A Historic Shot on the MOCA Jacksonville Building When it Housed the Western Union Company

More than ninety years of collecting

1960s to 1970s

After nearly twenty years in the Fleming Mansion on Riverside Avenue, the Jacksonville Art Museum (JAM) moved to the Koger Center. The new location allowed the Museum to grow its Permanent Collection and reputation. During this time, the Museum's focus was primarily based on the Koger Collection, which comprised Chinese antiquities. In addition to the Koger Collection, the Museum had significant holdings of Pre-Columbian works.

1970s to 1980s

Primarily under the tenure of Director Bruce Dempsey, the Permanent Collection experienced significant growth. While the focus of the Museum was still chronologically broad, Dempsey made many noteworthy acquisitions valuable to the current mission (1960s to present). Dempsey fostered donations by creating the Collectors' Club, which met informally at the home of Dr. Anwar Kamal. This group of collectors would purchase directly for the Museum’s collection and became quite invested in the development of the contemporary focus of the collection. In addition to these individual donations, a series of large bodies of work were acquired, including the Norman E. Fisher Collection, Larry Clark’s Tulsa, the estate of Memphis Wood, and the Alexander Calder sculpture and gouache paintings on paper. In addition to these acquisitions, Dempsey formed interesting relationships with print houses to expand the print collection. Such acquisitions include works by Richard Anuszkiewicz and Robert Zakanitch from Julio Juristo’s Topaz Editions, in Tampa, Florida, and works by Robert Rauschenberg from Graphicstudio at the University of South Florida.

1990s to Present

Beginning in the late 1990s, the Museum began another transition to its current location in downtown Jacksonville. From approximately 1999 to early 2003, the Museum did not have a facility and as a result did not acquire any works. In 2003, the Museum opened in its current location at 333 North Laura Street as the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (JMOMA) but changed its name to the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) shortly thereafter to better reflect the Permanent Collection. The most significant collection growth during this period was under the guidance of Director and Chief Curator George Kinghorn. Some notable acquisitions include numerous significant works from Jacksonville collector and philanthropist Preston H. Haskell, including works by Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Jenkins, James Rosenquist, and Jules Olitski; and a major donation of ninety-six works from the collection of Donald and Maria Cox, including objects by Jake Berthot, Ilya Bolotowsky, and Hans Hofmann.