Section: News

Donated artworks build gallery’s permanent collection

Donated artworks build gallery’s permanent collection

by Kristen Huffman

by Victoria Ungvarsky

Since its opening in 2011, the Gund Gallery has shown many exhibitions featuring exclusively loaned artwork. But thanks to a donation of art by Graham Gund ’63, the gallery’s namesake, and his wife, Ann, the gallery is amassing an impressive collection all its own. The Collegian contacted Gund’s secretary, Heidi Groo, but she did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

In an April 13 Student-Info email, Gund Gallery Director Natalie Marsh shared her enthusiasm for the donated collection. “We are truly honored to be granted the opportunity to steward these important works as they enter a new life in service to the ambitious educational mission of the Gund Gallery and Kenyon College,” Marsh wrote in the Student-Info. Marsh declined to comment for this article due to illness.

The collection features 80 works of art by prominent 20th- and 21st-century artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Kiki Smith and Pablo Picasso. Although some of the art is new to campus, some installations were already here. Several pieces are included in the Interventions and Color II exhibitions currently on display in the Gallery.

President Sean Decatur expressed his support for having acclaimed art on campus. “It’s great to have … great works of art ..  not just [in] the gallery but in other buildings across campus,”  Decatur said. “The fact that it shifts from being on loan to works that the College actually owns means that this is a legacy of enriching the campus that is going to go on in perpetuity, which is wonderful.”

Although many classes already take advantage of the resources of the gallery, the new acquisitions may allow professors to better integrate the permanent artwork into their curricula, Decatur said. “The problem with relying only on visiting exhibitions is that we may only have that piece available once to be used in a class.”

The desire to expand the relationship between fine art and the liberal arts is becoming a common theme at liberal arts colleges. The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College strives for a close relationship between the museum and the classroom, according to Andria Derstine, the director of the museum. Derstine said over 3,200 students came to visit the museum for class, many for multiple courses, and 34 departments or disciplines integrated visits to the museum into their fall 2014 semester.

“I’m so excited for Kenyon about this,” Derstine said. “The way we at Oberlin work with the collection and teaching, it’s really transformed how the museum is used and how faculty and students feel about the museum.” Derstine hopes Kenyon is able to achieve the same success with the new acquisitions.

Decatur believes Kenyon will soon be able to make use of the acquisitions. “As we continue to get the art catalogued, … we’ll actually have opportunities looking ahead to the fall for faculty across campus to get familiar with what the works are and what are some possibilities for engaging with the works and the curriculum,” he said. “Then we hope that there’d be opportunities for folks to take advantage of them.”

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