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Princeton University Art Museum Gets Six Site-Specific New Works

Princeton University has a long history of commissioning public art by the likes of Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, dating back to the 1960s. And when the Princeton University Art Museum opens to the public next year, at almost double the size of its original building, six new large-scale works bywomen and artists of color will have pride of place — visible beacons nearthe building’s perimeter, both indoors and out at this central crossroads on campus.

The artworks include four site-specific commissions by Diana Al-Hadid, Nick Cave, Jane Irish and Tuan Andrew Nguyen and two acquisitions by Jun Kaneko and Rose B. Simpson.

“From every access point toward the museum, there will be works of public art so that people can almost use them as visual markers of arrival,” James Steward, its director, said.

“I was thinking about how to bring voices that maybe were not yet adequately represented on our campus,” Steward said. The new artworks help “break down the distinctions between indoors and outdoors,” he added, as part of the goal to enhance accessibility and engagement with the museum’s encyclopedic collection, some 115,000 objects. (The institution is renowned for its Chinese paintings, photography and pre-Columbian holdings.)

Tuan Andrew Nguyen, untitled kinetic sculpture, 2024.Credit…Tuan Andrew Nguyen and James Cohan, New York

The 1966 building was demolished in 2021 to make way for the new one. The museum has an annual operating budget of $29 million (60 percent of which comes from endowment income) and has 120 employees, expected to grow to 180 by the opening in 2025.

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