Great Art

The Speed Art Museum
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Past Exhibitions of 2006
Michael Kenna (English, born 1953)
Nightwalk, Surrey, England, negative 1983, print 1985
Sepia and Selenium toned silver gelatin print
Gift of Henry V. Heuser, Jr.


Michael Kenna Photographs

October 17, 2006 - March 25, 2007

Michael Kenna is one of the world’s preeminent landscape photographers. These 22 lyrical images explore the complex relationship between man and the environment.

Although Kenna never portrays humans in his photographs, the viewer senses mankind’s lingering presence in the form of unoccupied park benches, carefully manicured trees, or imposing architectural structures. This exhibition is free.

Yinka Shonibare (English, born 1962)
Three Graces, 2001
Dutch wax printed cotton textile, three life-size fiberglass mannequins, three aluminum bases
Purchased with funds from the Alice Speed Stoll Accessions Trust
2002.6, a-c

Yinka Shonibare Installation
October 10, 2006 – February 4, 2007

Shonibare strives to open up debate about the social, cultural and political issues that shape our histories and construct identity. His work takes the form of photographic and three-dimensional sculptures that often quote west art and literature in ways that are humorous and ironic.

As well as Three Graces, this exhibition will feature works from Shonibare’s Dorian Gray series.

Stephen Irwin (American, born 1959)
Skin Diary, 2004
31 sheets of Sekishu paper with pigment and shellac
Gift of Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham, Henry and Barbara Ormsby, and Tabb Ormsby, Carolyn and Jim Hutto, John and Debra Lair, Anne Speed Meyers, Leslie and James Millar, David and Kelly Mount and Alexander Speer

TRACES: Two installation works from the contemporary collection Alfredo Jaar’s Eyes of Gutete Emerita and Stephen Irwin’s Skin Diary

Through February 4, 2007

Alfredo Jaar has concerned himself with the interchange that happens between first and third world countries and has increasingly focused on the invisibility of third world suffering and especially, as in The Eyes of Gutete Emerita, the Rwanda genocide. On two light boxes, as the story of Gutete Emerita’s unfolds, her eyes appear for a fraction of a second. Repeated over and over again, this process reinforces the tragedy of her story impressing it indelibly upon our emotions.

Stephen Irwin is a Louisville based artist whose subject matter addresses the body from both a material and a spiritual perspective. His installation, Skin Diary is a recent acquisition and is part of the museum’s program of incorporating important works by regional artists into the contemporary collection. Surrounding the viewer with sheets of delicate Japanese paper impregnated with delicate blushes of color, Skin Diary creates an environment that suggests not only the physical vulnerability of the body but also its transcendence.

Forging an American Identity: The Art of William Ranney

September 29, 2006 – January 1, 2007

William Ranney, (American, 1813-1857)
Squire Boone Crossing the Mountains with Stores for His Brother Daniel, Encamped in the Wilds of Kentucky, 1852
Oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Gift from the Estate of Amelia Peabody

This exhibition features 60 paintings of American life by early 19th-century painter William Ranney (1813-1857). Through his depictions of work, play, and historical events, Ranney helped develop the concept of an American character. One of this country’s greatest narrative painters, Ranney depicted portraits, hunting and sporting scenes, lighthearted genre scenes such as The Sleigh Ride and Boys Crabbing, and historical subjects such as Washington allying the Americans at Battle of Princeton and Veterans of 1776 Returning from the War. Ranney also told the story of western expansion in such paintings as Daniel Boone’s First View of Kentucky and scenes of the West, like Trapper Crossing the Mountains, Advice on the Prairie, and The Pioneer. Created at a time when our country was first developing and establishing its identity, Ranney’s vibrant depictions serve as pictorial stories that chronicle this significant period in American history. The exhibition also includes firearms from the period and photomurals related to subjects in the paintings.

Forging an American Identity: The Art of William Ranney was organized by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and is supported in part by generous contributions from The Henry Luce Foundation, 1957 Charity Foundation, Mrs. J. Maxwell (Betty) Moran, Mr. Ranney Moran, The National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art and the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.

Sofia Taboas
Emulsión Doméstica, 2005, emulsion of aluminum and wood, 75" x 102" x 102"

Miguel Calderón & Nick Waplington
Serwin-Williams II, 2004, Laser impression

Emotive and ironic: 2 Mexicans

Through September 2006

Speed is proud to present the work of two important young Mexican artists, Sofia Taboas and Miguel Calderon.

Sofia Taboas makes works that are evocative and ambiguous. She combines a minimal aesthetic with familiar forms to create beautiful and often melancholic meditations about everyday experience.

Miguel Calderon has gained an international reputation for his use of prankish humor to approach complex narratives. Acollaboration with English artist Nick Waplington (born 1963), Sherwin-Williams I-V (2004) is a series of works where the artist has pasted figures into the domestic interiors from the Sherwin-Williams company’s paint advertisements. Beautifully ironic, these images evoke the dark side of the American Dream where candy-colored interiors are populated by desperate housewives.

Sam Gilliam, (American, born 1933)
Light Depth, 1969
Acrylic on canvas
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Museum Purchase
Photo: Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver

Sam Gilliam: Retrospective

June 6 – September 3, 2006

The first retrospective devoted to African American artist Sam Gilliam, this exhibition surveys the ever-changing styles of this Louisville native. Acclaimed for his use of saturated color and his highly improvisational, spontaneous technique, Gilliam is regarded as one of the most important and inventive colorists of the last thirty years. Forty paintings and unique works on paper from 1967 to the present will be showcased in the exhibition. Sam Gilliam: a retrospective is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. This exhibition and related programs are made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Ellen and Gerry Sigal. Exhibition tickets are $8, free for Museum members.

Ludolf Backhuizen
Ships off a Rocky Coast
, 1667,
National Gallery, Washington

Time and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art

January 10 – March 26, 2006

This exhibition of 17th-century paintings, drawings, and prints, by Dutch masters, explores the Dutch fascination with subjects that represent the transformative effects of time or circumstance. Works by Dutch masters Jacob van Ruisdael, Ludolf Bachhuysen, Rembrandt, Aelbert Cuyp, and many others will be included in the exhibition. Tickets are $10, free for Museum members.

Gaela Erwin (American, born 1951)
Self-Portrait as Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, 2003
Oil on canvas
22 x 14-1/2 inches
Courtesy of the artist
Gaela Erwin: Facing the Subject

February 14 – June 25, 2006

An exhibition of Louisville artist Gaela Erwin’s paintings offers an opportunity to explore her work in new and illuminating ways. In co-curating her own exhibition, Erwin offers us a deep insight into her subject matter and the way that she conceptualizes it. At the center of the show is a series of Erwin’s paintings of herself in the guise of Christian saints and martyrs. Surrounding these paintings, she has chosen to include historical works from the Speed’s collection and works by her contemporaries. Reflecting her interest in the human condition,

Erwin’s images depict pain and spiritual transformation. Contextualized among her artistic companions they reveal the layered complexity of her imagination and her deep understanding of the import of history upon the present. This unique form of exhibition presentation will create a multiple context for understanding Erwin’s work and her sense of the contemporary. The exhibition will be accompanied by a published discussion between the artist and the Speed’s contemporary curator Julien Robson.

Gaela Erwin’s exhibition is made possible with the support of Beverley and Jack Ballantine, Dr. Gregory L. Brown, Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, David and Dale Hyman, Leonard and Adele Leight, Merrily Orsini and Rick Heath, Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham, and Mary and Al Shands.

Aron Conaway, (American, born 1978)
Our Streets (Cincinnati, Ohio), 2000
Digital pigment print
Lent by Aron Conaway

Documenting DISSENT

March 21 – June 11, 2006

Featured in the exhibition are 26 photographs depicting a variety of protests, actions and demonstrations from the last several decades. Curated by Bill Carner, of the University of Louisville Photo Archives, this exhibition documents the unique tradition of iconoclasm and dissent which seeks to inspire community members to act on their own beliefs and to respect the rights of others to do the same.

The photographs in the exhibition have helped tell the story of the contemporary human struggle. These images carry their messages beyond the moment and reach out far beyond their origins. Documenting DISSENT is about the efforts of both dissenters and photographers who recorded the struggle. The exhibit includes photographs by J. B. Calvert, Aron Conaway, Eddie Davis, Robert Doherty, Bob Hower, Hallie Jones, James Keen, Dorothea Lange, Danny Lyon, Charles Moore, Jack Norris, William Strode, Ted Wathen and Garry Winogrand.

Documenting DISSENT is presented in conjunction with Dissent! A community-wide discussion bringing together scholars, community groups, arts organizations and the general public in exploration of dissent as personal experience, social action and artistic inspiration. Information on Dissent! programs and events can be found at


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