Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Sarasota Art Museum Announces Grand Opening


Sarasota Art Museum Announces Grand Opening

The Sarasota Art Museum is proud to announce its opening dates and inaugural program. The Museum will open with two member days on December 12th and 13th, and then will open its doors to the public on Saturday, December 14th.

"This is a day that has been long-anticipated by all who have supported and worked toward making this shared vision for a world-class museum of contemporary art for our community a reality," said Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College. "The Sarasota Museum of Art is integral to our mission to develop and prepare artists to create relevant and meaningful art of our time."

"We are delighted to contribute to Sarasota's rich cultural landscape with an institution devoted exclusively to contemporary art"." said Anne-Marie Russell, Executive Director and Curator.

A contemporary kunsthalle operating under the parent institution of the Ringling College of Art + Design, the Sarasota Art Museum anchors the Ringling College Museum Campus in Downtown Sarasota (1001 S Tamiami Trail). Taking over the former Sarasota High School-a 60,000-square-foot 1926 Collegiate Gothic structure designed by M. Leo Elliott-as well as a 20,000-square-foot building by Paul Rudolph, the adaptive-reuse project was led by Lawson Group Architects. Terence Riley, principal of K/R, is the design architect of the museum.

The Sarasota Art Museum has 15,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space, in addition to numerous areas dedicated to site­ specific and site-responsive art installations, a sculpture court, a great lawn for temporary sculpture, installation and performance programming, a 110-seat auditorium for educational events and performances, as well as a cafe and retail store.

The Museum will open with two exhibitions and several site-specific and-responsive installations. The second-floor galleries will host a large-scale retrospective by Vik Muniz, and the third-floor galleries will hold the first iteration of the Color. Theory. & B/W group exhibition, anchored by a monumental installation by Sheila Hicks in the Tom & Sherri Koski Gallery. On the ground floor, the Museum unveils a permanent installation of Barbara Bank's photographic portraits of the construction workers who built the museum. In the Jan Schmidt Loggia, there is a site-responsive wall painting by Odili Donald Odita. In the Marcy & Michael Klein Plaza, the sculpture courtyard between the Elliott and the Rudolph building, there will be sculptural installations, Jean Shin's Celadon Landscape, and Zen Jail by JPW3 (J. Patrick Walsh Ill), as well as a site-responsive wall painting on the Rudolph façade by Olivier Mosset. On the Great Lawn, there will be an installation of Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena's Los Trompos.

With all of its programming and exhibitions, the Sarasota Art Museum strives to welcome all audiences, regardless of previous knowledge or experience with contemporary art. The museum aims for the highest intellectual and scholarly rigor in their exhibitions, while ensuring that all find a familiar point of entry, in hopes that all are met with transformative experiences. The Museum's curatorial and education team's background in cultural anthropology, cross-cultural aesthetics and critical race theory helps inform an ethnographic approach to curation and audience development and education, allowing for open discourse regarding cross-cultural critical connoisseurship.

This survey of the imaginative Brazilian artist compiles over 100 of his photographs from all stages of his long career, including his most recent works. Co-organized with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, the show will bring Muniz's work to Sarasota for the first time. Muniz' brilliant practice engages viewers with intelligence, humor and a fair dose of art history. His work is essentially about the primary act of drawing, but his use of non-traditional materials brings attention to the way images are constructed, allowing the viewer to deconstruct fundamental methodologies of trompe l'oeil. In our era of AI-generated "deep fake" videos, destabilized notions of truth and authenticity, and the deliberate undermining of reality, a citizen's most valued asset is their visual literacy. Muniz' work is fundamentally about empowering individuals by giving them the tools to make critical decisions about the world around them.

This exhibition has been co-organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/New York City/Paris/Lausanne, and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in association with the Sarasota Art Museum, Sarasota.

Sheila Hicks, Questioning Column, 2016, installed in the Tower Gallery

Color. Theory. & B/W
In establishing the curatorial vision of a new institution in a community where there is not historically been Modern or Contemporary art museum, the museum is mindful of its role in inspiring and educating new audiences. This reality, combined with the fact that the parent institution is an art and design college, led to a series of foundational exhibitions that explore topics of core and eternal relevance. This exhibition is the first iteration in an ongoing investigation into the art and science of color. In this version, we examine each artist's particular use of color, with particular attention paid to the relationship between color and material.

Anchored by a site-responsive Sheila Hicks installation, Color. Theory. & B/W includes works by Peter Alexander, Robert Barber, Ignacio Cadena and Héctor Esrawe, Samo Davis, Tony Feher, Helen Frankenthaler, Alex Hay, Dominique Labauvie, Dave Lewis, Norman Lewis, Olivier Mosset, Odili Donald Odita, Steven Parrino, Pino Pascali, Ken Price, Leah Rosenberg, Christian Sampson, Aili Schmeltz, Jamie Scholnick, Jean Shin, Luke Stettner, and Kara Walker.

This commissioned project by Barbara Banks, a Sarasota-based photographer who focuses on intimate portraiture around individuals and their craft, gives face to the workers involved in the adaptive re-use of the Museum. The Worker Project allows us to celebrate those who, like the artists in the galleries, used their craft to create the Museum. The photo portrait series will be permanently installed in the south wing of the Museum auditorium entryway, to ensure that all those involved in helping bring this project to life will be remembered at a moment when future automation may render many of these craft trade jobs obsolete.

A variety of site-specific and site-responsive public works activate the Museum. Jean Shin's Celadon Landscape (2015) is a massive ceramic vessel constructed out of discarded fragments collected from kilns across Korea to comment on cultural heritage in the era of globalism. JPW3's Zen Jail (2016) is half-Japanese tea house and half-jail, striking an uneasy balance between peace and violence. Los Trompos by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena will invigorate and delight all audiences, and site-responsive wall painting by Olivier Mosset will further erase the boundary between art and architecture. In the Jan Schmidt Loggia, there is a site-responsive wall painting by Odili Donald Odita. Leah Rosenberg has created a site-specific wall painting installation that begins in the Morganroth Reception, moves into the Wendy G. Surkis & Peppi Elona Lobby and then winds up the Mary Ann & John Meyer vertical gallery, leading to the Color. Theory & B/W exhibition on the 3rd floor. In the Jonathan McCague Arcade is Christian Sampson's installation "Vita in Motu," which uses the building's architecture, and the movement of the earth, as a collaborative partner in this ever changing light show, activated by the rising sun.

Public Engagement & Educational Programming
In addition to programming designed to interpret, illuminate and contextualize the art in the galleries, the Museum will present a wide range of non-exhibition related programming to meet its mission of cultivating discerning visual thinkers and ethical citizens. Past educational programming has included presentations by Aranda/Lasch, Aaron Betsky, Susan Cahan, Karin Campbell, Bonnie Clearwater, Christopher Domin, Doug Dreishpoon, Janet Echelman, Ruth Erickson, John Hatfield, Lisa Hoke, Alicia Longwell, Cara McCarty, Valerie Cassel Olivier, Judy Pfaff, Christian Sampson, Jean Shin, SO-IL and more. Stay tuned for performances, partnerships, happenings, and film series.

Past guest speakers for donor cultivation events have included Laura Hoptman, Executive Director of the Drawing Center; Pamela Joyner, philanthropist and art collector; Todd Levin, Levin Art Group; Olivier Meslay, Director at the Clark Art Institute; Mary Rozell, Global Head, UBS Art Collection; Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic; Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, pioneering curator, art historian and museum director.

Related Articles View More Sarasota Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You