The David Winton Bell Gallery is Brown University's contemporary art gallery and home to an important part of the university's permanent art collection. The gallery hosts four to five major exhibitions each year, as well as annual exhibitions of student artwork and a triennial exhibition of artwork by Brown faculty members. Broadly concerned with the exhibition of exemplary work by artists living today, the gallery takes pride in showing artwork irrespective of media, content or subject and makes special efforts to support and show the work of emerging or under-recognized practitioners locally, nationally and internationally. Alongside the contemporary arts, the gallery also makes use of its art historical collections, programming exhibitions on the arts and culture of the last five centuries. Recent exhibitions include solo shows by Kirsten Hassenfeld, Walid Raad, Charles Long, and Do-Ho Suh, as well as thematic group shows such as Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoon, Regeneration: Contemporary Chinese Art from China and the US, and Film Architecture: Set Designs from Metropolis to Blade Runner.
The Bell Gallery maintains a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art, dating from the 16th century to the present, with particularly rich holdings in contemporary art and works on paper. Significant prints and drawings include works by Rembrandt, Goya, Matisse, and Motherwell. The painting and sculpture collection holds important works by Frank Stella, Lee Bontecou, Diego Rivera, Alice Neel, Richard Serra, and Joseph Cornell. Particularly strong in mid-century documentation, the photography collection features significant work by Walker Evans, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Larry Clark, and Danny Lyon, among others.
Founded in 1971, the Gallery is named in memory of David Winton Bell, a member of the Brown University class of 1954. It is housed in the List Art Center, a multi-functional building that also includes classrooms, lecture halls, and extensive studio space. Designed by internationally renowned architect Philip Johnson, the Center is located on the crest of College Hill, in close proximity to the RISD Museum and downtown Providence. The triangular jags of the roof line—with skylights installed to light art studios—are a dramatic element in Providence's skyline.