The Gund Gallery — named after Kenyon alumnus Graham Gund ’63 — opened its doors in 2011. Since then, it has become a center of artistic learning and expression for community members.
“It is a space for them to meet, to be together, to discover, to be surprised, to experience, and to engage,” Daisy Desrosiers, the new director of the Gallery, said.
Desrosiers’ favorite exhibition at the moment is Call/Response: The Gund Gallery Turns 10. This exhibition uses a selection of the Gund Gallery Collection as a point of departure for artists and audiences to engage. After a trial period in the fall, the spring semester will unveil an adapted re-hanging of the exhibition — presenting responses received from community members, class visits, loans from other collections and many other sources — to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Gallery’s opening.
For Desrosiers, the exhibition is the first step of a new mission. “We launch the next decade with a simple thought: What are the stories we haven’t told?” she said. “We want to look ahead by amplifying the unsung voices and narratives that could help us better understand what our collection encompasses.”
The Gallery already encompasses a wisdom beyond its years. Its landscape is diverse and complex, with various images, styles and artistic philosophies harmonizing and clashing with each other.
At the entrance to the Gallery, lyrics beckon from behind black curtains. Inside, The Visitors by Ragnar Kjartansson transforms a vantablack room into a musical panorama. Walking through the installation is like rediscovering a fading memory. Each screen welcomes viewers into the warm — yet isolated — worlds of each musician, as they perform “Feminine Ways” for over an hour. It invites viewers to contemplate melancholy, creativity and the importance of interpersonal connection.
Other pieces explore human experience from diverse angles. Faith Ringgold’s Dancing at the Louvre offers viewers a chance to contemplate Black femininity and its relationship to traditional Western culture, while Thomas Struth’s Milan Cathedral (Façade) explores scale and the subtle presence of medieval history in modern life.
The most striking aspect of the Gallery is its breadth of mediums. The understated honesty of the photo Georgia Nugent coexists with boldly feminist sculptures like Her. The Visitors emerges from a combination of forms, an intoxicating mix of music, film, and sculpture. This variety of mediums makes the Gund Gallery a deeply enriching experience.
But why care about art at all, and by extension, why participate in the Gallery’s future? Desrosiers has an answer. “I think caring about art is also caring about what we don’t know and, as such, art keeps us all engaged in active ways,” she said. “On an academic campus where learning and growing are central to the experience, those seem like important conditions for more promising and inspiring futures.”
Call/Response: The Gund Gallery Turns 10 will run until April 3, 2022.