Speed Museum Programs Go Beyond the Building

The Speed Art Museum has closed its doors for a$50 million renovation and expansion project, but that doesn’t mean the institution will go to sleep for the next three years. One community outreach initiative launches this month. The “Art & Dialogues” series will bring influential curators, collectors and critics from the modern and contemporary art world to Louisville for public lectures and university visits.

The series kicks off November 28 with a lecture by James Crump, chief curator of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Crump will give a talk on “Change and Experimentation” at Spalding University. 

The Speed closed its gallery doors in September for a three-year, $50 million expansion and renovation phase. Suzanne Weaver, the Speed’s curator of modern and contemporary art, says the lecture series will help lay the foundation for public programming that will continue after the museum re-opens.

“A museum has a very important role to be a leader in the intellectual, cultural and educational life of the community,” says Weaver. “Part of that is being beyond your building.”

Weaver says the construction phase is an opportune time for the Speed to experiment with new collaborations and partnerships that can help re-define the museum’s role in the community.

“I think this will be a great opportunity to put out critical and stimulating ideas about art-making, about curating and about collecting art,” says Weaver. “Also, it will help connect people in Louisville with international [visitors].” 

Weaver also points out that the lecture series will also help inform the community about the Speed’s collection goals. 

“We’re trying to build a modern and contemporary art collection. Our new building will have a huge focus on modern and contemporary art,” she says. 

The museum has planned for three speakers per year throughout the construction period. Matthew Higgs, who serves as director of White Columns, New York City’s oldest nonprofit alternative art space, and Richard Flood, chief curator at New York’s New Museum, will also appear in 2012-13.

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