Permanent Collection

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Permanent Collection

Permanent Collection at Rowan University

The Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum collection consists of approximately 300 fine art objects with particular emphasis on the works of American women artists who were active in the pivotal period of the 1970s and 1980s. The Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum mission is to present diverse forms of contemporary art by professional artists with content that is thought provoking, relevant, and timely. With our exhibitions, collections, and programming we seek to engender curiosity and a passion for contemporary art, enrich the quality of life for area residents, and serve as a vibrant cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and surrounding region. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive, accessible, and just environment that encourages dialogue and collaboration between artists, students, faculty, and the general public through the presentation of interdisciplinary, contemporary art exhibitions, artist talks and other public programming, and by making our unique collection of art by women artists accessible for study and inspiration.

Browse the collection online.

The Sylvia Sleigh Collection

The Sylvia Sleigh Collection is comprised of nearly one hundred paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs by women artists. It was amassed by Sylvia Sleigh (1916–2010), a pioneering feminist and tireless supporter of women artists. She became well-known in the 1970s for her paintings of nude men. She unashamedly reveled in the beauty of the human body while challenging the tradition in which male artists depicted anonymous, idealized, and often eroticized female models. Sleigh was among the founding members of SOHO 20 Gallery (est. 1973), an important women’s cooperative. She subsequently joined A.I.R. Gallery (est. 1972), the first artist-run exhibition space for women in the United States.

It was Sylvia Sleigh’s intention to donate her collection to an institution that would preserve the work and make it accessible through periodic exhibitions. She acquired the works of other women as a way of supporting them and honoring their achievements, regardless of whether they were critically acclaimed or financially successful. With the Sylvia Sleigh Collection as its foundation, the permanent collection of Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum will be supplimented in the same spirit.

Catalog of the Sylvia Sleigh Collection

The Sister Chapel

The Sister Chapel, a historic collaborative installation created at the height of the women’s art movement, opened in 2016 in the Center for Art and Social Engagement for its first public exhibition since 1980. With the exception of two paintings that comprise The Sister Chapel, all of the works featured in the installation are part of the permanent collection of Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum.

The Sister Chapel Exhibition Catalog