Past News at Kluge-Ruhe

Kluge exhibit opens August 22 • Monday August 10, 2009

John Kluge

A new exhibit, What Will Last Beyond Today: John W. Kluge’s Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art, opens Saturday, August 22 and runs through December 20 at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. The opening reception will be held Friday, August 28, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

John Kluge began collecting Aboriginal art in 1988 inspired by the Dreamings exhibition at the Asia Society Galleries in New York. As a collector, Kluge preferred to focus on artists who were not highly visible, either early-career artists or those working in less recognized genres. When he first saw Aboriginal art it was not well known internationally. Through several notable commissions from community art centers like Bula’bula Arts in Ramingining and Injalak Arts and Crafts in Oenpelli, Kluge raised awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal art. Today, Australian Aboriginal art is represented in major museums around the world and has achieved recognition as fine contemporary art.

The exhibit follows Kluge’s collecting history, including the acquisition of the Ruhe Collection from the estate of University of Kansas professor Ed Ruhe in 1993. As a collector, Kluge sought out a broad range of styles of Aboriginal art – both traditional forms and artistic innovations. John Kluge established the Kluge-Ruhe Collection at the University of Virginia in 1997. He and his wife, Tussi, gave an additional 16 early western desert paintings to U.Va. in 2008.

The exhibit features a film, produced by Tussi Kluge, which depicts Kluge’s formative years and business success as the founder of Metromedia Corporation, his interest in Aboriginal art and his legacy of philanthropy.

Artist Talk by Ken Thaiday Sr. • Monday June 22, 2009

Artist Ken Thaiday Sr. will speak about his work on Friday, July 10 at 7:00 pm at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection. Thaiday was born on Erub (Darnley) Island in the Torres Strait in 1950. He learned the importance of traditional dance from his father. In 1987, Thaiday began making dance artifacts which have evolved over time into elaborate ‘dance machines’ with moveable parts. He is known for his beizams – shark dance headdresses, which are controlled by a string and pulley system, enabling the dancer to open and close the shark’s jaws. Thaiday uses various materials in the construction of a headdress including bamboo, plywood, plastic, and feathers.

Thaiday’s work is highly prized by museums and collectors. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout Australia, the South Pacific, India, Denmark, Germany and the US. He is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Museum of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Museum and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory and many private collections.

Thaiday is travelling in the US with his wife, Liz, and Michael Kershaw, Director of the Australian Art Print Network. Earlier in the week, Thaiday will present a Black Hammerhead Shark headdress to the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC.

Following the lecture there will be a reception for the Thaidays and Kershaw. The lecture is free and open to the public but reservations are required. To request a reservation call 434-244-0234 or contact us online. The Kluge-Ruhe Collection will contact you to confirm your reservation.

Criss-cross Bark Painting Program for Children • Friday June 5, 2009

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection will offer an art program for children ages 7 – 11 on Saturday, June 20 at 2:30 pm. Criss-cross Bark Painting will begin by looking at bark art in the current exhibit, Timeless: Bark Paintings from Arnhem Land. Then participants will prepare and paint their own “bark” using the techniques employed by Aboriginal artists. All materials will be supplied by the Kluge-Ruhe Collection.

Our programs for children are free and open to the public but reservations are required. Make a reservation online or phone us at 434 244-0234.

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