From the Director - Fall 2015

For the past few years, museum offerings have been loosely united under a theme: Religion, Ritual and Performance in 2012–13, Realism in 2013–14, and The Americas in 2014–15. We inaugurate the 2015–16 year with the theme of The Body, and present a wide array of new exhibitions and programs that respond broadly to this subject.

Jim Dine, a groundbreaking artist whose works often evoke the presence or absence of the human body, had his first one-man museum exhibition at the AMAM in 1965, and we look forward to celebrating—with him—the 50th anniversary of that at our September 3 First Thursday. In addition to the presence of one of the world’s most distinguished artists, that evening will be special in that a public conversation with Dine will be the first event in the newly conserved King Sculpture Court.

Our project to clean the historic ceiling and clerestory in this space was completed in the spring, with new lighting installed in summer. We hope you’ll join us at this event and others to come, to experience this central, soaring space the way architect Cass Gilbert intended. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results, and are deeply grateful to the many donors who helped with the completion of these projects, as well as new lighting in the Ripin Gallery.

Just as many donors contributed to our recent infrastructure upgrades, others have continued to support staffing and collections. I’m delighted to announce the endowment, through the generosity of Agnes Gund, Richard Spear, and Athena Tacha, of the museum’s modern and contemporary curatorial position, now the Ellen Johnson ’33 Curatorship of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Over the past several months, other donors have endowed funds to support educational programs; acquisitions of art in memory of Hedy Landman ’53, a former AMAM curatorial assistant; and acquisitions of prints in memory of Paul B. Arnold ’41, a beloved former professor of studio art, and specifically of printmaking. A promised gift of a painting by contemporary artist Pat Steir, on view in the West Ambulatory, also highlights the importance to the museum of gifts of art from generous donors.

Many other works, of course, are newly on view in the exhibitions presented by the museum’s curators and guest curators. And AMAM “guests” also include several artworks on loan, one of which is Monet’s stunning Red Kerchief, in the Stern Gallery. The AMAM collection has two Monets, neither figurative, and so it is especially exciting to have this vision of the artist’s wife visit from the Cleveland Museum of Art while our own important early Monet, Garden of the Princess, Louvre, is on view there.

Besides completing work on the King Sculpture Court and Ripin Gallery, and preparing new exhibitions and programs, many other activities have taken place behind the scenes at the AMAM over the past several months. These include the development of a new logo and the design of a soon-to-launch e-newsletter, visits by numerous researchers, and, of course, sustained and meaningful interaction with the college’s faculty and students and our local public. My colleagues on the museum staff and I hope you, too, will take part in our active roster of events—or that you will simply take advantage of our perennially free admission—and experience the power of original works of art to transform lives.

Andria Derstine
John G. W. Cowles Director

Read previous Director's Letters here.

Claude Monet (French, 1840 - 1926)
The Red Kerchief, ca. 1868 - 1873
Oil on fabric
Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr.
CMA 1958.39