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU. The Smiths’ donation funds the construction and equipment needed to create the collection classroom, a special learning space within the home of WSU’s permanent art collection


From the Archives

Exhibition: August 22, 2023 – March 9, 2024

Jeffrey Gibson asks us to co-envision a future and to move toward it. Ceaselessly prioritizing collective imagination as a tool toward manifestation and realization, the artist has stated, “Don’t accept the circumstances you are in; acknowledge that you are in them and then find a future.” Gibson’s form of hard-earned optimism evokes a time frame that unites and collapses past, present, and future into a flowing and responsive mindset, rooted in the belief that a critical engagement with the past can help us shape a brighter horizon.

This major exhibition is devoted to one of today’s foremost artists, whose vibrant interdisciplinary practice combines sculpture and painting, beadwork and video, words and images, incorporating rawhide, tipi poles, sterling silver, wool blankets, jingles, fringe, and sinew—materials that refer to American Indian cultures toward the adornment of quotidian objects such as punching bags, flags, banners, and illuminated signs. Gibson, who is of Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, combines aspects of Indigenous art and culture with modernist traditions, navigating and disrupting the expectations placed upon Native artists working within the contemporary art world. At the root of his enterprise lies a core value—objects, and people alike, carry the potential for radical transformation.

Exclusively curated from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, They Teach Love presents a sweeping survey of over 35 objects across a span of fifteen years. Beginning with examples of the artist’s earliest engagements with printmaking, our exhibition proceeds to include photography, painting, and sculpture, as well as recent forms that express his foray into performance, installation, and video, as well as contemporary adornment in fashion. The latter direction is reflective of intertribal powwows as well as the dance clubs where Gibson found safe spaces as a teenager.

The exhibition’s centerpiece is an expansive and immersive work titled To Name An Other which is comprised of 51 screen printed elk hide drums and 50 wearable garments. Originally commissioned as a performance by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in 2019, To Name An Other marks a turning point in the artist’s career whereby Gibson has increasingly sought out collective-based projects and performances to activate the communities he works within. This idea is especially appropriate when considering Jeffrey Gibson’s work, as he pushes to create affinity—collaboration is at the heart of his recent social practice. Working and learning together may aid to decolonize our minds and institutions, revealing a future we wish to inhabit.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Support for this exhibition and related programs has been made possible by a grant from Jordan Schnitzer and The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation. Additional funding for this exhibition has been provided by the David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, the WSU Pullman Office of the Chancellor, Nancy Spitzer, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, and friends of the museum.

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Today and the Future

As we look back at the art that has adorned our walls and the extraordinary exhibitions that have graced our galleries, we are moved by the collective dedication that has shaped this institution over the past five decades. The esteemed staff has woven a narrative of awe, wonder, and curiosity through more than 390 curated exhibitions. Their hard work has opened our doors to thousands of visitors who have found inspiration within our galleries, embodying the spirit of creativity and passion that fuels our mission.

Today, we see not just a snapshot of the past and present, but a vision of the future—one filled with boundless potential, innovation, and continued commitment to the transformative impact of art. Through our staff, volunteers, community members, donors, and our visitors, we will continue to fulfil our mission of inspiring, engaging, and educating diverse audiences through the power of art.

museum staff photo