Arts & Culture

New Documentary Speaks to Inspiration and the UK Art Museum

photo of Steve Zahn in UK Art Museum's permanent collection
Actor Steve Zahn looks at work from UK Art Museum's permanent collection in the documentary "MUSEUM."

Watch the documentary "MUSEUM" above.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 18, 2018) “MUSEUM,” a new short documentary that honors the significance of museums, is being simultaneously released 2 p.m. today (Thursday), Jan. 18, by several organizations involved in the Lexington art and culture community. They include the University of Kentucky Art Museum, UK Public Relations and Marketing, VisitLEX and Cornett.

With the University of Kentucky Art Museum as the backdrop, artists, patrons, staff, supporters and educators explore the concept of inspiration and dialogue that museums facilitate. “Images online are just information. Visiting a thoughtful exhibition is experience. ‘MUSEUM’ underscores what we as directors and curators do every day, creating significant experiences for individuals and our communities,” said Stuart Horodner, director of the UK Art Museum.

A collaboration between Horodner; Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX; and David Coomer, chief creative officer of Cornett, the film is a year in the making. It includes footage of three exhibition installations and opening receptions as well as interviews with artist Mike McKay, UK associate professor of architecture; poet Frank X Walker, UK professor of English; poet Julia Johnson, UK professor of English; supporter and collector Scott White; and actor Steve Zahn. They share how museums play instrumental roles in their lives making it clear that inspiration and serendipitous discovery is as powerful as any one exhibit.   

The video was conceived as Horodner and Ramer discussed ways of expanding the visibility of the modestly sized museum that presents temporary exhibits by historical and contemporary artists in addition to a permanent collection of approximately 5,000 works. They engaged Coomer, who brought his experience working with some of Kentucky’s most well-known brands, including UK Athletics, Keeneland, Valvoline, Buffalo Trace Distillery and Tempur-Sealy International.

Coomer stated, “There is a great transformation happening at the University of Kentucky and this renaissance across campus is nothing short of inspiring. The UK Art Museum plays a major role in this vision, through the creation of profound experiences that engage the entirety of the Commonwealth. They honor the heritage of great Kentucky artists while also showcasing contemporary masters from around the globe. This film invites the viewer to look beyond the familiarity of any one exhibit and embrace the museum as a place of shared-experiences and a source of personal inspiration.”    

“The UK Art Museum is a significant contributor to the cultural landscape of Lexington and the region. The vitality of the exhibits and public programs, plus the FREE admission policy, make it a must-see destination for art lovers of all ages,” Ramer said.

The launch of the documentary coincides with the opening of “Edward Melcarth: Points of View,” an exhibition of works by the Louisville-born artist whose works combine Old Master techniques with a modern sensibility to examine themes of mythology, religion, sexuality and drug use. One of the museum's contributions is the championing of Kentucky artists and helping to provide context and thoughtful consideration of their creative efforts. 

Members of the media as well as the public are welcome to attend the opening of “Edward Melcarth: Points of View” and other exhibitions this evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Located in the Singletary Center for the Arts on the UK campus, the museum attracts approximately 25,000 diverse visitors per year.