Amherst College has announced a $3 million gift from alumnus John Wieland ('58) and his wife, Sue, to endow a director and chief curator position and support acquisitions of contemporary art by its Mead Art Museum.
In conjunction with the gift, the museum will present a special exhibition of works from the Wielands' collection featuring nearly sixty pieces by more than thirty artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Edward Burtynsky, Robert Gober, Félix González-Torres, Martha Rosler, Cindy Sherman, and Ai Weiwei. "HOUSE: Selections From the Collection of John and Sue Wieland" will open at the Mead on February 8 and remain on view until July 1. Longtime supporters of the museum, the Wielands helped fund a comprehensive reinstallation of the collection and an increased focus on cultivating exhibitions and programs over the past two years to attract new, international voices to Amherst and actively engage campus audiences.
The Wielands began collecting art in the mid-1980s and decided to focus their purchases on artworks that feature a house, a reflection of John Wieland's work as a homebuilder in the Southeast. Curated by Rebecca Dimling Cochran, the exhibition includes works by contemporary painters, photographers, sculptors, and installation and video artists. Highlights include pieces by Vito Acconci, Doug Aitkin, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Robert Bechtle, Hans op de Beeck, Louise Bourgeois, Gregory Crewdson, Olafur Eliasson, Mitch Epstein, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, David Goldblatt, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Alex Katz, Wolfgang Laib, Ed Ruscha, Joel Shapiro, Joel Sternfeld, Ai Weiwei, and Rachel Whiteread.
"We are deeply grateful to John and Sue Wieland for this generous gift to Amherst and for their commitment to ensuring that the Mead's exhibitions, educational programming, and collection-building continue to serve and delight everyone in our community and beyond," said Amherst College president Biddy Martin. "Endowing the Mead Directorship and providing support for acquisitions ensures that the museum will remain an essential contributor to Amherst's excellence."
(Photo credit: Mead Art Museum, Radcliffe Bailey)