PHILADELPHIA Katherine Stein Sachs and Keith L. Sachs, alumni of the University of Pennsylvania, have established a professorship in contemporary art in the Department of the History of Art at Penn and provided for guest-curated exhibitions at Penn's Institute of Contemporary Art. The total gift is $4 million.
The new Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art is intended to strengthen ties between the School of Arts and Sciences' art history department and the ICA, the only contemporary-art museum at an Ivy League institution.
The Sachs Guest Curator Program will enable ICA to select outside curators to work with ICA staff and the University to organize and present major exhibitions for ICA main exhibition space. Each guest curator will give a lecture series, work with students and help produce a catalog to accompany the exhibition.
The Sachs gift also establishes a fund for contemporary-art programming, including seminars, conferences, lectures, performances and other activities and events to raise the profile of contemporary art on the Penn campus and also further position Penn as an arts center.
"We're very happy to be able to provide the basis for strengthening the teaching of contemporary art at Penn while at the same time deepening the ties between the University and the ICA,Keith Sachs, a 1967 graduate of Penn's Wharton School, said.
We see the ICA functioning as a laboratory for the art history department in much the same way as the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania does for the Penn School of Medicine," said Kathy Sachs, a 1969 graduate of Penn's College for Women.
"We are delighted by this generous gift from two proud Penn alums which will greatly enhance Penn's strength in contemporary art education and scholarship," said Amy Gutmann, Penn president. "The Sachses' philanthropy will benefit Penn students for years to come and integrate our Institute for Contemporary Art seamlessly into Penn's educational mission."
Great universities must teach students how to 'read' in a world where vast quantities of visual information come at them through the media and over high-speed networks," said David Brownlee, chair of the Department of the History of Art. "Contemporary art has flourished in this optically saturated environment, and its study can show students how to be critical readers of what they see, while introducing them to some of the most important ideas of our time."
"Adding a dedicated professor in contemporary art and having an outside curatorial voice will not only further our mission," said Claudia Gould, ICA director, "but also establish our identity as a leader in the field of contemporary art."