Arts & Culture Spotlight Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich June 11, 2015

The new exhibition, “From New York to New Mexico,” at the Phoenix Art Museum transcends state lines, country borders and even continents.
It opened Sunday, June 7 and features an exquisite collection of American Modernism work that breaks more traditional modes of art and shows the American response to European modernism.
But in some ways, the collection tells an even larger story about two immigrants, wife Marica and husband Jan Vilcek, and how art helped them transition into American culture.
Listening to the Vilceks describe their life in-person during a media preview offered a fresh perspective to the each piece. After arriving in the United States from Czechoslovakia 50 years ago, they spent the next few decades slowly collecting pieces of art.

View From Brooklyn, George Copeland Ault, from Vilcek Foundation

View From Brooklyn, George Copeland Ault, from Vilcek Foundation

The paintings, drawings and sculptures incorporate some sort of American subject, the New York City skyline or “Indian Corn.”
According to Marica, they never intended to collect a large body of American Modernism art — it just happened. She said the process was organic, each theme manifesting subconsciously.
And when people ask her why she, as an immigrant from a country that no longer exists, collects American art, she tells them it was her “last stage of immigration to this country.”
Indian Corn, Stuart Davis, from Vilcek Foundation

Indian Corn, Stuart Davis, from Vilcek Foundation

It’s hard to imagine, but these amazing works of art once hung in their home in New York. And now they’re here in Downtown Phoenix, giving us the chance to peruse rarely seen masterpieces — an opportunity that should not be missed.
Their collection includes artists like Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe with works in various mediums that make up four themes, such as city life or southwestern culture.
On loan from the Vilcek Foundation in New York, “From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection” will be on exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum now through September 7.