Breaking Ground: The Donald and Maria Cox Collection
September 24, 2016 - January 8, 2017
In the early 1970s, Donald and Maria Cox purchased an oil painting by Giorgio Cavallon, cementing a passion that would result in three decades of collecting. With a focus on contemporary art, or “the art of our time,” much like MOCA Jacksonville's mission, the Coxes amassed almost one hundred objects, spanning from the late 1950s to 1999 and in all media. While living in New York City afforded them unparalleled opportunities to see art and connect with artists firsthand, the works in Breaking Ground: The Donald and Maria Cox Collection serve as a visual diary of their interests and innovations in twentieth century art.
By juxtaposing paintings, prints, and sculptures and disregarding chronology, Breaking Ground presents aesthetic relationships across media and exposes overlapping concepts at the core of both the Museum's and Coxes' collections. Gesture and the evolution of mark-making reverberate throughout Breaking Ground-from Joan Mitchell's fleeting strokes to a patterned silkscreen by Jasper Johns. Similarly, Ilya Bolotowsky and Frank Stella champion precise geometries and minimal, hard-edges. Whereas Joel Shapiro sets lines in motion in an emotive charcoal and gouache drawing, suggestive of a figure balancing in space, they come to life in his bronze sculpture. As Breaking Ground offers entry points into each artist's signature style, the Coxes' generous gift transforms the Permanent Collection, promising to enrich our understanding of the art of our time.
With over ten years of curatorial and exhibition experience in contemporary art, Curator Jaime DeSimone conceives and implements the exhibition program and manages the Permanent Collection. At MOCA Jacksonville, DeSimone has curated Project Atrium: Shinique Smith and Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction, the first museum show to focus on contemporary female abstract painters. She was previously the exhibitions project coordinator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where she managed a portfolio of exhibitions, including Calder and Abstraction and FreePort No. 008: Celeste Boursier-Mougenot. From 2005 to 2012, DeSimone served as the assistant curator at the Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where she curated a number of exhibitions, including Flash Back: November 23, 1963 (2013), The Civil War: Unfolding Dialogues (2011), and Kara Walker: Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2008). She holds a master's degree in American contemporary art from American University (2005) and a bachelor's degree in art history from Bates College (2001).
Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.