Robert Kushner Exhibition Highlights Summer at the Wilson Museum

This summer, Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is featuring the work of one of the founders of the pattern and decoration movement in painting.

Robert Kushner: Pleasure and Solace will be on display through September 12.

Kushner combines organic elements with abstracted geometric forms to create works that celebrate surface. He draws from a broad spectrum of artistic and historical movements: fabric design, fashion, and couture; oriental rugs, kimono patterns, and Japanese screen painting; Renaissance masques, symbolist music, and opera. While Western artists throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries found inspiration in Islamic and Far Eastern cultures, Kushner rejected the concepts of “exoticism” and “primitivism” often cited in contrast with European styles. Instead, he responded to the long-standing sophistication of Eastern knowledge, innovation, and spirituality.

The paintings on display in this exhibition span nearly a decade of work: Huntington Library Cactus Garden II, 2014; Chrysanthemum and Sunflower, 2010; and Spring Scatter Summation, 2005. A painting by Kushner in the Wilson Museum’s collection, also titled Sunflower, dates to the early 1990s and is on display in the Resource Room alongside five additional works on paper. Representations of flowers have long been of interest to the artist; his work segues effortlessly from glittery, overblown blooms on canvas to modest depictions on antique book pages. Kushner has said, “I never get tired of pursuing new ideas in the realm of ornamentation… Decoration has always had its own agenda, the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace.”

A native of Pasadena, California, Kushner currently lives and works in New York City. His work has been exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Solo exhibitions have been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Kushner’s work can also be found in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The National Gallery of Art, DC; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC; J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Denver Art Museum; Tate Gallery, London; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Galleria degli Ufizzi, Florence; and Museum Ludwig, St. Petersburg. Publications on Kushner’s work include the monograph Gardens of Earthly Delight (Hudson Hills Press, 1997) and Wild Gardens (Pomegranate, 2006).

Works featured in Robert Kushner: Pleasure and Solace are on loan from New York’s DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition is organized by the Wilson Museum.

The Wilson Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Saturday from 1 – 5 p.m., and is closed during university breaks.  For more information, visit or the museum’s Facebook page,

Eleanor D. Wilson Museum Welcomes New Director

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University has named Jenine Culligan, senior curator at the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, West Virginia, as its new director. She begins her duties May 4.

Culligan has been with the Huntington Museum of Art since 1999, and oversees daily operations for a collection of over 15,000 objects as well as four permanent and six rotating galleries. She works directly with collectors, individual artists, artist groups, interns, volunteers, art gallery directors, donors, advisory and board committees, and colleagues across the United States.

“I enjoy being the catalyst that brings talented people and innovative programs together,” she said. “I would like to share my experiences, and knowledge of museums, art, and artists, with a new generation, and with their help, explore new and different modes of offering authentic, cross-disciplinary approaches to experiencing art.

“I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with a community of educators to bring high-quality exhibits, programs, and events to Hollins, which would attract and engage a diverse audience within the university, the Roanoke community, western Virginia, and beyond.”

Culligan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Arts degree in art history/museum studies from Case Western Reserve University. Prior joining the Huntington Museum of Art, she worked with the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University features the work of renowned, emerging, and regional artists. The museum presents exhibitions in a wide variety of media and genres, including selected exhibitions from the permanent collection. Through this programming, the museum provides a forum for art through viewing, dialogue, and an understanding of the creative process. Located on the first floor of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the museum is a state-of-the-art facility with three interconnected galleries totaling approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The Wilson Museum is committed to educational programming that enriches both Hollins and the greater Roanoke community. Since opening in the fall of 2004, the museum has presented more than 100 exhibitions with supplementary programs including tours, lectures, workshops, gallery talks, and classroom instruction.

Wilson Museum Receives Major Gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation

museumlogoThe Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University has received a significant gift of works from the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Photographic Legacy Program, including many of Warhol’s original Polaroids as well as silver gelatin prints documenting his life and its inhabitants. The photographs encompass a wide array of subject matter from portraits to party scenes to still lifes.

Warhol is both famous and infamous for his work interweaving the worlds of fine art, pop culture, and consumerism. “Warhol turned the camera on all the nuances of his life,” said Wilson Museum Director Amy Moorefield. “He influenced generations of younger artists.”

Selections from the gift to the Wilson Museum will be highlighted along with Warhol Foundation gifts to Roanoke College and Washington & Lee University in a three-part exhibition entitled, In the Event of Andy Warhol, which pairs Warhol’s photographs with contemporary artists who reference or have been inspired by Warhol. The exhibition will debut at W&L’s Staniar Gallery Jan. 9 – Feb. 4, 2012, and then go on display at Olin Hall Galleries at Roanoke College from March 1 – April 1, 2012. In the Event of Andy Warhol will open May 31, 2012, at the Wilson Museum and remain until Sept. 15, 2012. The Wilson Museum will showcase original photographs by Warhol along with works by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, among others. Stressing Warhol’s Catholic background and the influence of his early graphic work and films, this final part of the exhibition will shed new light on his photographic inspiration.

The Andy Warhol Foundation’s Photographic Legacy Program was launched in 2007 in celebration of the foundation’s 20th anniversary and has donated over 28,500 photographs by Warhol to educational institutions across the United States. More than 180 college and university museums, galleries, and art collections throughout the nation have participated in the program, each receiving a curated selection of photographs and prints.

R. H. W. Dillard, Wilson Museum Honored by Arts Council of the Blue Ridge

dillardProfessor of English R.H.W. Dillard (pictured) and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University are among this year’s winners of the Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts, presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.

Dillard received the Kendig Award for Outstanding Literary Artist. He has taught at Hollins since 1964 and was named Virginia Professor of the Year in 1987. Other accolades include the O.B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library; the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Fellowship of Southern Writers (which also presented him with the Hanes Prize for Poetry) and the Virginia Writers Club.  He is the author of 14 books — seven books of poems, two novels, one book of shorter fiction, two critical monographs, and two translations of classical dramas.

The Arts Council honored the Wilson Museum with the Kendig Award for Outstanding Arts & Cultural Organization. Located on the first floor of the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center, the museum is a premier arts destination in the Roanoke Valley featuring the work of internationally renowned artists, emerging figures, and regional names. It features three interconnected galleries totaling approximately 4,000 square feet of exhibition space. Through the generosity of a grant from Roanoke County, the museum houses a dedicated permanent Collection and Educational Resource Center, which is available to students, teachers, and other patrons who are interested in furthering their study of art in the museum’s permanent collection. It also functions as a small educational center for groups and classes, providing a forum for discussion, workshops, and projects based on exhibitions.

Named for the late Roanoke Valley arts patron and a former president of Roanoke College, the Perry F. Kendig Award was established in 1985 to recognize examples of support, involvement, accomplishment in the arts, and to inform the community about significant contributions to the arts in the region. The awards are chosen by a committee of community volunteers based on nominations from the general public. A reception and award ceremony will be held at the Taubman Museum of Art in May.