Feynes House Dining Room
Patssi Valdez

The greatest area of growth in the USC Fisher Museum of Art in recent years is in the 20th and 21st centuries collections. This has been achieved through the generosity of donors and through purchases made by the museum. USC Fisher Museum of Art’s later collections span the medias of painting, prints, drawings, photography, and sculpture. The contemporary collections feature works principally by artists from California but also include an emphasis on international art, especially that of Mexico and Spain.

One of Fisher’s emerging collection areas is Chicano Art. Beginning in the 1960s, Mexican Americans worked to develop a unique artistic identity influenced by post-Mexican Revolution ideologies, pre-Columbian art, European painting techniques, and social, political and cultural issues. Chicano artists investigated their collective history and culture and used their art to fight for the restoration of land grants and equal opportunities for social mobility. Women artists in this movement were also often aligned with feminism and highlighted the struggles of Chicana women. Noted Chicano artists in Fisher’s collection include Laura Aguilar, Carlos Almaraz, the de la Torre brothers, Margaret Garcia, Roberto Gil de Montes, Gronk, Frank Romero, Pattssi Valdez, and John Valadez.  As the Fisher continues to build its collections, artists from California, Los Angeles, and South, Central, and East Los Angeles are increasingly more important to its mission. Collecting artworks that document the voices of the many talented artists who live in this city and neighborhood is a primary means of keeping the museum relevant to its various constituencies. In addition to the Chicano artists mentioned above—many of whom were based in Los Angeles—the Fisher’s collection includes work by Dan McCleary, Alexandra Grant, Salomon Huerta, Peter Shire, and Mary Weatherford.

Public Art

The Well, 2014. Bronze, Collection of the USC Fisher Museum of Art. Gift of Mei-Lee Ney.

The Well (Enrique Martínez Celaya, 2014) Installed in 2021, The Well is a 13-foot-high bronze bust of a young girl. Part of a collection that Martínez Celaya began producing in 2011 called “The Tears of Things,” the work revolves around the concept of cleansing and revealing what is inside, while exploring displacement, exile, and art’s capacity to uncover or create meaning—a theme emphasized in girl’s tear-streaked face.