The exhibition showcases a wide range of media, from historical to contemporary prints, 20th-century paintings, ceramics, books, 21st-century sculptures, and video works. Although the pieces on view are indicative of different styles and periods, they all carry a common element of innovation or modernist ideas. Collectively, they create a visual dialog that transcends time and art movements.
Since its inception, the Dowd Gallery has primarily focused on showing engaging, challenging, and relevant artwork that has enhanced the intellectual culture on campus and the region. Alongside the exhibition mission, the gallery has continued acquiring historical, modern, and contemporary art. Over five decades, the collection now contains more than 900 pieces representing periods from the 13th to 21st century. Although our collection is small, it is not insignificant. Among artwork created by regional artists, current and former Art and Art History Department faculty members, and alumni we own pieces by titans of the art world. Among others, the collection includes a photograph by Ansel Adams, lithographs by Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Le Corbusier, etchings by Käthe Kollwitz, a series of color woodcut engravings by Salvador Dalí and also notable names from the contemporary art scene like Richard Serra and Judy Pfaff.
In recent years, SUNY Cortland alumni and individuals associated with the college took advantage of the possibility to give back to the school in the form of artwork. This exhibition, in part, is a tribute to our donors, who felt compelled to leave a lasting legacy. For example, our latest addition to the collection came from Jacquie Salomon, class of 1969. Mrs. Salomon donated two large paintings by Vera Klement, a Chicago based artist whose work is included in major collections all over the country.
The SUNY Cortland art collection brings awareness to the notion that art is an asset with an educational charge. The Dowd Gallery has been using its collection in thematic exhibitions, class courses such as Art History, Spanish, Economics as well as studio-oriented courses. The art collection is used as a learning tool to help to understand historical connectivity, application of innovation as well as political-economic commentary across the fields. Besides the scholarly aspect of the collection, this exhibition allows the audience to visit pieces otherwise locked in the storage.
A supporting program will accompany the exhibition. In addition to a speaker series, a documentary screening is on the schedule for September 5. Film Herb and Dorothy tells the story about Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian. In their lifetime, the couple managed to build one of the most comprehensive contemporary art collections acquired with modest means.
Invited speakers represent neighboring academic institutions known for their collections and educational programs for students and the public. Diane Butler, Ph.D., Director at the Binghamton University Art Museum, will present on September 11, a talk titled Engaging Students, Engaging Communities. Doctor Butles adds. "By borrowing familiar models and experimenting with innovative activities, the Binghamton University Art Museum is working to entice visitors to find time to encounter art. Recent opportunities have also allowed the Museum to reach out to communities who needed a nudge to visit exhibitions and become involved in public programs."
On September 19, Sara Pasti, the Director for External Relations and Advancement at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz will deliver a presentation with a title Learning about Museums: Collections and Careers. Pasti explains. "This presentation will address issues related to the main business of a museum, namely, the collection, preservation, and display of objects considered to have long-term value. The starting point for our conversation will be SUNY New Paltz's Dorsky Museum. The inception of the collection, the artwork selection process, and how it stores and shares its collection, and the challenges and benefits of a university art museum. We will also discuss museum careers--what types of employment opportunities exist within a museum and how consultants assist museums in their work."
Leah Sweet, Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs at the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, is scheduled to appear on September 26 with a presentation "A place with no Fences": Fostering Curricular and Scholarly Connections at the Academic Art Museum. This talk will address how the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art engages with curricular and scholarly pursuits at Cornell University via both broad and deep academic partnerships.
The last lecture in this series will take place on October 2. David L. Prince, Curator at the SU Art Galleries, Syracuse University, will give a talk From Closet to Classroom: The Syracuse University Art Collection. The curator elaborates. "Syracuse University enjoys the distinction of being the nation's first institution of higher education to offer degrees in studio arts. A permanent art collection soon followed and, over its near 150- history, has become a central part of many class curricula."
All lectures start at 5 p.m. at the Dowd Gallery located in the Dowd Fine Arts Building. Programs are free and open to the public.