Extending the legacy of its founder Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed, the museum’s grand reopening will turn a new light on the Speed’s wide-ranging collections. With freshly renovated galleries and new, expansive spaces devoted to contemporary art and the art of Kentucky, visitors have the opportunity to see familiar favorites in novel ways and new acquisitions in new spaces. Supplemented by important loans, the extensive collection highlights more than 6,000 years of human creativity.
The new North Building includes an unprecedented 9,000 square foot gallery dedicated to the display of the Speed’s contemporary art collection. The reopening installation will also include important regional and national loans.. The Speed’s contemporary art collection consists of a growing body of work by artists working in a broad range of media. Global in its outlook, the collection is focused upon the dominant issues and ideas that concern contemporary artists, as well as their bold spirit of experimentation and imaginative use of materials.
Also new to the museum, the Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park, available free to the public, expands the art experience outdoors and into the community. Contemporary art will be featured here, too, with sculptures by Henry Moore, Deborah Butterfield, and Mark Handforth, among others, as well as multi-media installations including work by the renowned sound artist Susan Philipsz. The park will provide an inviting space that welcomes the community to interact with and be inspired both by art and by the surrounding landscape.
In addition to new works in new spaces, renovations to the beloved museum refresh and enhance the museum experience. Among the most dramatic changes, the Kentucky Collection has a new 5,600-square-foot-space dedicated to the state’s artistic heritage. The Speed’s Kentucky Collection showcases painting, sculpture, and decorative arts created by and for Kentuckians, from 1800 through the 1940s. Additionally, galleries featuring African art, the art of ancient cultures, and Native American art have been completely re-envisioned.
The Speed’s exceptional permanent collection of European and American art will be completely reinstalled in a series of expanded and revitalized gallery spaces. The museum’s rich holdings of 17thcentury Dutch, Flemish and 18th century French works will be presented with a contextual, comprehensive approach, offering visitors an immersive experience into those worlds. Visitors will be able to find familiar favorites by Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet and Brancusi, and there will be more opportunities for exploration of the collection. We are making sure that you can always discover new treasures that surprise, delight, and spark conversation and ideas. After all, this is your museum!
To see more of the artworks featured in the permanent collection, visit Collection Highlights.