The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, December 15, 2018

Lead gift supports modern and contemporary collecting, initiatives
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Dots, 1993. Quadriptych acrylic on canvas. 76 3/8 “ x 204 ½”.

SARASOTA, FLA.- As part of its $100 million comprehensive campaign to preserve and expand its legacy for the 21st century and beyond, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Florida State University announce a leadership gift of $5 million from the Monda family of Sarasota, Florida. The gift will endow the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and includes four significant works of contemporary art from the Mondas’ noted collection. The works of art – Teo González’s mixed media Untitled #406 (2006), Yayoi Kusama’s monumental painting Infinity Dots (1993), Beverly Pepper’s steel sculpture Curve in Curve (2012) and Richard Serra’s print Untitled (1990) – will be included in a future exhibition at The Ringling.

The Ringling is the State Art Museum of Florida and is administered by Florida State University (FSU). The Ringling Inspires: Honoring the Legacy and Building for the Future campaign has raised $92 million to date and is an integral part of Florida State University’s Raise the Torch: The Campaign for Florida State.

Keith Monda stated, “Our approach to philanthropy focuses on three key areas; children, education and conservation. The Ringling is clearly invested in creating opportunities for children with a mission to educate the public through its diverse collections. We feel strongly that this community should have a platform for modern and contemporary art and are happy to help reinvigorate and sustain the Art of Our Time program at The Ringling. We began by providing dedicated gallery space, and through this endowed curatorship and gifts of art, we look to ensure the leading-edge scholarship and collections growth necessary to chart new directions within the global contemporary art conversation. We believe wholeheartedly in the arts as a powerful catalyst for creativity and motivation, particularly for young people.”

The Mondas’ gift supports a key priority of The Ringling Inspires campaign, to enhance its global impact through strategic acquisition, innovative exhibitions and scholarship. Their investment in the Art of Our Time initiative strengthens the museum’s reimagined dialogue with contemporary and modern art based on experimentation and collaboration, in which visual art, sound art, installation, group projects and performance can be nurtured, supported and presented in partnership without boundaries or departmental silos. This innovative programming, combined with extensive community outreach, has allowed The Ringling to play a vital role in developing an emerging international network of living artists whose work transcends traditional practices.

The Mondas’ $5 million commitment follows their 2015 gift of $500,000 to support The Ringling’s Art of Our Time initiative by funding a permanent space devoted to 21st-century works of art. The prominent 2,400-square-foot Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art, which is located in the west wing of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, showcases exciting new projects by emerging and established contemporary artists. The Monda Gallery launched in November 2016 with an immersive site-specific installation by American artist Anne Patterson. Currently on view in the Monda Gallery through June 10, 2018, is Hank Willis Thomas: Branded/Unbranded, an installation of two high-profile series by one of the most articulate and provocative practitioners working today.

“This visionary leadership gift from the Monda family, facilitated with assistance from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, is a vital investment in The Ringling’s modern and contemporary exhibitions, programs and scholarship,” said Steven High, The Ringling’s executive director. “By identifying the three essential elements to building an innovative and lasting program in modern and contemporary art – the space with their cutting-edge gallery, the leadership through this endowed curatorship and the collection with these incredible gifts of art – Keith and Linda Monda have ensured its long-term viability.”

Ola Wlusek, a leading specialist in global contemporary art, will be named the inaugural Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Wlusek holds an M.A. in contemporary art theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and bachelor’s degrees in both art history and in cultural anthropology from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Over the last several years she has developed a range of engaging contemporary exhibitions, public programs and publications at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, UK; PRAKSIS in Oslo, Norway; the Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada; and the City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

“Keith and Linda Monda have been so invested in this community through their enlightened and generous philanthropy centered on children, education, and conservation. Whether it’s their support of literacy and other educational programs, hunger related causes, or contemporary arts and culture,” said Gulf Coast Community Foundation President and CEO Mark Pritchett. “Their impact is profound and often leads to new national models. With this support for the Art of Our Time initiative at The Ringling, visitors of all ages will be inspired to challenge their perspectives and to begin to think about the world around them in new and exciting ways.”

In addition to the Monda Gallery, exhibition spaces at The Ringling now permanently dedicated to modern and contemporary art include reallocated galleries in the Arthur F. Searing Wing in the Museum of Art, which present rotating selections from The Ringling’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art, and the new Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, which houses The Ringling’s collection of American and European studio art glass.

“Thanks to Keith and Linda Monda’s far-reaching and inspiring support, The Ringling is able to create a permanent, prominent and ambitious program of modern and contemporary art,” said Florida State University President John Thrasher. “Their championing of the values of excellence and inclusion makes a difference in countless lives throughout our region and around the world.”

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