A Message to Our Community from Our Director

As steward of many of Nebraska’s most significant cultural resources, Joslyn Art Museum brings people together with the visual arts and explores connections between art and the human spirit. As the world marks one year since the declaration of the pandemic, I pause to consider the multitude of challenges Joslyn faced over the past 12 months. Our staff worked through those obstacles and from it came a year of adjusted goals and fresh takes on every aspect of our work. I invite you to read our 2020 impact report that reflects the Museum's relevance, resourcefulness, and responsible actions throughout 2020. It offers a look back at what we did, while also demonstrating what we will continue to do—welcome and inspire audiences through art as we deepen our connections with all whom we serve.

I am delighted to share the news of a new program just introduced in the permanent collection galleries—OMAHA SPEAKS. Through our collections, exhibitions, and programs, we strive to increase art's reach and foster deeper connections with people of all backgrounds. OMAHA SPEAKS is a step in the right direction. Facilitated by Joslyn curators, the program looks to broaden the conventional interpretation of objects in our collection by introducing commentary from leaders in our community. New labels appear next to their selected works in the galleries and the interpretations appear online as well.

In June, Joslyn opens American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918–1939. We are proud to partner on this important touring exhibition with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO). As we conceived it some years ago, to its fruition, it has evolved into an expansive exploration of the Art Deco style, but also a deep-dive into American life during the interwar years, bringing to the fore many issues that are still relevant today. As an institution born in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the nation, we are delighted to co-organize an exhibition that so thoroughly explores this time in our history. The exhibition showcases some 140 objects, and the related programming is outstanding.

This fall, Joslyn presents the first major exhibition to focus exclusively on Bodmer’s portraits of Indigenous individuals. Faces from the Interior: The North American Portraits of Karl Bodmer (October 2, 2021–January 2, 2022) features numerous recently-conserved watercolors drawn entirely from Joslyn's renowned Maximilian-Bodmer collection. We have organized this exhibition in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), where it debuts under the title Karl Bodmer: North American Portraits on April 5, 2021.

This November, Joslyn marks its 90th anniversary, beginning with a Gala presented by the Joslyn Art Museum Association on Saturday, November 6. This formal event will celebrate our history while raising funds for the Museum and its education programs. Our curators are also collaborating on an exhibition encompassing the Museum's history, from ground breaking to today. Watch for more details on the Gala celebration and the history exhibition coming soon!

See you in the galleries!

Jack F. Becker, Ph.D.
Executive Director & CEO