Expanding Narratives

by Alison Gass, Dana Feitler Director

last edited on Thu. April 12 2018

Museums should flex, change, and grow just as the world around us does. This concept drives our continued, thoughtful transformations at the Smart Museum of Art, as we experiment and question what it means to be a great university museum today.

We invite you to visit a dramatically reconfigured museum space this Spring, featuring redesigned sightlines and vistas that offer new ways to consider artworks in the galleries. The latest changes are part of Expanding Narratives: The Figure and the Ground, a major reinstallation that demonstrates our commitment to telling stories that reflect the broadest cross-section of our communities and re-examining the histories of art. On the surface, the exhibition traces what may seem like a familiar formal history of aesthetic progress. However, by foregrounding the creative practice of women and artists of color, and by developing interpretation drawn from a range of academic disciplines, we hope to build a new understanding of this material and its history.  

Expanding Narratives: The Figure and the Ground is the first iteration of a three-part, three-year collections and exhibition series. By combining major loans with beloved masterworks from the Smart’s collection, the series offers an open platform to examine the composition and role of the Museum’s collection.

As we look to the future, we ask: how can the addition of new works shift and expand the narrative possibilities the Smart can create and share? How can the works that we collect and display continue to position the Museum as a platform for thinking about complex ideas and issues? How can we be a welcoming place for everyone?

Join me in shaping this dynamic future together. I hope to see you at the Smart soon.

A version of this article was originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of At the Smart.

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