Program Report: Sarah Schroth- Proposed Duke Sculpture Garden and the Carol Dolci Exhibit

Sarah Schroth, today’s speaker, has headed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke since 2013.  She has presided over perhaps the most lively period of the Nasher’s brief existence, since it was founded in 2005 as a successor to the smaller East Campus Art Museum.  She specializes in 18th century Spanish art and early in her career discovered unknown works from the period of El Greco and Velasquez.  Today she spoke on two topics: a new grand sculpture park for Duke and the current exhibition of a much neglected Italian Baroque artist, Carlo Dolci (1616-1686).

The sculpture park arose from a discussion about how to integrate the Nasher and the Rubinstein Center for the Arts, now nearing completion, across the street.  Sarah feels that the Nasher itself need not be extended “It is an optimal size for a university like Duke” she said.   The release to Duke (after the decease of its very elderly occupant) of a house adjacent to the Nasher was an added stimulus  to the new project. 

The Arts Center is just the most recent example of David Rubinstein’s ‘Giving Pledge’ philanthropy, adding to the Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library and a substantial contribution to the Sanford School of Public Policy.  After much discussion involving Sarah, Executive V-P and Duke Master Builder Tallman Trask, the plan is to take the Olmsted-designed Campus Drive and 144 acres of unused adjacent areas and create a sculpture park.

The new park would help to integrate East and West campuses, whose separation has long concerned many.  It would make use of a beautiful but little-used wetland and provide a new recreational area.  “Central to the park’s design is its interaction with the hub-and-spoke plan of the Nasher Museum of Art….The park will surround the building, transforming existing parking lanes into green space and creating new entrances into the 5 glazed corners of the museum’s atrium. Gently curving pathways will bring pedestrians to terrain for sculpture as well as a new vantage point from which to view the museum” – according to Urban design and landscape firm West 8, in a June 9 release.

The new Carlo Dolci exhibit, first in the U.S., is coming to Duke from Wellesley College and terminating at Duke on January 14  The show gives new prominence to a neglected artist.  Dolci was initially dissed by opinionated and influential English critic John Ruskin in the 19th century, apparently because of Dolci’s devotion to his Catholic religion.  But his brilliant technique and subtle attention to detail should be sufficient to overcome even the most atheistical prejudice.  It’s a great show.

Sarah was introduced by Arthur Rogers.

Submitted by JS

Speak Your Mind

*