The Nasher Museum has celebrated its first decade as a major center for the arts on Duke University’s campus and in the surrounding Research Triangle area. The museum organizes and presents leading-edge exhibitions that travel to institutions worldwide, including Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist (2014), Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey (2013), The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-1918 (2010) and Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool (2008). The traveling exhibition El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III was named one of Time magazine’s top 10 shows of 2008. The strengths of the museum’s permanent collection are Medieval art, art of the Americas (largely pre-Columbian), Classical Antiquities and modern and contemporary art.
The museum’s contemporary collection features a growing list of artists, including Ebony G. Patterson, Nick Cave, Barkley L. Hendricks, Christian Marclay, Wangechi Mutu, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. More than 1 million people have visited the museum since it opened in 2005.
The 65,000-square-foot Nasher Museum was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and built in 2005. The centerpiece of Viñoly’s modernist design is a dramatic 13,000-square-foot glass-and-steel roof rising to a height of 45 feet above the great hall. Five concrete pavilions fan out from a central courtyard to house three large gallery spaces, auditorium, two classrooms, shop and café. The museum presents a dynamic schedule of programs, including free Family Days, performing arts events, lectures, film series and social gatherings.
The Nasher Museum’s growing permanent collection includes some of today’s best contemporary art, with a rare focus on work by artists of African descent. Other major strengths in the collection include European medieval art, European and American paintings, Outsider art, classical antiquities, African art and ancient American (Pre-Columbian) art.
Formerly the Duke University Museum of Art, the museum was founded in 1969 with the acquisition of 200 medieval works from the Ernest Brummer Collection. The museum was housed in a former science building on the East Campus until the new building opened on Duke’s central campus in 2005. The museum was renamed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, in honor of the late Raymond D. Nasher, Duke alumnus, collector and benefactor.
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University promotes engagement with the visual arts among a broad community including Duke students, faculty, and staff, the greater Durham community, the Triangle region, and the national and international art community. The museum is dedicated to an innovative approach, and presents collections, exhibitions, publications, and programs that attain the highest level of artistic excellence, stimulate intellectual discourse, enrich individual lives, and generate new knowledge in the service of society. Drawing on the resources of a leading research university, the museum serves as a laboratory for interdisciplinary approaches to embracing and understanding the visual arts.
Download the Nasher 2013 Annual Report
(56 pages, PDF format – 2.6M)
Download the Nasher Museum’s 2012 Annual Report
(54 pages, PDF format – 2.7M)
Download the Nasher Museum’s 2011 Annual Report
(29 pages, PDF format – 3.9M)
Download the Nasher Museum’s 2010 Annual Report
(44 pages, PDF format – 3.8M)
IMAGE: Graduate Student Shannan Hayes leads Duke students on a tour of Miró: The Experience of Seeing. Photo by J Caldwell.
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EXHIBITIONS: Thomas Hart Benton, First Crop (detail), 1944. Gouache on paper, 21 x 29 3⁄4 inches (53.3 x 75.6 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Bequest of Louise and Alvin Myerberg.
COLLECTION: Wangechi Mutu, Family Tree (detail), 2012. Suite of 13, mixed-media collage on paper, 20 x 14.25 inches (50.8 x 36.2 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Museum purchase with additional funds provided by Trent Carmichael (T’88, P’17), Blake Byrne (T’57), Marjorie and Michael Levine (T’84, P’16, P’19, P’19), Stefanie and Douglas Kahn (P’11, P’13), and Christen and Derek Wilson (T’86, B’90, P’15). Image courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. © Wangechi Mutu. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer.
BOARD OF ADVISORS 2016-2017
The national Board of Advisors gives advice on policy and major fundraising initiatives and helps to guide the museum’s acquisitions for the permanent collection.
Nancy A. Nasher, L’79, Chair of the Board
Less Arnold, T’97
Christopher Bass, T’97
E. Blake Byrne, T’57, Chair Emeritus
Trent Carmichael, T’88, P’17
Paula Hannaway Crown, T’80
David J. Haemisegger
Valerie Hillings, T’93
Brenda La Grange Johnson, WC’61, P’96
Jolie Johnson, P’19
Katherine Thorpe Kerr, T’04
David Lamond, T’97, JD’06
Gerrity Lansing, Jr., T’95
Michael J. Levine, T’84, P’16, P’19, P’19
Patricia Roderick Morton, T’77, P’06
Katharine Lee Reid
Jason Lewis Rubell, T’91
Douglas Smooke, T’90
William L. True, T’77
Derek M. Wilson, T’86, B’90
Ex Officio members include Gail Belvett, Chair, Collections Committee; Sally Kornbluth, Provost; Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts; Henry Sappenfield, Nasher Museum of Art Friends Board President; Sarah Schroth, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director; Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of American, Afro-American and African Art, Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Sheila Dillon, Chair, Art, Art History and Visual Studies
Collections Committee members include the Nasher Board of Advisors; Frank Konhaus T’80; Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Neil McWilliam, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Art History.
FRIENDS BOARD 2016-2017
The Nasher Museum Friends Board focuses on reaching out to new audiences, increasing the museum’s membership and providing ongoing annual support.
Henry Sappenfield, President
Michelle Beischer, Vice President
Bryan Huffman, Secretary
Arthur Rogers, Immediate Past President
Lenore Behar, A.B.’59, Ph.D.’63, P’84, P’90, P’92, GP’14
Ruth Caccavale, A.B.’81, P’11
Marjorie Brown Pierson
Doren Madey Pinnell, B.S.’74, M.Ed.’75, Ph.D.’79, P’08
Susan B. Rosenthal
Wendy Collin Sorin, P’96
Angela O. Terry
FACULTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2016-2017
The Faculty Advisory Committee provides a connection to new trends in research and teaching throughout the university and advises on program planning.
Kristine Stiles, Chair, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Thavolia Glymph, Associate professor, African and African American Studies
Brigid Hogan, Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology
Elizabeth Johnson, assistant research professor, Neurobiology, School of Medicine
Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts
Neil McWilliam, professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
William Noland, professor of the practice, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Richard Powell, Dean of the Humanities and John Spencer Bassett Professor of American, Afro-American and African Art, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Sumathi Ramaswamy, professor, History Department
Victoria Szabo, assistant research professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Ex officio (Nasher Museum staff):
Sarah Schroth, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director
Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art
Marianne Wardle, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs
Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Molly Boarati, assistant curator of exhibitions
Erin Hanas, academic programs coordinator
NASHER MUSE 2016-2017
Nasher MUSE, the student advisory board, plans student events, hosts “Art for All” evenings and works to bring every Duke student to visit the museum at least once during their time at Duke.
Gary Yeh T’17 Co-chair
Janie Booth T’19 Co-chair
Avery Carmichael T’17
George Elliott T’19
Livia Greene T’17
Brittany Halberstadt T’19
Adair Jones T’19
Allison Kenny T’17
Yuyi Li T’17
Charlotte McKay T’17
Arjun Ramesh T’19
Maia Walker T’19
Chief Curator Trevor Schoonmaker is heading up two projects that will have a major impact on the art world over the next two years: Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art in fall 2016 and Prospect.4 (P.4) in New Orleans in fall 2017. Trevor is Artistic Director of P.4, the fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international art exhibition. Dates have been announced: November 11, 2017, through February 25, 2018. Trevor, who is also Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum, has selected an international Artistic Director’s Council of seven artists and curators to recommend artists for inclusion in P.4, contribute to the project’s publication and take part in public programming at the opening. The council includes artist William Cordova, based in Miami; Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; Omar Lopez-Chahoud, independent curator and artistic director of Untitled, Miami; artist Wangechi Mutu, based in Nairobi and New York; Filipa Oliveira, independent curator and director of Fórum Eugénio de Almeida in Lisbon, Portugal; artist Ebony G. Patterson, based in Kingston, Jamaica, and Lexington, Kentucky; Zoe Whitley, curator of international art and contemporary British art at the Tate, London.
Trevor is also busy organizing Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, the first contemporary art exhibition to question and explore in-depth the complex and contested space of the American South. He is co-curator with Miranda Lash at the Speed Art Museum. The exhibition opens Sept. 1 at the Nasher Museum and will travel to the Speed, where it will be on view April 29 – August 20, 2017.
Since joining the Nasher Museum in 2006 as its first curator of contemporary art, Trevor has been instrumental in developing the museum’s collection of contemporary art.
The Nasher Museum book, Nasher10: Celebrating a Decade, won “Best of Show” in the 2015 Printing Industry of the Carolinas (PICA) awards program. Forty-seven North and South Carolina printers entered 631 pieces in the 2015 PICA awards. At a ceremony in April 2016, the Mac Papers Best of Show award was presented to TCG Legacy from Garner, NC, for printing Nasher10. The book was designed by Rachel Goodwin, graphic designer and web content manager, and edited by Wendy Hower, director of engagement and marketing, at the Nasher Museum. For more information on the book contact email@example.com.
Beth Perry is the Nasher Museum’s new Manager of Special Events. Beth has arrived from the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute here at Duke, where she managed special events for nearly five years. Some of you may have met Beth when she coordinated events here at the Nasher for the institute, including a two-day conference and huge retirement party in 2012 for William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor Emeritus of History at Duke, and FHI Annual Lecture events. Beth earned a bachelor’s degree in English at New York University and a master’s degree in English from Rutgers University.
Jessica Ruhle has been named “North Carolina Art Museum Educator of the Year” (2014-15) by the N.C. Art Education Association. This annual award recognizes museum educators who creatively engage all museum visitors, including students and teachers. Jessica was honored for her partnership with the East Durham Children’s Initiative and students at YE Smith Elementary School.
As part of the award, Jessica was also recognized for establishing Reflections: The Nasher Museum’s Alzheimer’s Project. This new initiative provides engaging and interactive museum tours to visitors who live with memory loss–and also their families and care partners. Reflections is already receiving international attention. This year, Jessica was invited to present in Belfast at IdeasLab 2015 on the topic “Dementia, Arts and Culture.” She will also represent the Nasher Museum at the Creative Aging Symposium in Greensboro and at “The Creative Age: Creativity and Aging in America” in Washington, DC.
Jessica has been at the Nasher Museum since 2010. In the Education department, she has been responsible for K-12 tours, teacher workshops and Family Day events. She now leads the Reflections program and directs the gallery guide program.
For the first time since our building opened in 2005, we now devote two thirds of our gallery space to our own collection. I am so proud of our freshly reconfigured The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light, a comprehensive and dynamic reinstallation of the museum’s collection. Eight galleries are dedicated to specific collection areas highlighting many of the museum’s masterworks while illustrating a history of human creativity. I am especially delighted with a new gallery dedicated to art from Mesoamerica, with its chocolate walls and wall case filled with stunning ceramics. At long last, we are presenting many of the museum’s best African masks, sculpture and beadwork. Just beyond the entrance, festooned with gorgeous Navajo rugs (on view for the first time ever), you’ll find our new Incubator, a flexible space for rotating student- and faculty-curated exhibitions. The new Incubator show is The Fleeting Image: Four Contemporary Artists.
Also in celebration of the museum’s 10th anniversary, we are presenting some of our most significant works from the contemporary collection. Reality of My Surroundings: The Contemporary Collection demonstrates the museum’s ongoing commitment to collecting contemporary work by global artists, with a focus on artists of African descent. This is a collaboration with the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Central Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art, which are highlighting artists of color at the same time.
This is your museum, and we can all take pride in the depth of our collection!
Don’t miss A Material Legacy: The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection of Contemporary Art, an exhibition that explores two distinct legacies: one of contemporary artists’ innovative use of materials, the other of philanthropy and collecting.
Please visit the beautiful mural by Odili Donald Odita on the Foster Street wall of the YMCA, entitled Time Bridge, inspired by the city of Durham. Our first public art project, commissioned for Nasher10, is already strengthening ties to our community in new ways. The mural visually connects to Odita’s wall painting in the Nasher, Shadow and Light (For Julian Francis Abele).
Before you visit the Nasher Museum, I invite you to peruse this website for stories and photographs of our events. A lively schedule of events, from curator talks to musical performances, can inspire visitors of all ages to make connections to great art. Please sign up for our e-newsletter to hear about this and other exciting events.
Because of the support and encouragement from Duke alumni, our members and visitors from Durham and around the world, the Nasher Museum is a place that welcomes and inspires the people who live, work and study here. Thank you!
Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
TOP: At a festive opening party, Nasher Museum Director Sarah Schroth, (far right), enjoys a tour of A Material Legacy: The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection.