Systems of Viewing

Tue, Jul 2, 2019 through Sat, Oct 5, 2019

Exhibition will close August 18 - September 25, then reopen September 26 - October 5.

“Modern art, involved as it is with abstract languages of form and with systems of viewing that are withdrawn from literal projections of reality, has been particularly dependent on the medium of drawing.” This observation by the art historian Rosalind Krauss lays the ground for her thorough 1976 essay on Western Gallery's American Works on Paper collection. Here she found quintessential works representing major movements of postwar American art, which allowed her to explore these systems of viewing and trace their changes. This exhibition follows and summarizes Krauss’ analyses. 

The collection American Works on Paper (1945-1975) was assembled in 1976 by the art collector Virginia Wright, with expert advice from the legendary art dealer Richard Bellamy. A group of seven museums, the Washington Art Consortium, was formed to maintain and exhibit the works but the collection was gifted to the Western Washington University in 2017, when the Consortium disbanded. The collection offers a survey of postwar American art through 97 works by 48 artists. A visionary art patron, Ms. Wright has also given Western many of the sculptures on campus and supported the acquisition of others.


Josef Albers, Richard Artschwager, Jo Baer, Willem de Kooning, Walter De Maria, Jim Dine, Dan Flavin, Philip Guston, Michael Heizer, Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, John Graham, Al Held, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Claes Oldenburg, Alfred Leslie, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Philip Pearlstein, Jackson Pollock, Larry Poons, Robert Motherwell, Bruce Nauman, Barnett Newman, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Jules Olitski, Dan Christensen, Helen Frankenthaler,  Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Mark Rothko, Robert Ryman, George Segal, Richard Serra, David Smith, Frank Stella, Myron Stout, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol.

Events and exhibitions are free and open to the public unless stated otherwise. Visitor information