Arts & Culture

UK Art Museum Presents 4 New Exhibitions

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 12, 2022) — The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky is opening four art exhibitions beginning today.

The exhibitions include:

  • “Acquisitions, Donations, Connections,” symbolizing the connection between historical periods and artists.
  • Guy Mendes’ “Cohorts,” featuring photographs of certain artists.
  • Francisco de Goya’s “Los Disparates,” depicting creatures that represent humanity and cruelty.
  • The "re:museum" exhibit, which presents UK’s permanent collection and showcases the museum itself.

All four exhibitions run through July 30, and are free and open to the public. Read more about each exhibit below.

“Acquisitions, Donations, Connections”

This exhibition features numerous works that have entered the museum’s permanent collection in recent years and reveals how they relate to other art already in the museum. The museum’s goal is to add examples of underrepresented artists to fill gaps in historical periods, media and subject matter. Building on existing strengths and expanding holdings of specific artists and areas is also a strategic goal of the museum. Using collection-dedicated funds, art is acquired from temporary exhibitions and by acclaimed photographers who have lectured as part of the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series.  

The museum has also tried to make up for decades of neglecting works by women and artists of color. Adding new works recognizes the capacity to form deeper connections between individual artists and historical periods, as well as offering wider curatorial possibilities for thematic groupings.  

Artists Clifford Amyx, Craig Drennen and LeRoy Neiman present examples of how to document basketball culture. Judy Ledgerwood’s visceral painting from 2010 finds kinship with a Michael Goldberg canvas from 1961 and a 1964 lithograph by Andy Warhol. Generational peers William Baziotes and Reuben Kadish depict the female body in watercolor and bronze. Eric Renner’s pinhole camera prints and Joel Feldman’s Polaroids study moody, experimental landscapes. LaVon Van Williams, Jr. carves wood, and Robert Morgan combines recycled plastics in figurative sculptures. Many more parings are also explored in this exhibition.  

Guy Mendes: "Cohorts”

In this survey of portraits, Guy Mendes documents a network of his friendships and the range of creative practitioners he spent time with and visited. The photographs are infused with a sense of warmth and trust, exemplifying the statement that his teacher, Hames Baker Hall, would tell Mendes: “A portrait is given as much as it is taken.”  

The images of Wendell Berry, Jay Bolotin, Guy Davenport, Harlan Hubbard, Bobbie Ann Mason, Ed McClanahan, Ann Tower, Jonathan Williams and others depict Mendes’ precise eye for his subjects and his sense of self. His compositions frame them in domestic and outdoor environments in natural light, comfortable in the act of being photographed. “Each visit to a home or studio was a small celebration, an opportunity to see their work and learn more about them,” Mendes said.  

Mendes’s work has been showcased in the New Orleans Museum of Art, University of Louisville Photographic Archives, Churchill Downs Racetrack, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Maker’s Mark Distillery and Fidelity Investments. His books include Local Light (1976), Light At Hand (1986), 40/40 — Forty Years Forty Portraits (2010) and Walks to The Paradise Garden (2019). He was a writer, producer and director at KET, Kentucky’s statewide PBS network, from 1973 to 2008, and currently teaches film photography at UK’s School of Art and Visual Studies.  

Francisco de Goya: "Los Disparates”

Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) is considered Spain’s most important artist at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. He produced royal portraits for generations of kings and their families for fifty years as a court painter. "Los Disparates" represents his last great series of etching and aquatint prints. Rather than reflecting the career of a celebrated artist, they are the work of a tortured individual. Goya survived a near-fatal illness that left him deaf, and he lived through a seven-year war that lay waste to the Iberian Peninsula.  

Considered his darkest and most mysterious body of work, "Los Disparates" is also among his most inventive. His fantastic, menacing combination of humans, animals, goblins and supernatural creatures satirize humanity’s cruelty. The word disparates often translates as “follies” today, but the meaning in his time was far harsher, along the lines of stupidity, madness or lack of reason.  

The museum’s portfolio of Goya’s "Los Disparates" once belonged to Vincent van Gogh, who was fascinated with Goya’s techniques, as well as the expressive and emotional content of his work.  

“re:museum”

This exhibition focuses on the museum’s permanent collection and the UK Art Museum itself through artworks, educational prompts and other incisive displays. The artworks draw from the Digital Learning Gallery, an online resources established through a UK Arts Extension Outreach Grant that connects art lovers from across the Commonwealth to our collection. "re:museum" offers visitors an opportunity to view objects up close and complements online engagement with unique in-person opportunities. Each item includes contextual background information, contemplative prompts and activities for a variety of ages and art experience levels.  

"re:museum" also features insights into the UK Art Museum’s history as well as details on the installation of exhibitions and how the museum maintains a permanent collection of over 5,000 artworks. 

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The UK Art Museum’s current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays.  

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. Home to a collection of over 5,000 objects including American and Europe paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.