We ended 2018 on a high note! Hyperallergic, the most widely read art criticism and news outlet in the US, named our fall exhibition Jeffrey Gibson: This Is the Day one of the best shows of 2018. This marked the culmination of a groundbreaking year in which our exhibitions featured work by a dynamic group of contemporary artists from around the world—Frédéric Brenner, Margarita Cabrera, Wendy Ewald, Jeffrey Gibson, Fazal Sheikh, and Stephen Shore—and we received attention in news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, The New York Times T Magazine, and Artforum.
We were also busy building the museum’s collection continuing to create areas of depth in mediums like photography and printmaking, and focusing on diverse practitioners that present a plurality of viewpoints through their work. We acquired over 180 works of art for the collection in 2018 including a suite of woodblock prints by Yinka Shonibare CBE, a ceramic vessel by Christine Nofchissey McHorse, and a group of photographs by Ilse Bing, among other sculptures, prints, photographs, and drawings that entered the collection. We also commissioned our first video work—Jeffrey Gibson’s I was Here—which debuted in the exhibition This Is the Day and was supported through the Daniel W. Dietrich ’64 Arts Museum Programming Fund. We are thrilled that this exhibition will find a new audience when it travels to the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, where it will be on view July 14 – September 29, 2019.
In addition, in 2018, our Hamilton docent program grew to over 40 students—leading tours for their peers and Hamilton College classes, as well as community and K-12 groups, organizing and piloting new programs, and doing research on the exhibitions and collection. This past year, we welcomed 39 Hamilton College classes from such diverse disciplines as: archaeology, art history, communications, creative writing, geosciences, French, German, religious studies, and theatre.
We also completed our first 5-year strategic plan, which was both exhausting and exhilarating. Please find a link to it here.
And now onward to 2019! We have two exciting exhibitions as well as a number of acquisitions in the works among them a suite of photographs by Spencer Finch ’85 The Outer - From the Inner (Emily Dickinson's bedroom, dusk), 2018, seven incremental photographs created at Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst, MA which captures the view looking into her bedroom window as the sun sets. The spring semester exhibition Theaters of Fiction, curated by Katherine D. Alcauskas, Collections Curator and Exhibitions Manager, brings together a diverse group of artists with varying practices who explore the space of the theater itself: Rhona Bitner, Ceal Floyer, Candida Höfer, Lisa Kereszi, Guillermo Kuitca, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Carrie Mae Weems. We look forward to welcoming Bitner and Kereszi to the museum this spring to engage with classes and participate in public programs. The fall exhibition Elias Sime: Tightrope, marks the contemporary Ethiopian artist’s first major traveling survey in the United States and Canada, featuring artworks from 2003 through the present, including new works created for the exhibition. Elias Sime: Tightrope will be on view at the Wellin Museum of Art from September 7 – December 8, 2019, and will travel to travel to the Akron Museum of Art in Akron, Ohio; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. Organized by the Wellin, this will be our first exhibition to travel to three additional venues as well as the first to travel internationally.
Since opening in 2012, we’ve welcomed 70,000 to the museum and I hope that we’ve brought new and exciting perspectives to our students, faculty and community.