Princeton University Art Museum Announces Six Site-Specific Artworks for New Building Opening in 2025

PRINCETON, NJ – Today the Princeton University Art Museum announced the contemporary artists selected for four large-scale commissions and two acquisitions that will be integrated into the architecture and surrounding landscape of the Museum’s new building. Opening in 2025, the new building will nearly double the Museum’s previous size and embody its long-standing commitment to the thoughtful and equitable display and study of the globe-spanning collections under its care.

The celebrated American artist and educator Nick Cave will create a monumental and colorful installation of mosaic tile, gold bronze, and wood to welcome visitors to the Museum. Incorporated directly onto two sides of the building’s covered entrance court, this work derives from Cave’s artistic practice involving sculpture, sound, performance, and themes of social justice. In the piece, the artist’s soundsuit-wearing alter ego leans forward in a gesture of welcome to all visitors approaching the Museum’s primary entrance.
A large-scale installation by the artist Diana Al-Hadid will occupy the Museum’s east terrace. The sculpture draws on the artist's research into Princeton's collections of ancient art and archival photographs of excavation sites. Inspired by these collections, Al-Hadid’s sculpture hints at the ancient knowledge that exists within the Museum’s contemporary walls. The result will incorporate figural and mosaic elements and a complex aluminum structure.

To fill a vertical space created by one of the building’s signature lens windows, the multidisciplinary artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen has built a kinetic sculpture composed of metal from unexploded landmines and artillery shells left behind during the Vietnam War—a reference to colonial violence that belies the tranquility of the gallery space. The work will be placed in dialogue with an ancient Roman mosaic featuring the head of Medusa, the figure from Greek mythology whose hideous appearance would turn a viewer to stone.

A luminous painting by Jane Irish will be installed on the ceiling of one of the more intimate new galleries. It depicts two versions of the cosmos—a history of Renaissance violence and a redemptive future. The artist skews the viewer’s perspective by incorporating a false cornice and painted corners of a ceiling into her work, subtly putting the viewer’s own vantage point in question. Across her practice, Irish probes contrasts–between art and warfare, poetry and architecture. For her commission, she has sourced imagery from the Museum’s collections, including the work of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

Beyond these four new commissions, visitors will encounter two new acquisitions planned for specific areas of the Museum grounds. A monumental glazed-ceramic piece by the Japanese artist Jun Kaneko will occupy an area in the northeast of the building—a translation of his ceramic practice designed to withstand the elements and to be in conversation with the surrounding environment. The work will nestle in a new landscape designed by James Corner Field Operations. Finally, located on the building’s south sculpture terrace will be a bronze figurative sculpture by Rose B. Simpson, whose multimedia practice brings together past and present as she explores complex histories including her own Native identity. Her relationship with the Museum extends back to her 2022 solo exhibition at the Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery space.

Under the direction of Director James Steward and Chief Curator Juliana Ochs Dweck, the Museum aims to place these artworks in conversation with its global collections, dynamic architecture, community, and visitors. In doing so, the Museum will foster cross-cultural dialogue that challenges traditional definitions of materiality and function, just as its single-level collections displays seek to overcome traditional hierarchies of value, placing the collections in new modes of productive conversation.

“We build on a tradition of public art at Princeton extending to the 1960s with the commissioning of works by major modern artists of the time, including Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and Louise Nevelson,” said James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. “These six commissions and site-specific acquisitions bring a vibrant new cohort of international voices to bear in that existing collection with works that will be beautiful and arresting.”


About the Princeton University Art Museum

With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, featuring collections that have grown to include more than 115,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe. Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world.

The main Museum building is currently closed for the construction of a bold and welcoming new building, slated to open in 2025.

Art on Hulfish, a gallery project of the Art Museum located at 11 Hulfish Street, is open daily. Art@Bainbridge, a gallery project at 158 Nassau Street, is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to both galleries is free.

Please visit the Museum’s website for digital access to the collections, a diverse portfolio of programs, and details on visiting our downtown galleries. The Museum Store in Palmer Square, located at 56 Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, is open daily, or shop online at

Media Contact: