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New CEO of Phoenix Art Museum Inspires Us With 5 All-Time Favorites

Ela Sathern | December 10, 2020 | People Culture Feature

“I have long been an admirer of Phoenix Art Museum, dating back to my early days as an undergraduate studying art history at Arizona State University,” he says. Bringing nearly 20 years of museum leadership experience to the institution, Rodgers most recently helmed Miami’s The Wolfsonian–FIU (, where he championed The Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab, and previously served for six years as director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art ( and vice president of Scottsdale Cultural Council, now known as Scottsdale Arts (


“Tim understands that the role of a museum in the 21st century extends beyond the walls of the galleries and into the community,” says Don Opatrny, museum trustee and chair of the CEO search committee. “His substantial management experience, combined with his passion for art and his ability to engage intergenerational audiences, will be instrumental to Phoenix Art Museum’s continued success.” As we all look forward to viewing artwork in person again, we asked Rodgers to inspire us with a few of his all-time favorite works of art.

Angela Ellsworth


Angela Ellsworth, “Seer Bonnets: A Continuing Offense” (2010, 9 bonnets: pearl corsage pins, fabric, steel, oak). Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, gift of Vicki and Kent Logan.

“A true artist, Ellsworth walks the walk and talks the talk. If you know her art, you will understand that all of her sculptures, performances, paintings and drawings unite her background, her keen intelligence and wit, and her refined aesthetic into works of art that entice and repel in equal measure.”

Fritz Scholder


Fritz Scholder, “Another Deco Indian” (undated, color lithograph). Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Paul Kasnitz.

“I was a young art student at ASU when I first encountered the work of Fritz Scholder. The bold colors highlighting strong, iconic figures made me want to imitate his work. I quickly discovered, however, that there could be only one Fritz Scholder.”

Larry Bell


Larry Bell, “Untitled” (1980, vapor drawing on paper). Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, gift of Susan Julia Ross and Gary L. Waddington, MD.

“The first time I visited Larry Bell’s studio in Taos, I thought I had entered the laboratory of either a rock ’n’ roll musician or a mad scientist. Bell collects guitars and had them displayed throughout the first space you entered. In the next room was his art and the huge, elaborate machines he uses to create it. Because he works with a vaporization process to produce remarkable gradations of color, he employs state-of-the-art technology, including large vaporization chambers. Mad scientist or musician? As it turns out, neither, just a remarkable artist following his passions.”

Gregory Crewdson


Gregory Crewdson, “Untitled (House in the Road)” (2002, C-print mounted on aluminum). Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, museum purchase with funds provided by Contemporary Forum (Artpick 2003).

“If you grew up in the suburbs, you know that hiding within the predictable landscapes and the bland, repetitive architecture are people who struggle daily in countless and surprising ways. Crewdson brings to the surface the tension that exists in the suburbs by presenting highly staged scenes that are illogical but somehow familiar, comforting yet deeply disturbing.”

Pat Steir


Pat Steir, “Turbulent Mountain Waterfall” (1991, oil on canvas). Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, museum purchase with funds provided by Contemporary Forum.

“Perhaps because I started as a watercolor painter, I am particularly fond of artists who work with paint in a loose, flowing manner. Steir captures the memory of a waterfall by allowing the paint to run down the surface of this very large canvas. It sounds simple and spontaneous, but, in reality, the artist had extreme control while making this stunning work.”

Tags: art

Photography by: Rodgers portrait by Airi Katsuta Photography; courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum and Lisa Sette Gallery