Members of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are invited to enhance their experiences at the Museum through a variety of events including exhibition preview days, exclusive opportunities that highlight the permanent collection, and special programs that are tailored to specific membership levels and philanthropic interests. Click here to learn more or contact Sarah Burgess, at 804.204.2676 or sarah.burgess@VMFA.museum.
Open to members beginning at the Friends level, the Focus Series explores each of the museum’s collecting areas in eight engaging members-only programs featuring curators, artists, and a variety of topics in the art world as they relate to VMFA’s collection.
Focus Series: South Asian
Thu, Mar 22, 6 pm
At Play with Krishna
with John Stratton Hawley, Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University
VMFA plays host to one of the world’s most extraordinary depictions of the Hindu deity Krishna and his deeply playful, erotically charged world. Renowned devotional Hinduism specialist Jack Hawley explores this monumental painting—centerpiece of the installation, Krishna: The Blue-Skinned Lord. He situates it in the broader spectrum of Krishna art and asks why Surdas, the famed blind poet, is present on the scene. Why do someone so beautiful and someone so blind belong together?
Focus Series: African
Thu, Apr 12, 6 pm
Humor and Violence: Seeing Europeans in Central African Art
with Zoë S. Strother, Riggio Professor of African Art, Columbia University
There is a long history of Central Africans depicting Europeans and Americans. Vili ivory sculptors made some of the only surviving portrayals by Africans of the 19th century slave trade. Yaka and Nkanu caricatured Europeans during boys’ initiations in order to provide models of how not to be a man. It is a paradox that some of the most light-hearted images of Europeans were produced during the periods of the worst violence, often in the form of diplomatic gifts. The talk ends with reflections by Congolese artists on the power of parody in the realm of politics.
European Trader Traveling in Tipoy. Bembe (Congo-Brazzaville). L. 43.7” (111 cm). Collection Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 28566. Donated by A. Boshorn to the Vereenigingsche Rotterdamsche Diergaarde, 1887.
The Focus Series is open to all members beginning at the Friends level.
Focus Series: Photography
Thu, May 17, 6 pm
Vision & Justice: Race, Citizenship, and America
with Sarah Lewis, Assistant Professor at Harvard, in the Departments of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies
Can art today bring about the catalytic social change that it has in the past? What is the role of the artist in shifting our perceptions, shattering biases, and creating the world we want? Gathering in various threads—art history, technical innovation, race, photography, the story of America, and a deeply personal narrative—Sarah Lewis makes a lucid and original case for art as a lever to social justice and cultural transformation.
Members beginning at the Supporters level receive invitations to Spotlight programs and receptions in their selected Focus. With greater access to renowned visiting scholars and the museum’s curatorial staff, these unique opportunities promise to nourish your passion for art and allow you to delve more deeply into your chosen Focus.
Spotlight: South Asian
Thu, Mar 22, 7 pm
Meet and Greet with John Stratton Hawley,Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University
This Spotlight program is open to members beginning at the Supporter level who have selected South Asian Art as their Focus. For reservations, email email@example.com or call 804-340-1499.
Wed, Mar 28, 6 pm
Curator and Collector: The Horse in Ancient Greek Art
Join Dr. Peter J. Schertz, Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art and Paul Hasse, art collector for this special behind the scenes look at The Horse in Ancient Greek Art exhibition. Greek artists and writers celebrated horses as symbols of wealth, power, and prestige but also as cherished companions of humans, heroes, and gods. Peter will talk though the significance of the horse in ancient Greek culture and Paul will provide a collector’s view of some of his favorite pieces.
This Spotlight program is open to members beginning at the Supporter level who have selected Ancient Art as their Focus. For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-340-1499.
Thu, Apr 12, 7 pm
Meet and Greet with Zoë S. Strother, Riggio Professor of African Art, Columbia University
A special Spotlight reception with Zoë S. Strother, Riggio Professor of African Art at Columbia University and current Getty Scholar, following her Focus Series program, Humor and Violence: Seeing Europeans in Central African Art.
This Spotlight program is open to members beginning at the Supporter level who have selected African Art as their Focus. For reservations, email email@example.com or call 804-340-1499.
Members at all levels receive invitations to preview days for major exhibitions. Members also receive discounts on museum classes, public programs, and performances. Explore these programs here!
In addition to the member events outlined above, a number of highly customized events and programs are planned throughout the year that are tailored to specific membership levels and philanthropic interests. Leadership level members are invited to opening receptions for major exhibitions, members of Glasgow Society who have made planned gifts in support of VMFA’s mission are invited to learn about the impact of their giving, art donors are brought together to celebrate the growth of VMFA’s permanent collection each year as part of the John Barton Payne Society – these are just a few examples of the many wonderful opportunities to engage with VMFA and its mission that are provided each year. Click here to learn more or contact Sarah Hendricks, Manager of Individual Giving, at 804.340.1478 or sarah.hendricks@VMFA.museum.