Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, in recognition of the importance of the arts and the emergence of New York as the home of many of America's most innovative and talented artists, began plans for the Empire State Plaza Art Collection in 1961 and the first purchases were made in 1966. This collection features the work of artists who practiced in New York during the 1960s and 70s, and is the most important State collection of modern art in the country. In its embrace of abstract art, the collection positioned the State as a forward-thinking patron and its government as enlightened and advanced. The architect Wallace K. Harrison worked closely with Governor Rockefeller, who cared deeply about architecture, to create the bold design for the Empire State Plaza complex. No stronger statement could have been made about New York's past and present commitment to the future, and its belief that the arts were essential to the State's vision of itself.