From the Director
Happy New Year!
As I look ahead to our exhibitions and acquisitions in 2019, I see the canon of art history. It has grown to make room for an expansion of many new chapters—new and revised stories about artists and art movements among people who were here first, who were here all along, who previously have been left out of textbooks, exhibitions and collections.
These stories vastly enrich and redefine the existing narrative.
We are excited to embark on a “year of the Americas” at the Nasher Museum this spring and fall. The year is bookended by exhibitions that feature Latin American artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s and contemporary Native American artists, from Canada to Brazil. These are exciting new topics to explore in canon-changing exhibitions, and they fit within the continuum of our ongoing work at the Nasher. Since the museum opened in 2005, we have emphasized artists who are often underrepresented, overlooked or excluded from art institutions. As always, the Nasher Museum strives to be a place where art helps us to make sense of the world and where meaningful conversations unfold every day.
You’ll be amazed at the breadth of work in our regional photography exhibition, Across County Lines: Contemporary Photography from the Piedmont, on view for several more weeks. These 39 talented photographers express themselves through tintype, installation, portrait, abstract composition, landscape and still life.
Don’t miss Deborah Willis, the well-known art historian, curator, photographer and filmmaker (as well as mother of artist Hank Willis Thomas, whose work is in our collection). She will deliver the Annual Semans Lecture on Thursday, April 25, at 7 PM.
We often do not think of America as a huge, sprawling single continent. This concept gave rise to our major groundbreaking exhibition this spring, Pop América, 1965 – 1975. Faculty guest curator Esther Gabara opens our eyes and minds by turning “Pop!” into a verb and invites us to see Pop art in America with new understanding. For the first time, this exhibition will demonstrate how Latin American and Latino/a artists have contributed significantly to the Pop art movement. Though lesser known to U.S. audiences, these artists’ careers paralleled those of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and their other U.S. and European counterparts.
Speaking of discoveries, a treasure trove of glass plate negatives hidden for 50 years in a Durham tobacco barn is the subject of Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897-1922, our upcoming Incubator exhibition. Mangum was a self-taught photographer who ran a mobile portrait studio during the segregationist laws of the Jim Crow era. His portraits reveal a clientele that was both racially and economically diverse. Two faculty colleagues from Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris, deftly organized this fascinating document of life in the South at the turn of the 20th century.
I am thrilled to announce that the Nasher Museum is one of just 10 American museums selected to host a new paid summer internship program for college students from underrepresented communities. We need programs like this one to remove barriers and create opportunities for young, creative students of color. We must widen the net to find and nurture future talented art museum professionals! We are grateful to the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and National Endowment for the Arts for this grant.
Join me in welcoming Tamara Holmes Brothers, our new Director of Development and Major Gifts, who has energized us already with her love for art and exciting ideas. As always, I am proud of our entire Nasher team. They are ambitious and tireless, yes, but they also take time to be kind and supportive.
Later this spring, keep an eye out for a visionary new development on Campus Drive, between the Nasher Museum and Rubenstein Arts Center. We plan to coax these buildings to extend beyond their walls and bring the arts outward. Soon, we will take our scholarly pursuits out into the fresh air and among the trees as we experience new outdoor works of art.
I look forward to seeing all of you at the museum this semester. The Nasher Museum is your art museum! Come and see us as we continue to build an inspiring, accessible, diverse and forward-thinking community.