Member Newsletter: Spring 2023

In this Issue

Meet Art Collector Barbara Singer

When Barbara Singer had a travel agency downtown, she would visit the nearby galleries, and became transfixed by a piece by Vance Kirkland. She eventually purchased The Mystery of Explosions on the Sun 5 Billion Years B.C. in 1979. She has loaned the piece to Kirkland Museum for our first special exhibition of selected works by Kirkland. “I can’t wait to see the exhibit,” Ms. Singer said of Cosmos.

Co-Founder Merle Chambers Recognized for Leadership in the Arts

Join us in congratulating our Co-founder Merle Chambers for her recent appointment by President Biden to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA). Established in 1958 by President Eisenhower, PACA has played a valuable role in sustaining the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cultural Center. Committee members are civic and cultural leaders who are selected by the president to serve as representatives of the Kennedy Center and “Ambassadors for the Arts” in their own communities.

Ms. Chambers also recently received the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) 2023 John Madden, Jr. Leadership Award. Named for CBCA’s founding chairman, the award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to advancing arts and culture in Colorado. We couldn’t be more delighted she received this recognition for her extraordinary leadership and legacy of support for the arts.

On View: Vance Kirkland's Cosmos

logo for Vance Kirkland's Cosmos

Our first special exhibition of namesake Vance Kirkland’s work was co-curated by Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant and Deputy Curator Christopher Herron. This exhibition features examples from eight series of Kirkland’s visions of cosmos from 1954–1981. The exhibition includes some of the artist’s impressive large-scale paintings, seldom seen on public display.

What Makes Cosmos Show Special

Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant:

I recently discovered Vance had done eight paintings that were a series I had not documented. In the middle of his Energy of Explosions paintings, in early 1979, Kirkland intermittently started to create his Energy of Forms paintings. They have no explosions in them, yet they are charged with manifestations of energy. Kirkland felt, they either depict the dissipating energy of a dying star or the building toward nuclear fusion giving birth to stars. Stunningly, these phenomena relate directly back to his Nebulae, with which he began his artistic exploration of space 25 years earlier. Thus, he has come full circle. If Kirkland’s career had to end, this was a brilliant way to do so. I believe they are some of his most extraordinary works.

Deputy Curator Christopher Herron:

This exhibition is about imagination and wonder. It is special to me because, while we always show Kirkland’s work, this is a rare opportunity to focus on him for the first time for a special exhibition. We dug into our archives so that guests can hear Kirkland’s words and ideas about these works directly from him on the Bloomberg Connects audio tour, so we feel a greater connection to Kirkland as a person, on a more human level, hearing his words and ideas.

While touring this exhibition, be sure to visit Vance Kirkland’s studio & art school building – the heart of the Kirkland Museum experience. You’ll have an opportunity to see firsthand Kirkland’s ingenious method for painting dots.  

What Else is New on View?

We’re welcoming back old friends: The 93 objects loaned by Kirkland Museum for Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918–1939 are back home and many are back out on view after traveling the country the past two years. This special exhibition investigated a dynamic period in American history and culture when the country and its citizens went through political, economic, social, and artistic transformation and revolution. American Art Deco premiered at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE, a landmark of Art Deco architecture, in June 2021. The exhibition then traveled to Frist Art Museum in Nashville, TN, Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, KS, and concluded at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, in January 2023.

Our curatorial team has been busy completing a rotation of works on paper, featuring new acquisitions and redisplaying some objects from the recent Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition.

Click here for the full list of newly-on-view works since our last member newsletter ahead of your next visit.

An Evening with the Curators: Planning Vance Kirkland’s Cosmos

An Evening with the Curators graphic

Wednesday, April 19, at 6 pm

Join Kirkland Museum’s Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant and Deputy Curator Christopher Herron for a discussion about Vance Kirkland’s Cosmos, the first focused exhibition of Kirkland’s work in the Museum’s 20-year history. Mr. Grant will share personal recollections of his time working with Kirkland in the 1970s and how his study of Kirkland’s works led to identifying a new series of paintings featured in the exhibition. Both curators will share their planning process and behind-the-scenes insights into assembling the show.

Purchase discounted member tickets here.

Save the Dates

June 20: Dave Yust Member Preview Day

Kirkland Museum will host an exhibition of work by longtime Colorado artist and educator Dave Yust. The show, organized by the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas, will feature the artist’s most recent work and will be supplemented with historical pieces from Kirkland Museum’s permanent collection.

Logo with words Eat, Drink, Sit

Enjoy an intimate evening—or three—at Kirkland Museum! Vance Kirkland once said, “If I am going to eat off of something, drink out of something, or sit in something, it is going to be great design.” Join us as we celebrate great designs by important female designers in Kirkland Museum’s International Decorative Art collection. Each object will be paired with an in-person sensory experience matching the month’s theme.

October 2023—EAT November 2023—DRINK December 2023—SIT

October 25: Member Evening Soiree

Education & Events

Watch (or Rewatch) Lectures from the Museum’s Past Exhibitions for FREE!

Stuart Graff at a podium with a slide projected, speaking on Frank Lloyd Wright in August 2022.

Celebrate the Museum’s Past Exhibitions! All Previous Lectures are Free for Members to View.

We’ve added a new membership benefit—a webpage with links to recordings of educational programming from 2021 and 2022. Click here for your exclusive access:

New at Kirkland Museum: Meet Our New Visitor Experience Manager

Please congratulate Sherise Talbott, our recently promoted Visitor Experience Manager. Sherise has been with Kirkland Museum for over 11 years, starting in 2012 as a volunteer and joining the Museum’s Visitor Experience team in 2018. Sherise is spearheading the design of all the custom Vance Kirkland products in our Museum Store, among her many duties!

“This collection continues to inspire me every day. It’s a pleasure to work among such beautiful art and witness the growth of this institution.” 

Give the gift of Membership for Graduation, Mother’s or Father’s Day

Interested in 2023 sponsorship opportunities?

We’d love to talk to you about how we can partner to celebrate and support arts and culture. To start the conversation contact [email protected].

Meet Art Collector Barbara Singer

Full Story

The Mystery of Explosions on the Sun 5 Billion Years B.C.
1979, oil paint & water on linen
Collection of Barbara Singer

Kirkland Museum: 
This interview has been condensed for clarity and space. 

When did you start collecting art?
When I bought the Kirkland. I think he did it in ’79 – so I got it within that year. I had a travel agency down on 18th Street near Market. There were several little galleries and our little agency – and he was exhibited in one of them. He had just painted them. I really liked it when I saw it in the gallery. I kept saying (to the gallery owner), if somebody else is interested, let me know, because it was kind of expensive for me at the time. Finally, he said someone was looking at it, so he let me put some money down and take it. That’s how I started. 

When you saw the piece, was there something that attracted you to it?
I loved the colors, I loved the patterns, I loved everything about it. Of all of the different paintings (at the gallery) it was hard to choose one.

(Kirkland) had his hip replaced at this time, so he couldn’t paint his large-scale paintings, so he did a series of this size.  (Barbara Singer’s painting is an example of the newly-named series, Energy of Forms in Space. The seven Forms paintings in this exhibition range from 21” x 21” to 55” x 66”, compared to the larger paintings in the exhibition from earlier series.)

Thank you for being a member. What do you love about Kirkland Museum?
I like the decorative art. I also like Kirkland. I just like to go look around. I like the Midcentury Modern movement a lot. I like to take people who come to town.