Headshot of Susan Edwards

March 2021

Many believe that the lore about March—in like a lion, out like a lamb—is more hope than certifiable weather pattern. In the past twelve months, our community and the world have encountered repeated natural and man-made disasters. Our values and beliefs were tested; yet communities everywhere responded by coming together to comfort, serve, mend, heal, and listen.

Please visit our new online exhibition, N2020, with guest curator Woke3, where you will see images made last year between March 3, when Nashville was hit by a devastating tornado, and December 25, when a bombing on Lower Broadway killed one, injured dozens, and damaged approximately fifty historic buildings. These painful realities embody tragedy but also hope. Nashville Strong is a promise. The local commitment to examining systemic racism and inequity as we work toward a more just society is palpable. We at the Frist are committed to the process and the time it will take to effect meaningful change.

Our role in the challenges before us requires listening, keeping open minds, and remaining true to the mission of the Frist Art Museum. The vision to inspire others through art to see their world in new ways is designed to encourage conversations and greater understanding of how the past can expose truths—laudable or deplorable—that open the doors to reconciliation.

Picasso. Figures includes stunning works of art that demonstrate how one artist combined the personal and the political, and how his art testifies to the intersectionality of social norms and cultural context. The exhibition takes aim at the artist’s misogyny. Picasso cannot come away in the current sensitivity to gender equality without a black eye. Still, the art holds more for us than his culpability. Picasso remains a prodigious talent in tune with the intellectual, philosophical, and political circumstances of his time. A visit to the exhibition will doubtless spark your own conversations about the art, the artist, and lessons for the future.

Similarly, Creating the American West in Art prompts discussions concerning the historical representation of the mythological West, cowboy culture, and stereotypes of Indigenous people. How was visual culture enlisted to support the doctrine of manifest destiny, concepts of progress, and American imperialism? For more than four decades, art historians have been examining accepted tropes in the visual arts to peel away the layers of meaning to reveal their implicit meanings. The process does not negate beauty, the competence of the artist, or the validity of works of art. Rather, rethinking inherited norms adds richness and relevance.

Please join us in person and online to see art that delights and provokes, in good ways.

Stay safe.

Susan H. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director and CEO

February 2021

Welcome to the Frist Art Museum online.

Since this time last year, we have become both closer and more isolated. Meeting in cyberspace helps us stay connected, but there is a huge appetite for seeing one another and art in person. Indoor activities such as visiting the Frist Art Museum require your cooperation: we appreciate your observing the mandated protocols of physical distancing and wearing masks properly at all times.

Please make plans to see Picasso. Figures this spring while the exhibition is in Nashville, the only US venue. Because we must limit the number of people in our building, we encourage you to reserve advance timed tickets now. Your booking early allows us to adjust or add hours so that we can provide you with the safest and most enjoyable museum visit possible.

There is no premium on tickets for Picasso. Figures. For reservations, go to FristArtMuseum.org/tickets. From February 14 through May 2, Sunday mornings will be reserved for members only. A FAM membership includes unlimited free admission to all exhibitions for a full year.

In 2021, the exhibitions and programs on-site and online are designed to offer not only beauty, joy, inspiration, and solace, but also opportunities to examine our world and our place in it. Curators, educators, and academics accept that history, including the history of art, is a construction that requires relentless scrutiny to prevent the inequities of the past from being what “just is” rather than “justice.”* We believe art offers transformative experiences, and we invite all curious people to allow the arts to touch your heart and feed your soul.

Thank you again for your loyal support to the Frist Art Museum with your memberships and donations. Our doors are open, and we look forward to seeing you at the museum.

Susan H. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director and CEO

* Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb,” delivered on January 20, 2021, at the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala D. Harris.

January 2021

Dear Friends of the Frist,

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions and the spirit of new beginnings. Those sentiments have added meaning this year as we all wish fervently that we could leave the death, disease, and disruption of 2020 behind us. While there are well-placed reasons for optimism, pragmatism requires us to exercise caution and adjust our expectations realistically. That said, current best advice allows indoor activities such as visiting the Frist Art Museum.

We have adjusted our schedule temporarily. For now, we are open Thursdays through Sundays—the most popular days among our guests. From Thursday through Saturday, our hours are 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and on Sundays our galleries and gift shop are open to you from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. Martin ArtQuest will be accessible 1:00–5:00 p.m. on all four days. Service in the café has been suspended, but vending machines and seating remain available.

The exhibition schedule for 2021 is robust, and you will not want to miss the rare opportunity to see Picasso. Figures, on loan to us from the Musée national Picasso-Paris, as well as art from Nashville and the world. Our top priority is to ensure your safety. We continue to be diligent in following all recommended protocols and requiring all guests to do the same. Our spacious galleries allow ample room for social distancing, and a complete list of safety measures can be found on our website.

Reservations can be made at FristArtMuseum.org/tickets. The present reduction in downtown traffic means that parking is readily available in our visitor lot.

Be sure to consult FristArtMuseum.org before your visit for the most up-to-date information—and, while you’re there, enjoy our array of online programs, including Frist at Home tours (with new sessions streamed weekly), Storytime (in English, Spanish, and ASL), panel discussions, art history classes, curator’s tours, digital exhibitions (such as 2020 Young Tennessee Artists), and other offerings.

Thank you to all who have continued to support the Frist Art Museum with your memberships and donations during this challenging period. Your generosity is appreciated more than you know.

While we must operate on a temporarily modified schedule for the time being, we look forward to restoring our hours as circumstances permit. Our commitment to our communities—to education, equity, and diversity, and to the healing, nurturing, and inspiring power of art—is unwavering.

Please stay safe.

Susan H. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director and CEO

Summer 2020

Dear Friends of the Frist,

We join the international outcry denouncing racism, intolerance, and violence, and we, like those filling streets around the world in protest, mourn George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many other victims before them. We join the world to say that Black Lives Matter. Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, these recent killings underscore the inequities and casualties of systemic racism and make the need for real change even more urgent. We at the Frist Art Museum strive to be a part of an immediate and sustained movement for change.

As a visual arts organization founded in 2001, we are in a strong position to be part of a communal force committed to deconstructing assumed truths inherited from the past. The Frist was conceived as an institution devoted to education, the celebration of visual culture, and a deeply rooted belief that seeing the world differently through art can change lives. From our founding, we have been charged with bringing to light a more thorough understanding of the world’s peoples, cultures, and religions and their respective contributions to humanity, with special attention paid to the ethnic and racial diversity of our own country and community.

We are rigorously committed to examining ourselves, our presumptions and motives, our operations and programming, and our staff, volunteers, board, and councils. We can always do better. Nashville has a place in the history of the twentieth-century civil rights movement that was not always peaceful or easy. Ensuring that we are on the right side of history in 2020 is a responsibility we share. We look forward to coming together as we move toward a more equitable and just society. In service all things are possible.

Susan H. Edwards, PhD
Executive Director and CEO

Please consider supporting the Frist Art Museum with a donation. Your gift is essential to our mission of serving the community through the arts and art access, in particular. We truly appreciate your generosity.