Category Archives: Museum Donors

EXPO Chicago: A KMAC Donors’ Field Trip

KMAC ‘s Donors Circle brought a hale and hearty group of 14 to EXPO Chicago a week and a half ago. We spent our days cruising the contemporary art offerings out on the Navy Pier. In the afternoon, we enjoyed Kentucky hospitality in the form of tastings of Old Forester provided by Brown-Forman happening at the KMAC booth, which featured selections from recent museum exhibitions: Denise Burge, Matthew Ronay, Elijah Pierce and more.

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Outside the art fair, we had the opportunity to visit some outstanding private collections including those of Paul and De Gray, Gary Metzner and Scott Johnson, Richard and Ellen Sandor, and Susan Goodman and Rod Lubeznik.

On Friday, September 19th, Richard and Ellen Sandor impressed us with their extensive body of photography and related objects (over 2,000 pieces from the 1840s to the present) and awed with their encyclopedic knowledge of the contexts in which their historical images were conceived. I especially admired a photo of poet Marianne Moore in her tricorn hat/George Washington getup. The couple’s “Outsider Café”features well-known naïve and intuitive artists Lee Godie, Martin Ramirez, Sharon Scott, and Bill Traylor.

 

On Friday night, we attended gallery openings at Kavi Gupta’s two spaces. I particularly enjoyed watching a documentary that Mickalene Thomas created in memory of her mother, who many will recognize as the principal subject of her work. The film plays continuously in a family room setting, complete with wood paneling, a sofa, and coffee table. That night, Kavi Gupta graciously included us in a party at his place, where we mingled with art stars like Jessica Stockholder. Kavi put a picture of Martha Slaughter and Henry Heuser on Instagram!

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On Saturday morning, we ventured to the Gold Coast—where we took in magnificent panoramic views of Lake Michigan at the home of Susan Goodman and Rod Lubeznik. Our group took note of a ceramic portrait bust by Klara Kristalova and a felt piece (resembling a Matisse paper cut-out) by William J. O’Brien. In the bathroom sits a humorous multi-media sculpture by Tokyo-based artist Ken Kagami.

On our final morning in Chicago, we stopped at the warehouse studio of Tony Tasset (husband of well-known Chicago painter Judy Ledgerwood) who manipulates quintessential American imagery in bold colors. He chooses to work in a vernacular of existing genres to communicate with simple signs. His egalitarian, open system of meaning resembles a love letter to 70s super graphic art (such as Robert Indiana).

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We had an absolute blast in Chicago. And I am now rested enough to say that I enthusiastically anticipate the next Donors’ Circle trip—to New York City in March! I hope you can join us.

–Leslie Millar, KMAC Donor Circle Member

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KMAC Donors Tour Mayor Jim Gray’s Art Collection

In November, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Donor’s Circle visited the magnificent art collection of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.  Mayor Gray’s home is situated in the Gratz Park Historic District, one of the most beautiful areas of Lexington, Kentucky.

Lexington Artist Louis Zoellar Bickett offered us a tour through Mayor Gray’s well-appointed rooms, several of which feature Bickett’s assemblages and containers.  In the entrance hall, we admired a large black-and-white piece entitled Welsh Oaks (#3) (1998) by Vancouver School photographer Rodney Graham.

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Our group especially enjoyed becoming acquainted with the work of Lexington-area artist Mark Goodlett, who assembles ornate picture-boxes out of wadded paper while lying in bed.

Mayor Gray’s residence houses work by many world-renowned contemporary artists, such as Joseph Kosuth, Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker, Richard Long, Vik Muniz , Claes Oldenburg, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gerhard Richter, and Fred Tomaselli.  Bickett informed us that Mayor Gray regularly rotates pieces in the house with others from his vast collection.

Great favorites amongst this art loving group were two pieces by English artist and Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread.  While viewers may be familiar with Whiteread’s plaster casts of vacant/negative spaces, the sculpture Untitled (Trafalgar Square Plinth) (1999) surprises with its use of resin to create a ghostly double.

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Another of Whiteread’s works, “Switch” (1994), creates a more subtle, playful effect.

On that perfect fall day, the group ventured on to galleries around town.  We are grateful to Mayor Gray and to Bickett for their hospitality.  Please join us on a future trip!

–Leslie Millar
KMAC Board Member
photos courtesy of Jody Howard

A Donor’s Perspective of Chicago EXPO

The recent Donors’ Circle trip to EXPO Chicago was inspiring and stimulating. It was quite extraordinary to get personal home tours from esteemed art collectors, private viewings of new gallery exhibitions, invitation-only after parties and all the contemporary art Chicago’s Navy Pier could handle.

KMAC Donors’ Circle member Leslie Millar wrote a brief synopsis of the week-end in case you couldn’t join us.
The Highlights of EXPO Chicago September 2013 
A group of about fifteen members of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Donor’s Circle ventured north for a fast-paced weekend in the Windy City.  Upon our return, we feel briefly sated with new and familiar works of contemporary art.  This “food” will keep our minds and imaginations energized until our next trip, to Art Basel Miami!  Here are a few morsels from our trip for your delectation:
The Guffman Home
The Guthman Home
The Guffman Home
The Guthman Home
Friday, September 20, 2013
We started the morning by touring the private collection of Jack and Sandy Guthman. Their immaculately restored five-story home includes a canvas thread piece by Tom Friedman, an installation by Sarah Sze, and video by Kate Gilmore.  We admired a FedEx shipping box of Walead Beshty and bundles assembled by Shinique Smith.  The wide-reaching collection revolves around a strong center of photography and some Chicago artists, including painter Judy Ledgerwood. During the afternoon, we toured galleries and met with artists and curators who were buzzing about the EXPO and accompanying Gallery Weekend Chicago. That evening the KMAC group was invited for cocktails at Kavi Gupta for the opening of Roxy Paine’s Apparatus.
Roxy Paine
Roxy Paine
This diorama show offers a radical departure from the sculpture that viewers have come to associate with the artist.  Two room-sized installations replicate, in unvarnished wood, a control room and a fast food counter, right down to the straw dispensers and fry basket. We finished the night with a raucous party at gallerist Monique Meloche’s house.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The Donor’s Circle dined on a hearty breakfast on the patio at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.  Downstairs, we enjoyed a photo show from the museum’s collection.  Upstairs, the MCA showcases a retrospective by Chicago-born cartoonist Daniel Clowes.  On the third floor, an exhibition of installations called Homebodies features a walk-through Victorian house fabricated in nylon by Do Ho Suh.  The Donor’s Circle took particular note of constructions and video by Chicago resident Theaster Gates, as we recently exhibited one of Gates’ shoe-shine stands at KMAC during the Storytelling as Craft. Next we visited the private Collection of Howard and Donna Stone, which centers around 60s and 70s Minimalist and Conceptualist work, including:  a double-portrait wall drawing by Jim Hodges, pieces made of yarn and elastic thread by Fred Sandbach, a candy pile by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and an installation by Sarah Sze. We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through Chicago EXPO, on the Navy Pier viewing works by established artists like Fred Tomaselli and Leon Ferrari and site specific ampersands by emerging artist Karl Haendel.  Some revelers continued on to Late Night at the Wright Auction House.
Leon Ferrari
Leon Ferrari

Sunday, September 22, 3013
We finished our Chicago weekend with a brunch at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, where we saw Spencer Finch’s color-swatch watercolor paintings and light boxes and took in Judy Ledgerwood’s dense oil paintings.

Many thanks go to the collectors, curators, and gallerists who shared their gracious hospitality.  Even greater thanks to KMAC Director Aldy Milliken and Development Director Angela Hagan for their tireless efforts of organizing the trip and shepherding the members of the Donor’s Circle around the city. We hope that you will join the KMAC Donor’s Circle on another of these intellectually invigorating art outings!

Leslie Millar

Jody Howard, Martha Slaughter and Leslie Millar
Jody Howard, Martha Slaughter and Leslie Millar

Donors Circle Preview of Creative Growth and StudioVisions

KMAC invited the Donor Circle to a special preview of two exhibitions that kick off the 2013 fall season, Creative Growth: Dan Miller and Judith Scott and Studio Visions. The entire show features work by artists with disabilities collected from three national art centers that offer support in exploring self-expression. Creative Growth: Dan Miller and Judith Scott curated by Matthew Higgs (White Columns NYC) brings together two artists who are closely associated with the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA. Studio Visions organized by Aldy Milliken with Krista Gregory (Visionaries + Voices) and Al Gorman (StudioWorks) brings together seven regional artists: Robert Bolubasz, Julie Baldyga, Kathleen Brannigan, Courttney Cooper, Andrew Hostick, Romando Love, and Matthew Torstrick.

A few local exhibiting artists as well as the Director of StudioWorks were on hand to further dialogue about the work and answer questions about studio practice. KMAC Director, Aldy Milliken elaborated on how the show came to exhibit at the Museum. He first saw the work of Judith Scott at NADA Miami and was intrigued. After research, he found other art centers that were enabling the art making process among adults with physical and developmental disabilities including a few right in the region.
The documentary, Outsider: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Betsy Bayha is also a part of the exhibition.