New $2.25 million gift supports contemporary art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

EUGENE, Ore. -- (March 30, 2017) – An anonymous gift of nearly $2.25 million will create the Hartz FUNd for Contemporary Art at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) at the University of Oregon. The largest endowment to date for the JSMA, it will transform the museum’s ability to explore and support the work of local, national, and international contemporary artists through exhibitions, acquisitions, publications, and more.


“Such a generous gift from a long-time personal friend and champion of contemporary art across the country affirms the critical role of the JSMA as a teaching museum at a university dedicated to creating thoughtful and creative individuals who will work to make our world a better place,” says Hartz. “I am humbled and thrilled for the opportunities this gift makes possible – both for teaching purposes and for furthering the appreciation of the visual arts for all our visitors.”


“The arts at the University of Oregon are at the highest level, and recognized internationally,” says UO President Michael Schill. “A transformational gift like this affirms their value, and especially the important role the art museum plays in strengthening both our teaching and public mission,” he adds. “It’s timeliness, during our current capital campaign, is especially meaningful.”


Often reflective of current events and provocative issues, contemporary art plays an important role in educating students of all ages. Hartz notes that this is especially important at a university, where young people are exploring their own identities in relation to what’s going on in the world today.


“Contemporary art often reflects those global issues and questions regarding identity back to us, Hartz says. “The subject matter is as diverse as the materials used and nothing is off limits.”


Hartz joined the JSMA in 2008 as executive director and her passion for contemporary art has influenced the breadth and diversity of the museum’s collections and exhibitions program in profound ways.  Recent proposed contemporary art acquisitions to the JSMA collection—only possible because of the FUNd—include a large ceramic mihrab by Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet, recently on view in “Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an” and Stacey Steers’s “Night Hunter Cottage,” a video installation composed of more than four thousand collages in which the silent film actress Lillian Gish is seamlessly appropriated and plunged into a new and haunting role.  The JSMA previously showed a full-scale version of one of Steers’s earlier video-house installations.


These works will join previously purchased contemporary art , made possible only with private and foundation support,  including  “Acca Dacca Diptych,”  Nina Katchadourian's humorous video self-portraits, which feature an audio track in which the artist lip-syncs an ACDC song about transatlantic travel; numerous Cuban and Latin American pieces (selections of which are currently on view in “Cuba Ocho”  and “Diálogos”);  and “Medusa Smack,” an immersive video installation by Portland artist Vanessa Renwick inspired by the Haruki Murakami quote “What we see before us is just one tiny part of the world. We get into the habit of thinking, this is the world, but that’s not true at all. The real world is a much darker and deeper place than this, and much of it is occupied by jellyfish and things.”


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the Americas as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums—and the only academic art museum-- in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,