In 2020, collectors Driek and Michael Zirinsky gifted 19 works of contemporary art to the NEHMA collection. The Zirinskys, who began collecting more than 40 years ago while in graduate school, live in Boise, Idaho, and are among the most important contemporary art collectors in the region. Their mission, in Driek’s words, is to “give our collection away, artwork by artwork, to museums that have the relevant regional or historical connection to any particular object. For instance, our gift to NEHMA includes works by Utah artists, or works of art that are in some way related to Utah.
The Zirinisky gift is in some ways a microcosm of their collection overall. For instance, they have collected more women artists than men, which is something you rarely find with private collectors. They also support younger contemporary artists and are not afraid to collect artists who have yet to prove themselves in the art world. Through the years, the Zirinskys have acquired a significant holding of work by artists from the northwest, including the Boise area, and they do like to frequent and acquire work from Seattle and Portland galleries.
The Zirinskys’ focus on artists from the northwestern United States aligns well with NEHMA’s collection emphasis on art of the 20th and 21st centuries from the western United States, and their gift strengthens the Museum’s holdings of contemporary artists from this region.
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