This exhibition and publication are the result of a dynamic collaboration between the artist and two museums that champion his work. We are especially grateful to Wesley Jessup, Director of the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art, for his help in organizing this exhibition and Debra Byrne, Director for Curatorial Affairs and Exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, who has been tireless in her commitment to its every detail. Their texts form a counterpoint, and each offers a valuable perspective on Ryden’s oeuvre.
We are indebted to the many donors whose willingness to lend their works has made this exhibition possible, including David Arquette, Danny Elfman, Kirk and Lani Hammett. Seonna Hong and Tim Biskup. Chris Iovenko, Debi Jacobson, Scott Janush, Long Gone John, Paul Leary, Susan McDonnell and Brian Wakil, Tobey Maguire, Richard Meldrum, Ted and Kathy Mendenhall, Jolene Myers, Jennifer Nicholson, Mark Parker, Marion Peck, Brett Ratner, and Boomer and Dawn Torvik.
It is a true that no exhibition can be successfully presented without the assistance of a dedicated team, and the Frye Museum staff has been noteworthy for their commitment to excellence in every aspect of this undertaking. Beth Koutsky deserves particular recognition for the innovative design of this publication.
Most particularly, we thank the artist himself for his trenchant vision of contemporary culture. Rarely has an artist been as articulate as Mark Ryden in sharing with his public the private insights and inspirations that help decipher his astonishing iconography. Uniting strategies from the present and past in his artistic vocabulary, Ryden employs motifs that repulse and attract. He encourages us to labor over these juxtapositions, which give rise to discoveries about art and life. In this way, his subjects remind us that paintings are not “reality,” but rather doorways to worlds within and beyond reality. Ryden is at the forefront of contemporary representational art, not only for his ability to paint, but also for his ability to comment on our human condition. We may all expect to be changed by our encounter with his work.
Frye Art Museum