For nearly 20 years, art historian Glenn Lowry has directed New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the most influential modern art museum in the world. He came to MoMA as an acclaimed specialist in Islamic art. Lowry returns to his scholarly roots for this lecture. Contemporary art in the Middle East can be seen as the continuation of the historical tradition or as a radical break with the past; as a market driven phenomenon fueled by the wealth of a new Gulf-based clientele; or as a searing critique of the social and political conditions of the region often made by artists living in a diasporic condition. Dr. Lowry will explore how a number of artists from this region, including Wael Shawky, Shirin Neshat, Walid Raad, Rania Stephan, and Shahzia Sikander, navigate these complicated and highly charged issues through their varied practices that range from film-making and photography to painting and animation. Dr. Lowry became the sixth director of the Museum of Modern Art in 1995. He has significantly developed the Museum’s holdings in all mediums, adding entire collections of contemporary drawings, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright. A strong advocate of contemporary art and artists who are shaping art, he has overseen acquisitions by artists such as 2 Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Gerhard Richter and Robert Rauschenberg. Dr. Lowry’s initiatives include the successful merger of The Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA P.S. 1). He also established the Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age Initiative (C-MAP), a research program for the exchange of knowledge and ideas among arts experts around the world. He is currently leading a renovation and expansion project that will offer visitors a more welcoming and participatory experience and unprecedented access to MoMA’s collections and programming. Dr. Lowry received his B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. He began his career as the first director of the Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary. He was curator of Near Eastern Art at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art. He was also director of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The Friends of the Institute plays a key role in bringing students to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Our Transportation Fund, an endowed fund, annually awards MIA transportation grants to Twin Cities public and private schools. This school year, the Fund, bolstered by additional funding from the Friends, extended grants totaling $16,835 to 54 schools. The Friends’ generosity will allow approximately 4,500 students in grades K-8 to take advantage of tours of the MIA’s outstanding permanent collection and special exhibitions. As a Friend of Institute member, you helped make this happen! The Transportation Fund grant application for schools K-8 will be available in August on the MIA website at
Transportation Fund Co-chairs, Joan Kampmeyer and Mary Bachhuber
I recently visited Crystal Bridges, the American art museum founded by Alice Walton. The museum designed by Moshe Safdie, opened in 2011 and it is well worth a visit. Set over a body of water, it is architecturally quite stunning. From inside the museum, one can see the water and outdoor environment as one walks the hallways between the galleries. The restaurant is also set over water, and is very open and filled with light. A large metallic gold colored Jeff Koons heart hangs from the ceiling and reflects the interior of the restaurant. The collection covers painting and sculpture from colonial times to present day. One of my favorite galleries at the museum consists of an extensive collection of Hudson River school artists. Several of the artists in our MIA collection are represented so I got to see works by old familiar friends such Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt. One of the gems in the collection is Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits, a painting he made in homage to Thomas Cole after Cole’s death. Walton purchased it from the New York Public Library in 2005 when the library sold it to raise money for its endowment fund. Many New Yorkers were not happy about the sale. Walton’s deep pockets also allowed her purchase of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed (White Flower No.1) in 2014 for 44.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid for a painting by a female artist. The museum’s modern collection also includes some of our MIA artists such as Marisol, Grace Hartigan, Larry Rivers, Roy Lichtenstein, Nick Cave, and several others. To complete my day at the museum, I walked outdoors around the grounds and saw several outdoor sculptures by Mark di Suvero, Robert Indiana, and Paul Manship. They were surrounded by flowering red buds, magnolias, and peach trees. A spring visit to Crystal Bridges was just what I needed after a Minnesota winter.
Article by: Laura Miller, Art Adventure Guide