Three years after its inception, the Altoids® Curiously Strong Collection has grown to include an important group of innovative works by emerging artists living in the United States. The first two years' acquisitions have been presented in U.S. cities from Los Angeles to Miami. Now, in Fresh, the most recent additions are on view with the rest of the collection for the first time. Renowned for its vigorous support of cultural institutions, Altoids has made a commitment to new art central to its philanthropy. Created in 1998, the Curiously Strong Collection has provided direct and meaningful support to dozens of artists through purchase of their works. Moreover, the organization of a comprehensive traveling exhibition of the collection has resulted in increased visibility and critical attention for the artists involved.
Each year Altoids invites a group of highly regarded art professionals-artists, curators, dealers, historians, and critics-to identify contemporary art that fits the company's criteria of "curious," "strong," and "original." The search committee then makes a final selection, adding approximately twenty-five new works to the collection each year. The result is a vibrant and compelling overview of artistic production today.
The Altoids Curiously Strong Collection offers viewers a range of subjects, formal qualities, and materials. The collection ranges from abstract paintings and decorative sculptures to images of famous faces and familiar places, landscapes, nightscapes, and much more, including even selective accumulations of trash and conspiracy-theory documents. The opportunity to view the collection in its entirety underscores the diversity of artistic production today, both in relationship to the range of media-including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, video, installation, and Internet art-and the areas of interest and expertise the artists bring to their work, ranging from architecture to music, identity to celebrity, and many others.
In September 2000, Altoids announced the donation of the entire Curiously Strong Collection to the New Museum, making an unprecedented addition to the Museum's collection. In light of the Museum's twenty-three year commitment to innovative programming in contemporary art, the Altoids collection makes for a perfect fit with our mission. This presentation of Fresh marks the beginning of a strong partnership with Altoids and represents an inspired and adventurous approach to visual arts patronage.
-Dan Cameron, Senior Curator & Anne Ellegood, Assistant Curator