Zuckerman Art Museum opens at Kennesaw State University
BY HOWARD POUSNER - THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION A work of architectural flair with oddly…
Georgia (Feb 19, 2014) — BY HOWARD POUSNER - THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Link To Articlehttp://www.myajc.com/news/entertainment/zuckerman-art-museum-opens-at-kennesaw-state-unive/ndR9c/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstub1
A work of architectural flair with oddly angled metal panels and soaring glass, the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art boldly declares its presence on Kennesaw State University’s campus of mostly mundane red-brick buildings.
Starting with its grand opening on March 1, it hopes to command attention across the metro area, as well.
“By putting Zuckerman both physically and spiritually in the center of the campus, it makes a powerful statement,” said Catherine Lewis, executive director of KSU’s Museums, Archives and Rare Books department. “At most universities, the arts complex is off to the side. The arts are not seen as an adjunct to Kennesaw State’s mission but rather a central piece of it.”
Plans to build the museum gained momentum in 2010 after Bernard A. Zuckerman, a retired carpet manufacturer and arts patron, pledged $2 million if the school could raise $1 million.
The seed had been planted more than a decade earlier when Zuckerman donated a collection of more than 100 pieces of modernist carved stone and bronze-cast sculpture by his accomplished first wife, Ruth Zuckerman, not long after her 1996 death. KSU soon mounted a gallery retrospective, and an AJC reviewer praised the “superb, luscious” stonework as “humane, intimate and celebratory.”
Select pieces of Ruth Zuckerman’s work will be on view in the museum named for her husband, who died last year, and a catalog of the collection is being published in conjunction with the museum’s debut. Still, the focal point of four opening exhibits will be “See Through Walls,” in which 15 local and national artists or groups including Imi Hwangbo and Ben Goldman riff on the physical and psychological dimensions of architectural space.
Temporary site-specific works commissioned for the show include KSU alumni Sam Parker’s large mural that greets visitors above the reception desk of the main entrance, depicting a series of huts isolated atop rugged peaks and suggesting the walls we erect between each other.
Another commission, Annette Cone-Skelton’s “Brick,” is an astoundingly precise graphite pencil drawing of more than 4,000 bricks covering a 30-foot-wide painted gallery wall. The piece echoes the exterior facade of the adjacent Bailey Performance Center, connected to the museum via an upper level gallery-atrium.
KSU began building a well-regarded gallery program in 1984, launched by Roberta Griffin, now a professor emerita. In tandem with now-retired College of the Arts dean Joseph Meeks, Griffin gradually assembled a worthy permanent collection of late 19th and 20th century American art.
With the donation late last year of 5,000 prints from Southern Graphics Council International, the Zuckerman now claims a permanent collection approaching 6,000 pieces, a growing number of them from the 21st century.
Yet with three art galleries dotting the campus prior to the museum’s construction, and with its collection stored in a trio of scattered buildings, the gallery program’s profile was limited, especially beyond the university’s gates.
Thus the Atlanta-based firm Stanley Beaman & Sears was charged with making “a bold architectural statement” and creating “a landmark for visitors,” according to its mission statement.
The exterior flourishes continue inside the two-story, 9,200-square-foot structure featuring a dramatic staircase that rises in the 29-foot-high glass atrium to the upper gallery level.
Featuring gleaming concrete floors, the gallery level is split between open and walled exhibition spaces. Straight ahead off the staircase is the Ruth Zuckerman Pavilion, dedicated to the sculptor’s work, and the Malinda Jolley Mortin Gallery is just inside the Bailey Performance Center.
To the left off the staircase are three more intimate East Galleries. For the opening, they will showcase 76 pieces from the permanent collection, mainly paintings and works on paper, beside two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces from the “See Through Walls” show.
“Instead of the traditional model where we have the permanent collection and then a (separate) rotating exhibition space, we’d prefer for them to have a dialogue between one another,” Zuckerman Director Justin Rabideau said. “We really want to see our collection contextualized with local, regional, national and international artists so that it doesn’t just exist in a static realm.”
The museum is intended not just for a student body approaching 25,000 but also the community at large.
“We see ourselves as a conduit of information and dialogue between the campus and the larger community,” Rabideau said.
Education is a major consideration in the programming decisions of curatorial affairs director Teresa Bramlette Reeves and associate curator Kirstie Tepper. And a curriculum for students of Cobb and Cherokee county schools is in the works.
“Instead of just giving an artist a solo show or bringing in prepackaged exhibitions, we want to create meaningful exhibits that open up opportunities for engagement in the arts on many different levels,” Rabideau said.
Annette Cone-Skelton, artist and co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, said she sees the potential.
“The greater Atlanta area will benefit from the Zuckerman’s serious curatorial work and from its goal to build a scholarly collection,” she said. “The museum has an opportunity to become an important addition to the greater Atlanta area cultural community.”
Ironically, the Zuckerman opens just as Emory University’s Visual Arts Gallery shows its final exhibition. In 2012, Emory announced plans to close the gallery and, eventually, its Department of Visual Arts to focus on core programs.
That’s a very different picture than at KSU, where nearly 1,000 are enrolled in its College of the Arts, which offers eight undergraduate degrees and one master’s.
“One door closes and the other door opens here at Kennesaw,” Lewis said. “And in some ways it aligns with the university’s missions. Nobody goes to Emory for the arts program. They do at KSU. We’re a university of choice for that.”
Zuckerman Museum of Art
Opening reception, 6:30-9:30 p.m. March 1. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays and during Bailey Performance Center events. Free. Corner of Prillaman and Owl drives on the Kennesaw State University campus, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw. 770-499-3223, http://zuckerman.kennesaw.edu
March 1-April 26: “See Through Walls.”
March 1-summer 2015: “From Earth and Fire: Works by Ruth V. Zuckerman in the Permanent Collection.”
March 1-April 26: “Salon Style Highlights: 40 Years of the KSU Permanent Collection.”
May 17-July 5: “Second annual Walthall Fellowship Exhibition,” a show of WonderRoot’s 2013-14 honorees.
July 8-Aug. 2: “Virginia Dudley and American Modernism,” a retrospective of the late Georgia artist’s eclectic work.
July 26-Oct. 25: Installation by textile artist Rowland Ricketts and sound artist Norbert Herber.
Nov. 16-Feb. 21: “Geometric Al Jamia: A Cultural Transliteration,”paper-cut works and drawings influenced by Islamic design by American and Qatari artists.
Nov. 16-Feb. 21: “Laboratory,” featuring artists who translate scientific data into art.
KENNESAW — The air is electric at the Zuckerman Museum of Art on the campus of Kennesaw
Workmen are putting the final touches on the galleries, and artists are coming in to produce original works or assemble their pieces. Museum Director Justin Rabideau is overseeing the monumental team effort that has gone into the creation of the first museum in the university system of Georgia in 30 years.
The grand opening of the Zuckerman Museum of Art on March 1 will be the culmination of a plan to enlarge and unify the galleries at KSU. Grand opening events will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the museum on Kennesaw University’s main campus at the intersection of Prillaman and Owl drives.
The new state-of-the art facility features 9,200 square feet of open, airy galleries
and exhibition spaces.
The grand opening is free and open to the public. Spontaneous performances in dance, theater and music will take place throughout the evening to highlight the architecture of the building and University’s Arts District, which includes the Bailey Performance Center, Stillwell Theater and the Fine Arts Gallery.
“I believe that the Zuckerman Museum of Art has a unique opportunity to create a dynamic artistic experience for our metro Atlanta and north Georgia communities, offering a gateway into a global creative spirit, enriching and enlivening the campus and our community,” Rabideau said.
The new museum is also the first of its kind in metro Atlanta in 10 years and the intent, Rabideau said, is to provide an artistic experience to everyone, from art aficionados to casual observers.
“From visiting artists, workshops, internships and arts outreach, the Zuckerman Museum of Art offers students and the community an opportunity to experience something truly exceptional,” he said.
The museum uses an interdisciplinary approach to create exhibitions and arts-related programming that reaches audiences on different levels.
The concept is that “the arts are for everyone and everyone can enjoy the arts,” Rabideau said.
That means admission and parking will always be free to everyone.
The museum is open each Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outreach and arts education will be a hallmark of the museum, which provides outlets for research at the facility and attempts to make the art world more accessible for the community.
“We see ourselves as a laboratory for experimentation,” Rabideau said.
The message is clear: come in, stay awhile, engage the arts and explore.
The museum employs a full-time outreach and education coordinator.
The Baily Performance Center atrium will feature the works of KSU’s faculty. Other areas will combine the works of new, up-and-coming artists, with contemporary works of art, student art, faculty art, etc.
With the grand opening exhibits, the focus is on architecture and a sense of place.
Architectural firm Stanley Beaman & Sears designed the Zuckerman Museum of Art with a soaring glass exterior and had artistic influence in the massive wall panel adjacent to the stairs in the museum entrance. The wall is a modern, yet retro, rendering of the topographical map of the land upon which the museum sits.
The Salon highlights 40 years of the KSU permanent collection, both modern and classic, combined under a unified theme of “place,” notes Museum Curator Teresa Bramlett Reeves. “It’s sort of a taste treat.”
Works of art are displayed from floor to ceiling in the tradition of 19th century
art galleries. Exhibited artists include Thomas H. Benton, Athos Menaboni, William
Sonntag and Karen Appel.
The upstairs atrium of the Zuckerman Museum of Art is filled with light and in the distance but clearly visible is the profile of Kennesaw Mountain, lending further inspiration. The staff plans arts-related movies and evenings under the stars on the terrace of the museum.
The museum was made possible by a $2 million gift of the late Bernard A. Zuckerman.
Community sponsors, including the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Leo Delle
Lassiter Jolley Foundation, gave another $1 million matching donation with support
from the KSU Foundation.
The works of Zuckerman’s wife, the late Ruth Zuckerman, will be prominently featured in the Zuckerman gallery. A prolific sculptor in stone and bronze, “From Earth and Fire: Works by Ruth Zuckerman,” take center stage in the museum’s atrium.
“For the grand opening, we’re really going to focus on Ruth Zuckerman’s works,” Rabideau
said. A catalogue of her work is also being produced to accompany the exhibit.
“The whole idea for our grand opening was not to just highlight what we do here but to highlight the arts in general,” Rabideau said. “All will come together for the crescendo at the end of the event.”
The museum staff includes Rabideau; Reeves, director of curatorial affairs; Kirstie Tepper, associate director of curatorial affairs; Matthew Harper, registrar and collection manager; and Katy Malone, outreach and education director. The Zuckerman Museum of Art is one division of the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books under the direction of Catherine M. Lewis.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.