Through the decades: Hofstra Museum turns 60


Hofstra University Museum of Art’s many treasures are grand in scope and scale. It’s been a proud transformation for the museum, which began with a single gallery space, constructed in 1963. Decades later, it’s among the region’s leading arts institutions.

“Hofstra Museum is the only nationally accredited public facing (university) museum on Long Island,” says Alexandra Giordano, the museum’s new director.

The museum reaches into its vast collection once again to open its fall exhibit season with “New Perspectives: The Museum of Art at 60.” It’s a sampling of the more than 5,200 works of art in the permanent collection, which date from 1500 B.C.E. to the 21st century. Painting, prints, drawings, photographs and sculpture — with an emphasis on American and European art — are all here. African, Asian, Melanesian, and Central and South American artifacts add to the strength of the collection.

“We like to think of ourselves as a learning lab for the campus, as well as hub for community enrichment and education,” Giordano says. That educational component also serves as foundation for arts education for students from pre-K through high school.

It’s all in keeping with the museum’s mission to facilitate rich and varied cultural and artistic explorations in an atmosphere promoting an open exchange of ideas. That’s certainly what this exhibit is all about.

New Perspectives is just that: a view of the museum’s collections through “new” eyes. Actually a showcase of 10 “mini exhibitions,” curated by what may seem unlikely individuals.

“We invited campus and community members to bring us a new perspective and point of view. It’s an interdisciplinary approach that involved alumni, students, staff, administrative leadership and others,” Giordano says. “We have created a place where art intersects with the community.”

These “guest curators” reviewed the collection database, examined works in collection storage, and then made their selections. Their entries, of course, vary in style and content, depending upon their interests and focus.

Assemblywoman Taylor Darling is among those invited to participate.

“I’m deeply honored to be a part of Hofstra Museum 60th  anniversary,” she shares. “The experience was truly remarkable as the artworks I chose resonated with my soul on a profound level. Each piece exuded a powerful feminine energy that both motivated and inspired me, leaving an indelible mark on my heart and reaffirming the importance of celebrating art and culture in our academic community.”

Among her selections: The Dowayo peoples’ Namji Fertility Doll and George Gach’s sculpture, Maternity.

Other highlights include Benny Andrews’ collage “Chasty,” selected by Margarita Lopez, a recent alumna, and Dong Kingman’s “Harlem Girl,” another pick by Darling.

“Their use of materials, oil on canvas, really captures their subjects,” Giordano adds. “Both artists complement each other well.”

As always, public programming enhances the exhibit experience. Upcoming events include a conversation with the curators, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. The guest curators will discuss their selections and experiences, offering insight into this collaborative exhibition. Attendees will hear how they viewed the collection from their individual outlooks. Light refreshments will be available.