Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mills Alums bring recognized works to museum

It is more often that works from the collection of Harry W. and
Mary Margaret Anderson visit the Mills College Art Museum than the
Andersons themselves. However, the Andersons (who also go by “Hunk”
and “Moo”) made a notable appearance at the museum for the gallery
opening on Oct. 28 celebrating the works of two Mills alumni:
Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray.

The Andersons, who have one of the best art collections in the
state of California, have loaned Bartlett and Murray’s works to the
art museum to allow Mills students to connect with the work of
alumnae and also study the work of two critically acclaimed
contemporary artists.

“The Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray show is a great
opportunity for the Mills community to see great paintings by two
of America’s most famous painters who happened to go to Mills,”
said Stephan Jost, the art museum’s director.

The works displayed by Jennifer Bartlett which are filled with
vibrant colors and engage in abstract scenes that include; “Four
Seasons: Spring,” “Four Seasons: Summer,” “At the Lake, Morning”
and “Fire Table Cone.”

In “Fire Table Cone,” the foreground depicts a fiercely burning
cone and table surrounded by flowers, a brown ground, and the night
sky. Placed in front of the canvas are a three-dimensional lead
cone and wooden table mirroring those in the canvas.

“At the Lake, Morning” is a landscape of a lake surrounded by
abstract, lush flora. One side of the artwork is shown in small
aligned tiles.

The squares connect to form the grounds surrounding the lake. On
the other side, the lake is an un-cut, whole part of the work. “At
the Lake, Morning” has very natural coloration and feels like it is
capable of transporting viewers to a new setting.

Upon entering the gallery, Elizabeth Murray’s works are what
first greet visitors. Her canvases are sculpted into enormous,
abstract shapes.

“This Pair” is mostly black and a darkened orange. Actually made
of four separate canvases stuck together, it also has a long tube
that curls to the left and a more square opening to the right.
Reminiscent of a shoe, the tube alone is more like “a birth canal,
maybe…a way of entry into the shape,” Murray explained in a
pamphlet available to museum patrons that explains the artists’

“Chain Gang” is a sculpted canvas with muted and dark
coloration: grays, blues, and greens. The work shows a spoon and a
hand reaching for it, which Murray explains to be “a meditation on

Jennifer Bartlett received her bachelor’s degree from Mills
College, then went on to earn her B.F.A and M.F.A. from Yale
University in 1964 and 1965. She currently lives and works between
New York and Paris.

Elizabeth Murray studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, later
receiving her M.F.A. from Mills College, in 1964. She lives in New
York City.

Bartlett and Murray met while at Mills and have remained in
close contact with one another throughout their careers.

Over 150 people came to the opening of the Bartlett-Murray
Exhibition including students, curators, museum directors,
collectors, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson.

“They really enjoyed seeing the Bartlett and Murray pieces
beautifully displayed, but they also loved seeing the student
curated show,” said Jost.

“They are very education focused and love to share their

The museum will continue with more contemporary painting for the
rest of the academic year.

Additional works from the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection at
the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will include Bruce Nauman
(Oct. 28- Nov. 9), Richard Serra (Nov. 11- 23), and Anni Albers
(Nov. 25- Dec. 14).