Directors at the Dog: The Akron Art Museum

Mark Masuoka

ART TALK: Wednesday, September, 16, 2015 – 7:30pm

Join us at the Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern for the first of what we hope will be a series of conversations with Directors and Curators of the many incredible Art Museums in our region! First up, The Akron Art Museum.

Fred Bidwell, former Director at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Co-Founder of The Transformer Station, will moderate a discussion with the Akron Art Museum’s Executive Director and CEO Mark Masuoka and Chief Curator Jan Driesbach.

This fall the Akron Art Museum shares highlights from its collection with Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum at Transformer Station in Cleveland. Works on view testify to the role that groundbreaking exhibitions for artists, among them Cleveland’s Julian Stanczak, and prescient purchases, including El Anatsui’s Dzesi II in 2006, have played in the Akron Art Museum’s commitment to assembling an outstanding collection with modest resources.

Artworks in Choice speak to the impact of visionary directors and curators as well as generous donors in the community and beyond the immediate region. George Segal’s Girl Sitting against a Wall II was acquired in 1972 with funds from the Museum’s 50th anniversary gala, while two years later another signature sculpture, Lee Bontecou’s untitled relief, entered the collection as a gift from New York gallery owner Leo Castelli.

The Akron Art Museum is notable for showcasing the accomplishments of regional artists alongside recognized artists working throughout the country and the world in its contemporary art galleries. Stanczak’s Dual Glare and Matthew Kolodziej’s Good Neighbors, installed alongside canvases by Al Held and David Salle in the Transformer galleries, attest to the museum’s role in celebrating Northeast Ohio artists and contributing to a vibrant region.

The rewards of collecting photography from an early era of the museum’s development, advanced by an endowment from the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation, are evident by the medium’s prominence in the museum’s collection. A self-portrait by John Coplans, who was instrumental in bringing attention to photography when he was the museum’s director (1978-79), joins signature examples by Sophie Calle, Adam Fuss, Lorna Simpson and Hiroshi Sujimoto, providing an indication of the international range and ambition of the collection.

Choice: Contemporary Art from the Akron Art Museum is part of an expansive outreach initiative that invites the public to enjoy the works in the collection of the Akron Art Museum, visit Akron’s masterpiece art museum building, and engage in activities in an adjoining public garden and in new spaces in Northeast Ohio.

Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern, 11625 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44106