New Mildred Lane Kemper Museum opens its doors
With a permanent collection including works from Washington University alumni to Pablo Picasso, the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum opens this Wednesday, showcasing its new permanent contemporary collection, which explores the notions of existence and subjectivity.
The University will place its renowned art pieces, collected over the last 125 years, in the Bernoudy Permanent Collection Gallery, located inside the newly built Kemper Museum. The Kemper Museum, now housed inside the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, is designed by renowned architect Fumihiko Maki.
The building will have three times more exhibition space than its previous location in Steinberg Hall. For the first time, the museum will showcase its permanent collection, entitled “Modernity and Self,” as well as other special collections of contemporary arts. The museum will open this fall with three special exhibitions on display through Dec. 31.
The first special installment, [Grid <> Matrix], is part of the series “Screen Arts and New Media Aesthetics” and is co-created by museum curator Sabine Eckmann and Lutz Koepnick, professor of German and film and media studies.
“[The exhibition] is a media exploration of the grid and matrix.throughout the 20th century,” said Kimberly Singer, communication and events coordinator for the museum.
“[The collection] deals with how technology and arts can merge,” said senior Rebecca Silverman, docent for special exhibitions at the museum. “I see it really as reconciliation between art and science and how we structure our lives around those two principles.”
[Grid <> Matrix] showcases analog grids by modern artists such as Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. The show also includes works of digital matrices by Andreas Gursky, Jeffrey Shaw and Olafur Eliasson.
The second installation, “Models and Prototypes,” focuses on works from the collection in new interpretive contexts.
“It explores the nature of models and their impact on art throughout the 20th century,” said Singer.
The collection examines the development and the relationship toward artistic approaches to models since the 1920s.
“[The exhibition] straddles the lines between models and prototypes,” added Silverman.
The final collection of the three exhibitions, entitled “Pure Invention: Tom Friedman,” showcases works by the renowned sculptor and University alumnus, Tom Friedman.
“Tom Friedman is a lot more humorous and a lot less intimidating than other contemporary artists,” said Silverman. “He uses everyday materials to address the concept of voids.”
The new Bernoudy Permanent collection features artworks that display various ways in which particular artists have dealt with the issue of subjectivity and self throughout the past three centuries. It highlights the ways in which artists have confronted their artistic identity in the face of radical social, political, economic and technological changes. Some of the famous works include: “Variation ‘N’” by Pablo Picasso, “The Eye of Silence” by Max Ernst and “Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap” by George Caleb Bingham. The exhibition is arranged thematically from Landscape and Portraiture to Abstraction and the Everyday.
In addition to galleries, the museum will display the 3,000 square foot Newman Money Museum, which features displays on the history of coins and currency, a numismatic library, a curator’s office and work areas for visiting scholars.
The museum will be free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to bring their parents to the museum, as special docent tours will be available during Parents’ Weekend.
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