Greetings! I invite you to explore our 2015 Annual Report, available online. For the sake of the environment, and along with many other museums across the country, the Nasher Museum has issued this year’s annual report online only. I would be interested to know if you find the online version helpful (or cannot do without a printed version)! Email us.
The year 2015 is significant in the history of this museum. Ten years ago, the Nasher Museum opened its doors to the public on October 2, 2005. During much of this fiscal year (ending July 1, 2015), in addition to mounting exhibitions, the museum was engaged in planning for the fall celebrations to mark our 10th anniversary, branded Nasher10. As part of Nasher10, we commissioned two murals from artist Odili Odita─one for the Nasher and one for downtown Durham. The two murals, in the distinct style of Odita, are intended to serve as a visual link between the museum and its community, and reflect the motto of Nasher 10: the Nasher Museum is your museum.
This past year leading up to Nasher10 has been very productive and ambitious! In the fall we opened two major exhibitions. Robert Rauschenberg: Connecting and Collecting was the idea of Duke Professor Kristine Stiles, who conducted a year-long seminar to give undergraduate students a curatorial experience. They worked directly with the Rauschenberg Foundation, which generously loaned 34 works by one of our greatest contemporary artists, from all phases of his career. The class used the Rauschenberg loans to create a show demonstrating Rauschenberg’s connection with works from the Nasher’s own collection. Joan Miró: the Experience of Seeing also opened in the fall, the first exhibition to focus on the last 20 years of Miró’s oeuvre. All loans came from Spain, lent the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. The bronze sculptures in particular surprised everyone; it was a rare chance to see these whimsical, inventive creations. Extremely popular, it drew more than 35,000 visitors.
Nearly 800 visitors came to the opening of Area 919: Artists in the Triangle, our first survey of noteworthy work by exciting artists who live nearby. In the spring, we presented contemporary art from the collection of Blake Byrne, including works by Warhol, Kippenberger and Rusche─an exhibition now traveling to three other university art museums around the country. Colour Correction: British and American Screenprints 1967-75 was the brainchild of Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary art, who discovered in our storage an almost complete set of prints from the golden age of screenprinting. It made a striking exhibition, and offered our education department endless opportunities for teaching the process to children and adults, who made their own screenprints.
During the summer of 2015, our staff worked hard on an extensive reconfiguration of newly named Wilson Pavilion. The installation, entitled: The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light, opened in August. Eight new galleries allow all areas of the collection to be seen for the first time since we opened in 2005. We hope to develop a sense of pride and ownership by presenting our strongest works in the best possible light.
Other important events this year include the naming of two pavilions, thanks to the generosity of alumnus Derek Wilson and his wife Christen and their family, and Duke parents Anjali and Prakash Melwani. What we once called “Pavilion 3” is now Wilson Pavilion; the education pavilion, with classrooms, staff offices and the museum store, has been named the Prakash and Anjali Melwani Pavilion.
In addition, we prepared for the publication of the book Nasher 10: Celebrating a Decade, which covers our first 10 years in words and pictures. I’d like to share some wonderful numbers gathered for the book: Since 2005, 1 million visitors, (from 50 states and Washington, D.C., and 66 foreign countries), over 73,000 K-12 museum and classroom visits, 21,000 adult tours, over 3,000 members, more than 34,000 Duke undergraduate visitors, 13 Duke faculty who have guest-curated their own exhibitions, (five of whom published groundbreaking research in accompanying catalogues), 16 catalogues published by the Nasher Museum and distributed worldwide by Duke University Press. We have presented 70 exhibitions – 46 full-pavilion shows and 24 by faculty or staff.
How has the Nasher Museum been able to achieve all of this? The answer is fourfold. Duke University supports our activities on all levels – in addition to providing funds for most of the staff salaries. Foundations, federal and state governmental agencies, individual donors and Duke alumni and friends in the community and around the world have been exceedingly generous. Talented Duke faculty and students acknowledge the value of the Nasher and participate wholeheartedly, showing real interest and commitment. Last, but certainly not least, the Nasher Museum is blessed with a remarkable, creative and indefatigable professional staff of 37 persons, as well as expert gallery guides and student interns, all of whom make the magic happen.
Many, many thanks to you all for the essential part you have played. This annual report was created for you.
Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
(Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 2015)
The first book of the Nasher Museum’s history, Nasher10, has been published on the occasion of the museum’s tenth anniversary. This 200-page keepsake publication celebrates the museum’s collections, exhibitions, educational innovations and community involvement over the past decade while looking forward to future decades. Through more than 400 beautiful photographs, a richly illustrated timeline and lively storytelling, the pages of Nasher10 present the Nasher Museum as a major arts center that contributes to the cultural fabric of Durham and the Research Triangle region while also taking a meaningful role in the international art conversation. The book chronicles the history of the museum, starting with its quiet beginnings in 1969 in a former classroom building on Duke’s East Campus as the Duke University Museum of Art. A decades-long effort by benefactor Raymond D. Nasher and others resulted in the building of a new art museum worthy of Duke’s superior rank among the nation’s universities. Another important story in Nasher10 is the museum’s special collection emphasis on work by artists of African descent and global, emerging artists of color. This curatorial focus is ideal for a museum located in Durham, historically a capital of entrepreneurship and innovation for the African American community.
For more information on the book contact Wendy Hower, director of engagement and marketing, at email@example.com