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Duke students explored the museum's Mesoamerican collection as part of the undergraduate course, Aztecs and Mayans.

In this report, spanning July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, a remarkable year emerges. Words and pictures tell stories of people finding inspiration from art during a year when the museum was closed to the public. We installed 49 works of art in 14 locations for the museum’s first-ever outdoor exhibition. We distributed more than 12,500 art objects throughout Durham. We acquired extraordinary artworks for the museum collection. We designed and built three virtual exhibitions. Artists, curators and scholars engaged with global audiences through 21 virtual events that we hosted. A major highlight:  Artist Ebony G. Patterson talked with Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History at Duke, for the Annual Rothschild Lecture. A video of their conversation was featured in the Frieze Art Fair in New York. Duke student interns examined and wrote descriptions of 3,065 works of art in our collection. Museum staff produced 15 videos, including Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 – 1960, a 12-minute mini documentary about the major exhibition co-organized by the Nasher Museum and Colby College Museum of Art, arriving here next fall. Our gallery guides and Education staff were busy delivering virtual activity sessions to 4,236 K-12 students. Of those, 446 schoolchildren were from N.C. schools located 100 or more miles away from Duke and 157 schoolchildren Zoomed from outside of North Carolina. Gallery guides also engaged with 577 adults in virtual sessions. They hosted 150 online sessions with visitors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers as part of our Reflections Program. Nearly 1,000 Duke students and faculty visited by appointment to study art and visit the galleries.

From the Director

Director Trevor Schoonmaker poses in front of MamaRay by artist Wangechi Mutu.
Director Trevor Schoonmaker poses in front of MamaRay by artist Wangechi Mutu in the museum's Great Hall.

I am proud to present our 2021 online Annual Report (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021) — a year of many accomplishments and successes during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The pandemic pushed us to creatively execute an entire art exhibition outdoors for the first time: RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by Carrie Mae Weems. We installed 49 works in 14 locations, including the Durham (bus) station, the Stanford L. Warren Library and Durham Technical College. We distributed more than 12,500 art objects—buttons, stickers, posters, tote bags, lawn signs, church fans and more—throughout Durham.  We are grateful to our partners Duke Arts and Duke Health for helping to realize this exhibition and bring it to Duke and the surrounding community.




Lauren Haynes, named Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Senior Curator of Contemporary Art in February 2021, poses with a 2019 work by Firelei Báez, Tignon for Ayda Weddo (or that which a center can not hold). Photo by J Caldwell.

Highlights from 2021 Acquisitions


Acquisitions to the Collection 2021

Duke Arts, Nasher Museum and Duke Health Launch Outdoor Exhibition: RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!

Twilight view of the Nasher's sculpture garden and a RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! banner. Photo by Robert Zimmerman.
Twilight view of the Nasher's sculpture garden and a RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! banner. Photo by Robert Zimmerman.

The Nasher Museum collaborated with Duke Arts and Duke Health to present an unprecedented outdoor exhibition and public awareness campaign by nationally renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems. The project, called RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!, emphasizes the disproportionate impact of the deadly virus on the lives of communities of color, through large-scale banners and window clings, posters, street signs and more

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Duke University’s Nasher Museum Makes a Major Curatorial Hire with Lauren Haynes

After it promoted its acclaimed chief curator Trevor Schoonmaker to the status of director, Duke University’s art museum has made a significant curatorial hire. Lauren Haynes has been named senior curator at the Nasher Mus...

view article on artnews | Published March 11, 2021

Nasher Museum Joins Google Arts & Culture

The Nasher Museum joined Google Arts & Culture, which offers virtual experiences of thousands of the world’s great museums. Visitors may download the app for free and zoom in close to view important works in the Nasher Museum’s collection. The Nasher has brought many artists to Google Arts & Culture for the first time.

Featured Featured Articles

Graphic Pull: Our Largest Virtual Exhibition

The Nasher Museum has launched its newest and most comprehensive virtual exhibition, Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints...


Featured Featured Articles

A Bibliography for Anti-Racism: Reading Black Art

Nearly every day in the summer of 2020, Adria Gunter was met with a fast-scrolling barrage of headlines, videos, audio clips and words of outrage over the brutalization of Black people. Catalyzed by the murders of George F...


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What You Didn’t Know About Barkley L. Hendricks

“The portraits he is best known for usually started with a photograph, which he would take liberties from,” said Trevor Schoonmaker, director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C., who in 2008 orga...

view article on The New York Times | Published May 14, 2021

As Above

The exterior walls of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and Rubenstein Arts Center form a huge outdoor gallery for the project RESIST COVID / TAKE 6! by artist Carrie Mae Weems. Drone footage by Chip Bobbert.
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Duke Class experiences RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!

Duke Professor Rebecca Stein, a leading scholar in the field of Middle Eastern studies, and 15 undergraduate students in her Human Rights on Camera class visited the Nasher Museum to experience the outdoor art installation...

12 Images Published

N.C. Dancers Respond to RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!

12 North Carolina artists were selected by the American Dance Festival to perform in front of several installations of the outdoor exhibition RESIST COVIDE / TAKE 6! created by artist Carrie Mae Weems.

Graphic Pull

Molly Boarati, Associate Curator, who organized Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Collection.
Molly Boarati, Associate Curator, who organized Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Collection.

The Nasher Museum presented Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Collection, an exhibition that highlighted numerous printmaking techniques from the Nasher Museum’s collection with works dating from the 1970s to today. Including both traditional and unconventional printing methods, the exhibition explored how contemporary artists have continued to use this age-old graphic form while also expanding on its processes and definitions. Whether pulled from a press or printed by hand, the works on view emphasize the irresistible qualities of the medium that have made it an effective means of artistic expression for millennia.

Due to the pandemic this exhibition was viewed in person by very few, but was accompanied by our largest virtual exhibition as well as three artist interviews (see below).

A Trio of Artist Interviews

One Curator. Three Artists. One Amazing Series. Watch Associate Curator Molly Boarati’s interview artists Bill Fick, Stacy Lynn Waddell and Pedro Lasch about their printmaking practice and their work in the exhibition Graphic Pull: Contemporary Prints from the Collection.
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Nina Chanel Abney Imagines a Queer Black Utopia

In 2017, her first solo museum exhibition, a 10-year retrospective organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C., traveled across the country, and her paintings are now included in collections ar...

view article on The New York Times | Published November 20, 2020

Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 – 1960

"Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948 – 1960" is a 12-minute mini documentary video about the first major museum exhibition to reintroduce a beloved Pop artist to U.S. audiences. Most Americans know Lichtenstein for his comics-inspired Pop imagery. In this new video, the camera sweeps across Lichtenstein’s early paintings, sculptures and works on paper rarely seen, while co-curators Elizabeth Finch and Marshall N. Price offer scholarly insights and art historical context. Viewers catch glimpses of the late artist’s paint jars and canvases in his well-preserved West Greenwich Village studio, where Jack Cowart, founding executive director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, shares personal memories of the artist’s humor, ambivalence and loyalty about preserving his own early work. Surprise and amazement registers on the faces of young artists Nina Chanel Abney, Pedro Lasch, Stacy Lynn Waddell and Allison Zuckerman, who see examples of Lichtenstein’s early paintings and drawings for the first time. The contemporary artists, who studied Lichtenstein in art school, share feelings about their own “cringey” early work.

The video "Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making" examines the period before the dot; that is, Lichtenstein’s signature use of Benday dots in his Pop paintings. Viewers will gain an understanding of the crucial role this work played in his maturation into one of the masters of Pop art. A human story emerges, relatable to any viewer who grew into a profession over the course of many years.

The exhibition opens at the Nasher Museum late summer 2022.
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Why Did Artists Like Archibald Motley Paint Stereotypical Black Figures? To Understand, We Must Consider the History of Black Visual Satire

Art critics were not alone in their confusion over works such as Motley’s Lawd, Mah Man’s Leavin’. During the two-year run of “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” (an exhibition I curated in 2014 for the Nasher Museum of...

view article on artnet news | Published February 16, 2021

[María Berrío's] work has this connection between humanity and nature. She makes it clear that we’re all part of the same ecosystem.

Trevor Schoonmaker, Director, Nasher Museum, in an interview with Siddhartha Mitter in W magazine, March 5, 2021

Episode No. 487 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Marshall N. Price and Elizabeth Finch

Price and Finch are the co-curators of Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948-60. The exhibition examines Lichtenstein’s early work, with particular attention to Lichtenstein’s synthesis of European modernism, American painting and contemporary vernacular sources.

Financials, July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Donor List, July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

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