Modern to Contemporary

The contemporary collection, with works by Barbara Kruger, Sam Gilliam, James Surls, and Elizabeth Murray, is continually growing with recent additions by artists such as Tim Rollins, Donald Sultan, Red Grooms, Nam June Paik, Roger Brown, Chakaia Booker, and Whitfield Lovell. The museum's holdings are enhanced by the long-term loan of the Fogelman collection of contemporary art with works by Deborah Butterfield, Frank Stella, Laurie Simmons, Cindy Sherman, and Kenneth Noland. The gift of the AutoZone Collection has significantly increased the scope of the museum's regional artwork and includes works by William Edmondson, John Buck, Carroll Cloar, Burton Callicott, and Ida Kohlmeyer. The museum also has begun acquiring works by self-taught artists, including Purvis Young and Edwin Jeffery.


Nam June Paik
South Korean, b. 1932
Vide-O-belisk, 2002
Vintage television cabinets, neon elements, and video
Commissioned by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; funds provided by the Morrie A. Moss Acquisition Fund, the Hohenberg Foundation, Wil and Sally Hergenrader, and the Bodine Company
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

click here for the The Paik Sessions – Music for the Vide-O-Belisk Compilation

Arthur B. Davies, American, 1862-1928
Forest Bathers, ca. 1910
Oil on canvas
20 1/4" x 42 1/8"
Eugenia Buxton Whitnel Funds 73.20
Copyright Estate of Arthur B. Davies

Carroll Cloar, American, 1913-1993
Where the Southern Cross the Yellow Dog, 1965
Casein tempera on masonite
23" x 33 3/4"
Brooks Fine Arts Foundation purchase 65.17
Copyright Estate of Carroll Cloar

James Surls, American, b. 1943
Me, The Dragon and The Sword, 1982
Wood: Live oak and maple
73" x 29 1/2" x 34"
Gift of Art Today, purchased with matching funds from the National
Endowment for the Arts 82.9
Copyright James Surls


Donald Sultan, American, b. 1951
Black Egg and Tomatoes, Aug. 4, 1998
Tar, spackle and oil on tile over masonite
96" x 96"
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase; Morrie A. Moss Acquisition Funds 2000.6a-d
Copyright Donald Sultan

Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889-1975
Engineer’s Dream, 1931
Oil on panel
29 7/8" x 41 3/4"
eugenia buxton whitnel funds 75.1
Copyright Estate of Thomas Hart Benton / VAGA, NY

Chaim Soutine, Russian (School of Paris), 1893-1943
Portrait of Madame Castaing, 1928
Oil on canvas
18 1/2" x 18 1/4"
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase 94.8
Copyright Estate of Chaim Soutine / ARS, ny

Arthur Dove, American, 1880-1946
Car in Garage, 1934
Oil on canvas
12 1/4" x 14 1/8"
Eugenia Buxton Whitnel Funds 76.12
Copyright the Estate of Arthur g. Dove,
courtesy terry dintenfass, inc.

Isaac Soyer, American (b. Russia), 1902-1981
Cafeteria, 1930
Oil on canvas
21 3/8" x 25 7/8"
Gift of Mr. E.R. Brumley 45.12
Copyright Estate of Isaac Soyer