Dear Friends & Curious Members of the Community,

When most people think of an art museum, the first thing that comes to mind is, well, art. Specifically, art in exhibition galleries.

Indeed, an art museum’s curatorial program is an important part of the institution, but exhibiting art is only half of the story. The other half is the educational component, what we in the museum field call interpretation and engagement. As a scholarly, educational institution, a museum is responsible for interpreting the objects it collects and displays—this involves essentially “making meaning” for the objects and helping make objects relevant to our lives. We call this process sensemaking.

As a kunsthalle (a non-collecting museum), we don’t have a permanent collection, but we are hard at work on over a dozen exhibitions that will fill the galleries over the first few years. However, you don’t have to wait for the Museum to open our doors to engage with our programming.

ku n st h a l l e | noun
german for “art hall”
: a contemporary art museum without a permanent collection
: a noncollecting, flexible exhibition space designed to showcase, not collect, art first known use
: mid-19th century germany, austria, and switzerland

Past programming has included art world luminaries such as Jerry Saltz, Lowery Sims, Kenny Schachter, Judy Pfaff, Tony Podesta, Janet Echelman, Todd Levin, Linda Yablonsky, and Laura Hoptman. Our spring 2018 programming season focused on “Experience and Experimentation,” examining the pioneers— both makers and viewers—who push boundaries and explore new territory. Highlights included Ringling College alum and Los Angeles-based artist Christian Sampson’s installation and artist talk at The Works, and Ruth Ericson’s “How an art school can change the world,” an examination of the influential Black Mountain College, where John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Ruth Asawa, Buckminster Fuller, and others began and advanced their careers.

So far this academic year, we’ve learned about how an important topologist influenced a famous fashion designer with his mathematical explorations into the shape of the universe. We were inspired by sustainable “mini living” as the architectural duo SO-IL shared their collaboration with BMW’s Mini division, and we traversed the challenging landscape of institutional and systemic discrimination with Susan Cahan’s brilliant research on the art museum in her recent book Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power. Terrol Dew Johnson and Chris Lasch (Aranda/Lasch) inspired us with a collaboration bringing together ancient Tohono O’odham basket weaving traditions and cutting edge computer aided design techniques.

At numerous Open House events, we have met with many of you and other members of the community to share our curatorial and connoisseurship expertise, delve into value and quality in works of art, and discuss an overview of the curatorial vision of the Museum.

And this is just the beginning. You won’t want to miss our upcoming programming, so stay informed about what’s happening at the Museum by signing up for our email at www.ringling.edu/museum and following the Sarasota Museum of Art on Facebook. We hope you stop by and look forward to seeing you on our Museum Campus as we continue to offer educational and experiential programming.

ANNE-MARIE RUSSELL
Executive Director
Sarasota Museum of Art