Summer 2016 Director’s Letter

Summer is often a season during which we seek rejuvenation and nourishment for our spirit and imagination. I hope that for many of you this might entail a trip to the Yale University Art Gallery for some quiet contemplation of our collections and exhibitions, either on your own or with family members and friends. You can spend as much time as you like during these visits, knowing that no one will charge you an entry fee or rush you along as you enjoy some of the 4,000 visual treasures on view in our three historic buildings on Chapel Street.

I look forward to welcoming you to the museum in May and June for Yale commencement, class reunions, and the public programs the Gallery is cosponsoring with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary in New Haven. I also encourage you to make a special effort to visit Everything Is Dada before it closes on July 3. Celebrating the centennial of the birth of Dada, the exhibition offers an in-depth look at this avant-garde movement, whose influence continues to ripple through the art world today. The show was assembled entirely from the museum’s strong collection of Dada works—a feat that only a handful of institutions around the world could accomplish. Exhibition curator Frauke V. Josenhans, the Horace W. Goldsmith Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, collaborated with Christopher Sleboda, Director of Graphic Design, and a team of graphic design students from the Yale University School of Art to create a special installation within the exhibition that is both thought-provoking and humorous.

This summer you can also view a complete reinstallation of the Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation Gallery of Art of the Ancient Americas. The dazzling new display of important cultural artifacts—many of which are new acquisitions on public view for the first time—was conceived by Mary Miller, the Sterling Professor of the History of Art, and Susan Matheson, the Molly and Walter Bareiss Curator of Ancient Art. Mary will be teaching an undergraduate seminar in the gallery this fall, and the reinstallation will be augmented by related public programming. The exhibition Weaving and the Social World: 3,000 Years of Ancient Andean Textiles, which opens on May 20, also explores art of the ancient American world.

On August 19, the exhibition Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830 opens at the Gallery. Organized by Patricia E. Kane, Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts, this major endeavor and the accompanying publication are the result of more than a decade of careful research and study, during which Pat has worked with and mentored a generation of young scholars. The Gallery is the sole venue for this visually stunning display of elegant furniture that was masterfully created by some of America’s first great designers and craftsmen.

Later this year, I will be taking some time for personal reflection and creative work as an artist during a six-month sabbatical afforded me by Yale President Peter Salovey. From July through December 2016, I will be assessing the many accomplishments the Gallery has achieved over the 18 years of my directorship, and developing plans that will continue to fortify this fine teaching museum leading up to and following my retirement at the end of academic year 2017–18. During my brief absence, the leadership of the Gallery will be placed in the very capable hands of acting co-directors Pamela Franks, Deputy Director for Exhibitions, Programming, and Education and the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; and Laurence Kanter, Chief Curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art. The three of us have worked together and with the Gallery’s dedicated staff and Governing Board for many years, and I know that Larry and Pam will keep steady hands on the tiller while I am away. You will find me back at your service in January 2017, fully reenergized and eager to help the museum continue to grow and thrive, as it has for 184 years.

Jock Reynolds

The Henry J. Heinz II Director

Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director

 

 

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