Three U.S. museums are getting an infusion of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art in a gift from Miami-based collectors Debra and Dennis Scholl.
The couple is donating 200 pieces to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frost Art Museum and the Nevada Museum of Art, which agreed to share the works, according to a statement the institutions issued Friday. The Nevada Museum, in Reno, and the Frost, which is part of Florida International University, Dennis Scholl’s alma mater, are both getting about 90 works.
The Met in New York will receive 19 works, mostly by female artists. The Scholls own more than 400 works by contemporary Aboriginal Australian artists, making it the largest private collection in the U.S.
The Scholls have been collecting Aboriginal art for more than a decade. In a statement, Dennis Scholl, who was recently named the president of ArtCenter/South Florida, said, “This is the longest art-making tradition known to mankind. For these communities, visual arts are a primary means of communication. That visual language and the cultural stories being conveyed through the work are an important part of the global conversation.”
Their previous collections have focused on prints, photography and conceptual art. The couple also donated 300 contemporary works to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2012. “It takes a good decade to become really engaged with a genre,” Dennis Scholl said. “Then we think to find a good institutional home for the work.”