One of the largest museums in the heart of America has received a major donation of more than 100 contemporary artworks by some of the most prominent artists of the last century.
The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, has officially received 177 works owned by Alfred Shands, its former chairman, and his wife, Mary. These works are now scheduled to appear in a display of the collection at the museum in March this year which will be organized by Julian Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art at Speed and an old friend of the couple.
Chandsis’ will may lack statement pieces by notable artists often associated with large-scale donations, but it is rich in important works by personalities that have been critically acclaimed.
Through will, Speed will now own Ursula von Rydingsvard’s sculpture more than eight feet tall; ceramics Beatrice Wood, Betty Woodman, Ken Price, Peter Volkus and other masters of the medium; Large circular sculpture of Anish Kapoor; two abstractions by Howard Hodgkin; And a giant installation designed by Petah Coyne that includes ribbons, candle, faux birds, and more.
There are also pieces by Siah Aramajani, Martin Puryear, Elizabeth Murray, Sara Vanderbeek, Javier Pérez, Maya Lin, Peter Williams and Alfredo Jaar, as well as a few newcomers like Summer Wheat and Kiah Celeste.
In an email, Tyler Blackwell, Curator of Contemporary Art at Speed, noted that many of these artists had not previously been represented on the Speed group at all. He described the gift as “awesome”.
“This gift truly transforms the museum’s contemporary holdings, and the exhibition in 2023 will provide an opportunity to see many works together one last time before re-contextualizing them within the Speed collection,” said Blackwell. “That’s what Shands intended – so that these works could finally be shown and contemplated by a more audience.”
Mary Shands passed away in 2009, and Alfred Shands passed away last year. Both were considered prominent patrons of the local art scene during their lifetime. Marie once headed the Kentucky Arts and Crafts Foundation, also in Louisville, and in 2016, Alfred formed the Great Meadows Foundation, which provides funding for artists in Kentucky and the surrounding area.
The two initially started collecting ceramics and soon branched out into other mediums. They had long planned to bequeath the collection to Speed with the goal of dramatically changing the museum. In 2015, Alfred . said mail magazine“When I’m gone, all this will be dispersed in ways to the Museum of Speed, and it will never be the same.”
Director Rafaella Vogel said that now that the group has moved, Speed is really a completely different organization.
“Mary and Al believed in the power of art to transform their beloved community, which has been the driving force behind their talents to speed and their passion for art collecting,” she wrote in an email. “This wonderful collection was created with the intent to be awarded to Speed and other organizations in the country, and we are very grateful for their insight and generosity.”