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In this report, spanning July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, a wonderful year emerges through pictures, numbers and stories. We presented three major exhibitions and five special gallery exhibitions – installing art on 4,350 linear feet of gallery walls. We acquired 443 works of art, published two full-color exhibition catalogues and hosted 16 visual artists for public talks and demonstrations. We guided 5,236 school children on tours, welcomed 2,629 university students to study the collection and hosted visitors from around the globe (the farthest-away visitor traveled 9,798 miles ... from New South Wales, Australia.)

From the Director

Nasher Museum Director Sarah Schroth. Photo by J Caldwell.
Nasher Museum Director Sarah Schroth. Photo by J Caldwell.

Greetings! I am pleased to present our 2017 online Annual Report.

Last year was thrilling because of two major traveling exhibitions of contemporary art that originated here at the Nasher Museum. Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art was a beautiful example of what we do best: organize a groundbreaking contemporary exhibition, publish an accompanying scholarly catalogue, attract diverse audiences with exciting programs, teach a new chapter of art history, feature global artists of color, and invite meaningful dialogue and debate.

Our role in meaningful conversations about race, identity and authority continued with Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush. The exhibition was a 10-year survey of approximately 30 of the artist’s paintings, watercolors and collages. Abney also painted a large wall mural on our entrance wall of the exhibition. This was the first major loan exhibition organized by curator Marshall Price, who began researching this project three years ago, even before he came to the Nasher from the National Academy Museum in New York. Marshall edited the exhibition catalogue, which was chosen by art critics at The New York Times for its list of Best Art Books of 2017. The exhibition is traveling to venues in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

Faculty and Student Connections

We were delighted with meaningful partnerships with Duke faculty last year. Thomas F. DeFrantz, professor and chair of Duke’s African and African American Studies Department, and SLIPPAGE presented an exhilarating performance of a dance duet in response to Kara Walker’s Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) prints.

The Contemporary Collection

Our other large exhibition last spring inspired us all to slow down and think about ways that art can contribute to our overall good health. All Matterings of Mind: Transcendent Imagery from the Contemporary Collection featured dreamy, magical works from our contemporary collection. The title came from a beautiful print by David Benjamin Sherry, a gift from, Katherine and Terrance Kerr. Assistant Curator Molly Boarati’s first major exhibition at the Nasher Museum is complemented by new programs, including a film series and a pop-up mini wellness fair co-hosted by Duke student groups and featuring massage, yoga in the Great Hall and Tibetan singing bowls.

The Collection Grows

In The Collection Galleries, our curators continued to refresh the galleries with gems from our collection. Highlights last year included curator Marshall Price’s new installation from the photography collection and, in our Medieval gallery, two recently conserved works of Medieval stained glass. The museum’s co-partnership with Duke Chapel and the Divinity School brought us Miserere et Guerre, an installation of 58 stunning prints by French artist Georges Rouault in the Incubator Gallery. In the American gallery, we have been proud to show off a significant painting by American modernist Archibald Motley, Hot Rhythm (1961), which the artist’s heirs, Dr. Mara Motley and Valerie Gerrard Browne, gifted in honor of Richard J. Powell, Duke’s John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, and C.T. Woods-Powell. We also received a generous gift of 284 works from Blake Byrne, who has an inimitable eye. This gift gives an incredible boost to our growing contemporary art collection and also offers a window into Blake’s passion and personal vision. Read more about our other recent art acquisitions in this Annual Report.

We Miss You, Barkley

We were shocked to lose artist and friend Barkley L. Hendricks, who passed away on April 18, 2017. Barkley was a great painter and an amazing human being. He and his wife Susan visited the Nasher so often, they became part of the Nasher family. The Nasher hosted a memorial tribute to Barkley and also presented Barkley L. Hendricks: Works from the Collection, at the entrance to Wilson Pavillion. The six works (three paintings and three photographs) are part of the Nasher Museum’s collection.

Thank You

Late last year, we said a reluctant farewell to Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, who stepped down after 12 years, and his wife Cynthia Brodhead, a founding member of our national board of advisors. The Brodheads have so faithfully supported and truly loved the Nasher’s exhibitions; we thought it fitting to establish the “Cynthia and Richard H. Brodhead Fund for Exhibitions” as a legacy in their honor.

Due to the generous assistance of Duke alumni, our members and visitors from Durham and around the world, the Nasher Museum is one of the area’s most exciting cultural institutions, a place that welcomes and inspires the people who live, work and study here. Thank you for embracing the Nasher as your museum and making the Nasher Museum truly special by supporting the exhibitions, programs, scholarship, publications and experiences that would not be possible without you.

To show your SUPPORT for all that the Nasher has accomplished in just over a decade, please become a MEMBER or consider a GIFT. It will be deeply appreciated.

Sarah Schroth
Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke Universit

Featured Featured Articles

Concentration in Museum Theory and Practice Begins

The Nasher Museum launched a new Concentration for undergraduates in collaboration with Duke’s Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies in the fall of 2016. The Concentration is limited to Art History majors, bu...


Featured Featured Articles

Gift from Blake Byrne Strengthens Nasher’s Contemporary Collection

Duke graduate E. Blake Byrne (T’57) made a gift of 284 works of art to the Nasher Museum in spring of 2017, on the occasion of his 60th reunion at Duke. The gift strengthens the Nasher Museum’s growing collection of contem...


Acquisitions to the Collection


Financials, 2016-17

Donor List, 2016-2017

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