Philanthropy at its best: hands-on and enthusiastic support of the Bruce

by leslierankowfinearts

zKnTt5wFpH2DcJ6MtCrQ4FE7l3F4g9vZ3wvhIo0v51YCONNECTICUT IS A STATE THAT IS RICH IN MUSEUMS- THE INNOVATIVE ALDRICH CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM IN RIDGEFIELD, THE ILLUSTRIOUS WADSWORTH ATHENEUM IN HARTFORD, AND THE DISTINGUISHED YALE ART

GALLERY IN NEW HAVEN, TO NAME A FEW. ONE OF THE MOST ACTIVELY SUPPORTED CONNECTICUT MUSEUMS, BOTH BY ITS MEMBERS AND BY THE COMMUNITY, IS THE INVITING BRUCE MUSEUM, IN GREENWICH,

A FAVORITE OF MINE. I AM ALWAYS IMPRESSED BY THE COMMITMENT THAT THE GREENWICH RESIDENTS HAVE MADE TO THE MUSEUM, THE HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT THE MUSEUM

COUNCILS AND TRUSTEES UNDERTAKE TO PROVIDE A WEALTH OF POPULAR EXHIBITIONS, EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, AND EFFECTIVE FUND-RAISING EVENTS.

I HAVE THE PLEASURE AND PRIVILEGE OF HAVING MANY WONDERFUL GREENWICH CLIENTS SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING OF MY PROFESSIONAL CAREER TO THIS DAY. EACH AND EVERY  ONE IS HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED  AND ACTIVELY  PHILANTHROPIC –  GIVING TO AND GIVING BACK IN SIGNIFICANT WAYS, INTELLECTUALLY ENGAGED, PASSIONATE ABOUT ART AND COLLECTING, AND EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE COMPANY- I THANK YOU ALL!

NEW CLIENTS ARE USUALLY REFERRED BY EXISTING ONES, AUCTION SPECIALISTS, ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS, OR GALLERY COLLEAGUES, AND NOW, HAPPILY, THE WEB. WHEN JIM

AND AUNDREA AMINE RELOCATED FROM LONDON TO GREENWICH, AUNDREA RESEARCHED ON-LINE TO FIND AN ART ADVISOR TO ENRICH THEIR IMPECCABLE CONNECTICUT RESIDENCE.

HOW FORTUNATE FOR ME. SHE CONTACTED ME AND WE BEGAN A WONDERFUL  COLLECTING  JOURNEY TOGETHER.

IMG_0150 Jim and Andrea Amine

AUNDREA AND JIM AMINE  JOINED THE BRUCE MUSEUM WHEN THEY SETTLED BACK IN THE STATES AND AUNDREA HAS DEDICATED SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY BOTH AS A TRUSTEE AND, IN 2012, AS

AUCTION CHAIR FOR THE BRUCE MUSEUM’S CELEBRATED RENAISSANCE BALL. I KEEP THINKING, WHAT A LOT OF WORK! AND NOW, SHE HAS VOLUNTEERED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LRFA BLOG, TO SHARE THE HISTORY OF THE BRUCE, AND ITS MANY EXEMPLARY EXHIBITION AND FUND-RAISING ACTIVITIES.

AUNDREA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS INTERVIEW. SINCE YOU MOVED TO GREENWICH AND WE BEGAN WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD AN ART COLLECTION, I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY THROUGH YOU TO BECOME MUCH MORE FAMILIAR WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY SCOPE OF ACTIVITIES, EXHIBITIONS AND HISTORY OF THE BRUCE MUSEUM, LOCATED IN GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT. http://brucemuseum.org/

WHAT ARE THE REASONS  YOU DECIDED TO JOIN THE BRUCE WHEN YOU RETURNED TO THE STATES AND SETTLED IN GREENWICH?

Leslie that’s a great question. Greenwich is a town that has so much to offer. One can certainly find a variety of passions to devote oneself to here, however, for me having a cultural institution that is not only a superb art museum but also a fantastic science museum and education center adds so much to our community.  The Bruce is very close to the central Greenwich train station, parking is easy, the size is not overwhelming, so really it’s so accessible and offers something for everyone.

How could I not love what they offer!

YOU BECAME VERY INVOLVED IN THE BRUCE AS A TRUSTEE OF THE MUSEUM. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ENJOY FROM YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE BRUCE?

Well, one doesn’t have to be a Trustee to enjoy the benefits. Although the Bruce is rich in all it offers, it’s that accessibility I referred to that is also so compelling to me.  For special access, anyone can donate to an exhibition and be invited to the opening of the shows and hear first hand from the wonderfully knowledgeable Executive Director of the Museum, Peter Sutton, or the curator of the exhibition.  BuThere  is always something interesting that is available with just a membership. I am delighted to receive the emails and newsletters from the Bruce to find out what is available as there is always something to entertain, enlighten and enrich the mind.

YOU AND JIM ARE WONDERFUL AND ENTHUSIASTIC COLLECTORS OF CONTEMPORARY ART, OFTEN GRAVITATING TO WORKS WITH “AN EDGE”.  IN WHAT WAYS DO THE MORE HISTORICAL EXHIBITIONS AT THE BRUCE ENRICH YOUR EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTEMPORARY MARKET?

Framing one’s view of art from the past is of course essential.  For me, this is how art and we as art lovers evolve.  I loved learning about Rembrandt’s prolific printmaking and influence on his apprentices, details about Gaston Lachaise’s devotion to his wife represented in his works.  We had a Cindy Sherman exhibition that just preceded the show at MOMA and we displayed really quite a wonderful collection of her works.

Recently while driving home from Darien with my 8-year-old son and discovering we had a free hour we decided to stop in at the Bruce.  We were both delighted to venture round at the science and art “eggs-hibition”, yes that’s spelled correctly, an exhibition on eggs – how brilliant is that, perfectly blending art and science.  Fascinating for both of us!

I’ve strayed from your question here, sorry, let me re-direct, to have the opportunity to take in a range of knowledge on any subject only enhances my understanding of it.  Though my tastes are unique to me, I value every kind of art as an expression and try to appreciate and therefore have respect for an artist’s cultural influences and values.

Plus of course how can I not be educated and enriched by the science exhibitions there.  The brilliant minds at the Bruce find unique ways to let us discover how interchangeable and complimentary art and science are.

…AND THAT IS CERTAINLY REINFORCED BY MANY OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS WHO CREATE WORKS THAT ARE VERY MUCH A SYNTHESIS OF ART AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS AT THE BRUCE SINCE YOU BECAME INVOLVED AND WHY?

Hmm, I bet you can guess based on my previous answers but I would love to elaborate here.

I really enjoyed the collection of Cindy Sherman photographs.  This was made up of works from friends of the Bruce, which gave a lovely intimacy to the exhibition.  There were works spanning from early in her career to more contemporary.  Ken Silver, a faculty member in the Art History Department at NYU who is the Bruce’s Adjunct Curator, curated this.  He did a marvelous job showing the significance and array of her genres.

I loved the Gaston Lachaise exhibition.  Very fun to see the film of his ample, voluptuous Floating Figure being loaded into the Bruce, which was there to watch at the Museum’s entrance.  I was so captivated by the figurative work he did showing his ability as a gifted, poetic sculptor of these alluring, luscious figures in homage to his wife juxtaposed with the sculptures showing how adept he was at portraiture – and wow how that man adored his wife!

I am continuously delighted and impressed by the exhibitions that combine art and science, which the Bruce uniquely does and does so well.  The art and science of the Olympic Games was on during the Games in London last summer.  There were 3D movies of Super Bodies, lots of hands on technology to work (or play!) with, and the art aspect of the exhibition featured a Greek Olympic prize amphora from around 500 BC to modern art depicting not only our fascination with sport but also the beauty of athleticism.

Oh and I so enjoyed the eggs-hibition – there was a marvelous series of lectures complimenting it, from “Hatched From” to “Faberge eggs” to an “Evening to Stimulate the Senses” that featured a caviar tasting – yummy!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO, AT THE BRUCE, IN THE SEASON AHEAD?

Oh fun question – I’m especially looking forward to the I Create show starting June 1.  This will be made up of the art submissions of the 32 finalists of over 400 regional high school student applicants.  It will be wonderful to see the work of these  supremely talented local young people.

I’m excited for the Chuck Close show that starts in late September and also for the Oysters – Pearls of Long Island show that starts in November.  Just some of the upcoming shows but my personal faves!

YOU AND JIM HAVE GRAVITATED TO WORKS THAT ARE CHALLENGING, ARTISTS SUCH AS MUTU, ELLEN GALLAGHER AND RACHEL WHITEREAD. WHAT FIRST SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN ART? IN WHAT WAYS DID YOUR TIME IN LONDON ENRICH THE RANGE AND KNOWLEDGE OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART?

Believe it or not, I had some free time while I was in London!  I took a few art history courses at museums and through membership organizations I belonged to.  I took certificate courses at Sotheby’s and Christies that exposed me to new art and some that refreshed my knowledge of art history. London is so incredibly vibrant and the affluence there is staggering.  This of course lends to the influx of major galleries putting on major exhibitions.  As I mentioned before regarding accessing the Bruce, when I find myself with some spare time, I love wandering in a gallery or two.  So this of course further exposed me to art I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

The glorious Tate Modern opened while I was living there, showcasing Louise Bourgeois’s monumental spider and of course I followed so many of the wonderful exhibitions that came after that. I attended a few Frieze art fairs, just there in Regents Park.  I’ll never forget my first time there, I was enamored with a work installed on a gallery wall and as I was drawn toward it, gazing straight ahead, I tripped and fell right over an installation on the floor made up of bricks.  I was mortified of course and don’t remember the artist whose work I so admired (once the bricks were put back in place there was no evidence of my interruption of the work).  I vowed to be more deliberately mindful of all that was surrounding me from then on at art shows.  There is so much to take in so this for means that I need to move slowly and deliberately through the shows, which takes up a lot of time naturally.  So the shows really benefited me when I could attend over a couple of days at least.  Although the last few years it seems if you are really after something you need to move quickly!

YOU HAVE INITIATED SOME WONDERFUL TOURS TO ARTIST STUDIOS AND GALLERIES FOR MEMBERS OF THE BRUCE.  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GALLERIES AND STUDIOS THAT YOU HAVE VISITED THAT WERE PARTICULARLY INTRIGUING?  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ENGAGEMENTS IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART SCENE IS THE BRUCE PLANNING FOR THE SEASON AHEAD?

Now that I’m busy planning the Dimensions in Dining dinner series that will take place this November for the Bruce I’m no longer helping to arrange the tours for the Collectors Council.  The current Chairs are doing a wonderful job of this now and the person on staff at the Bruce who is in charge of memberships is very knowledgeable and loves to stay current so is always happy to engage in ideas for interesting tours.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE THE ACTIVITIES,  EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS AT THE THE BRUCE IN GREATER DETAIL. THE BRUCE

ENGAGES THE INTEREST OF  EVERYONE  FROM CHILDREN FIRST STARTING TO APPRECIATE THE ARTS TO THE MOST SEASONED AND SOPHISTICATED COLLECTOR.  THE BRUCE IS A STERLING EXAMPLE OF THE DEDICATION OF ITS STAFF, ITS TRUSTEES, ITS MEMBERS  JOINING FORCES TO ENRICH THEIR COMMUNITY.

IF YOU WANT A WONDERFUL SUMMER OUTING, DRIVE UP TO CONNECTICUT ONE DAY AND VISIT THE BRUCE.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, THANKS ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.