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The Art of Collecting
January 25, 2017 - May 26, 2017| Free
New Acquisitions 2011-2016 from the LUAG Teaching Museum Collection.
One exhibition in four galleries: LUAG Main Gallery, Zoellner Arts Center; Dubois Gallery, Maginnes Hall; Siegel Gallery, Iacocca Hall; The Gallery At Rauch Business Center.
Museum collections are alive. Like the culture around them, they grow and change, responding to new ideas and new circumstances ranging from iPhones to ISIS. The culture engine never stops, and likewise the collecting museum feels an urgency to reflect how the world is changing around it. By acquiring new objects
from the past and present, museums introduce diverse voices and points-of-view to the ongoing conversation. Collections grow through interpretation and reinterpretation as works connect with new audiences. In this way, the past is an active part of the present. At the LUAG Teaching Museum, we are indebted to alumni, parents, and friends who support the growth of the collection. Their generosity and vision are reflected in this exhibition, highlighting new acquisitions from the past five years. The exhibition includes works by: Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Georges Roualt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Camille Pissarro, Irina Ionesco, Luis Gonzáles Palma, Joel Meyerowitz, Andy Warhol, and many others.
How does a museum decide what to collect?
Museums are guided by their missions. For example, a museum devoted to textiles would most likely not be interested in a painting by Rembrandt—no matter how magnificent—because it falls outside the scope of its mission. There are other considerations as well: does the museum have enough storage space to safely house the object? What condition is it in, and will the museum be able to care for it? Since museums have an ethical responsibility to care for the objects in their collections, they take these questions very seriously.
Here are a few ways that works of art come to the collection:
Donation. Private collectors, artists, and art foundations often donate works of art directly to a museum as a way of ensuring their preservation and public visibility for future generations. Sometimes an estate will donate works in the form of a bequest. Museums serve the public by upholding professional standards for the use, care, handling, and interpretation of works in their charge. Donors appreciate the high standards that museums employ, and the prestige that comes from supporting a well-respected collection. A donor’s name always accompanies a work when exhibited.
Endowment. Other donors endow the museum with funds to support its mission. Sometimes donors like to earmark their donations for specific purposes: for the care and conservation of the collection, for new acquisitions, to provide staff positions, to educate the public, and many others. The museum becomes the steward of these funds, and works carefully to uphold their intended purposes.
Purchasing. LUAG has a budget for annual purchases, supported by its endowments. The museum director considers purchases that can bridge gaps in historical, cultural, or aesthetic areas of the collection.
How does the LUAG Teaching Museum utilize its collection?
Art has a connection to every academic discipline. Faculty members in diverse departments use the collection to teach aspects of research, critical thinking, analysis, and effective communication. LUAG provides an experiential classroom or visual laboratory where classes visit exhibitions or select specific items for study. Professors use our collections to frame research assignments, papers, discussions, and problem-based projects. LUAG works with departments ranging from: Anthropology, Latin-American Studies, English as a Second Language, History, Photography, Business, Africana Studies, English, Religion, Creative Writing, Art History, Music, and many more.