ICA Receives Another Gift of Works by Women from Barbara Lee

It's the largest gift by value in the museum's history.

ica boston barbara lee gift

Barbara Lee’s most recent gift to the ICA includes a room-size installation by Kara Walker / Photo courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

Around this time last year, Barbara Lee gave the Institute of Contemporary Art its largest gift ever—43 artworks created by 25 female artists.

This morning, the museum announced that the philanthropist and activist, who also serves as vice-chair of its board of trustees, has donated another 20 works by 12 female artists, from the 20th and 21st centuries. Estimated at $42 million, it’s the museum’s largest gift by value, according to the New York Times.

“My gift puts women artists front and center at an institution known for breaking barriers,” said Lee in a press release. “The ICA’s vision aligns powerfully with my own. The museum has a spirit of independence, defies expectations, and challenges the status quo—all things that embody my life’s work to empower women.”

Highlights of the gift include a room-size installation by Kara Walker, a sculptural work by Louise Bourgeois, two sculptures by Eva Hesse, a sculpture by Sherrie Levine, and a suite of 60 prints by Ellen Gallagher. Other artists represented are Carol Bove, Dana Birnbaum, Marisol, Alice Neel, Cady Noland, Louise Lawler, and Charline von Heyl.

All 20 works will be added to the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, which was established at the ICA in 2014. It’s the result of three decades of collecting by Lee and comprises paintings, sculptures, photography, and videography.

“Barbara Lee continues to lead by example—her vision and generosity allow the ICA to tell urgent and undertold histories of post-war and contemporary art,” said ICA’s director Jill Medvedow. “With these new acquisitions, our collection is enriched by some of the most important works of recent art history.”