Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art

The Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art was founded in 1991 to help support the Museum’s contemporary art collection and related exhibitions, as well as to educate its members and the community at large about contemporary art through programs, events, and art-related travel. Throughout the year, the Collectors Circle organizes a variety of events and activities for its members, including tours of contemporary art exhibitions and private collections, as well as gallery talks and lectures by experts in the field. The group maintains a busy travel schedule with frequent trips to regional, national, and international art destinations. At the Collectors Circle’s annual dinner, members vote to acquire a new contemporary work for the Museum, the cost of which is covered by annual membership dues.

$500 per member
$250 per junior member (under 40)

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Photo Finish 2017: An Event Honoring the Legacy of the Photo Guild
Thursday, June 1
6-8pm // BMA Cafe

Together we will vote to acquire a work of photography for the Museum’s collection.

Collectors Circle and European Art Society go to Germany
June 30-July 9
Register no later than Monday, February 27.

Collectors Circle goes to Upstate NY
August 3-6


Tuesday, May 9
Welcome visiting artist Hayv Kahraman who will give a lecture the following evening at the Museum.

Edward M Friend and Hermione Friend Lecture
Wednesday, May 10
6pm // BMA Auditorium
With guest artist Hayv Kahraman, whose work is featured in the BMA’s exhibition Third Space.

Day trip to Rural Studio 
Saturday, May 13
The Collectors Circle will travel to Newbern, AL for a private tour of Rural Studio.

Collectors Circle travels to San Francisco
April 20-24

By CC Member Michael Randman

The Collectors Circle spent four days in the San Francisco Bay area visiting world class museums, artists’ studios ,and a local leading private collector at his residence.

The group consisted of local members, Rebecca and Jack Drake, Cherly and Sam Pathasema, Dr. Lisa Mani and her brother Mark (visiting from Los Angeles), Dr. Melanie Appell and Michael Randman, Becky Patterson and Doug McCraw, Laura Sappington and Robin Morgan, and our Canadian friends, Margella Leggat and Michael Nesbitt. The group was expertly led by Wassan Al-Khudhairi who is sadly leaving us for a new position in St. Louis.

We began on Friday with a private tour at the recently reopened and expanded SFMoMA. Before beginning our tour of Diane Arbus’s early works, we explored the lower galleries and public spaces. We saw a clever Chris Johanson construction piece at the entrance and an impressive Richard Serra sculpture in the lower main gallery. After the Arbus exhibit, we saw a major retrospective of local photographer, Larry Sultan, an internationally recognized photographer. (We later saw Sultan’s work available for purchase at the Casemore/Kirby Gallery at Minnesota Projects.).

After lunch at the Museum on a spectacular San Francisco day, we had tickets for the special Matisse/Dieberkorn exhibit. Richard Dieberkorn is a bay area artist that was profoundly affected by his encounters with Matisse’s early work. Afterwards, many of us visited the extraordinary Fisher collection of German expressionist paintings located on the 6th floor of the museum. The Fisher collection is noted for its deep and extensive collection of Anselm Kiefer paintings.(some of us went next door to the new Gagosion Gallery to look at an Ed Rusha exhibit).

We then walked over to the Yerba Buena Center and saw a Lynn Hershman Lesson exhibit and an interesting political piece by Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman. Some of us had the energy to visit the Jessica Silverman Gallery(Margo Wolowiec). We had an amazing dinner At the Slanted Door, a James Beard winner located on the pier.

Saturday began with a tour of Travis Somerville’s’ studio in an old navy yard building south of town. (This historic building once housed the atomic bombs used against the Japanese in World War II. ! )

Travis Somerville is an interesting artist-he is represented by Guido Maus, a local Birmingham dealer, but sells primarily in Europe and the Bay area. Somerville is a native of Georgia, but was raised in a very progressive, white household. His work explores racial and political issues that greatly affected him growing up in the rural south in the 70 and 80’s. He works mostly on canvas and wood but makes larger pieces and collage. We found him very literate and engaging… and the group responded to his work.

After lunch in “Dogpatch”, a trendy area south of downtown, we headed over to the house(s) of Jeff Dauber, a former Apple executive and major collector.

Jeff was friendly and entertaining but his art work was very strong-not for the timid. As he said “I like to find the stuff that’s a kick in the teeth”. Works by his friend Travis Somerville as well as work by Deana Lawson, AL Farrow, Cuban artist Enrique Rottenberg, the aforementioned Larry Sultan, Alec Soth, and Mickalene Thomas were on display. We had to walk across the street to another house he owns to see even more work. It was a unique and compelling tour that everyone talked about throughout the trip.

We eventually ended the day at the Minnesota Street Project, a large industrial art space located in Dog Patch. Here we saw works for sale by Larry Sultan, Chris Johanson and other local Bay area artists. Saturday was a free night that allowed us to absorb and unwind from a busy day.

On Sunday, we started the morning by going across the Bay Bridge to Oakland to visit the studio of David Huffman.

Huffman met us at his studio. He grew up in the East Bay area(his mother did art for the Black Panthers). We were fortunate to have Jack and Rebecca Drake with us. They have collected David’s work in the past and have a warm relationship with him. This made the artist comfortable with our group. His recent work was so impressive that many in the group purchased his work. Besides being beautiful and well made, Huffman’s work explores the black identity today in a highly political and divided America. Through various iconic images and phrases, such as basketballs and the repetition of politically loaded phrases such as “I can’t breathe”
that is repeated on his canvases. A very special visit.(blocks of homeless tent cities were all around us here).

On a lighter note, we headed to Berkeley to see the Berkeley Art Museum where they had a fun show “Hippie Modernism”-it brought back some crazy memories!

We headed south to the Stanford campus for our final museum and studio visit. We saw the fabulous Anderson Collection of midcentury American art.(incredible Rothko) and a Nick Cave sound suit exhibit(some suits donated by Jeff Dauber). We also didn’t want to miss the wonderful Rodin collection at the Cantor Center- the largest outside of France.

We ended our day at the studio of Ala Ebtekar, a Persian American artist doing extraordinary work that combines science and Persian history which he updates and adapts to modern expression. Ala trained in an ancient Persian technique of illustration that totally captivated the group. Ala was both engaging and instructive.

Farewell dinner took place Sunday night at Boulevard, a classic restaurant located across our hotel. This summary barely touches on all that we were able to see and do. A trip none of us will soon forget.

Thursday, February 23
6pm // Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts
Tour Beverly Fishman: Another Day in Paradise and Zach Nader: fly-back with exhibition curators John Fields, Jared Ragland and visiting artist Zach Nader. Artist Jessica Angel will also discuss her site-specific installation in progress, Facing the Hyperstructure, created specifically for the Abroms-Engel Institute.

Salon // Downtown Loft Tour
Wednesday, March 1
5:45pm // Meet in the parking lot at Carrigans, 2430 Morris Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203
Spend the evening visiting some of Birmingham’s most inspiring private creative and living spaces. We will meet at the parking lot at Carrigans at 5:45pm and the bus will depart promptly at 6pm.

Chapter 01 // Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith
Tuesday, April 18th
6pm // BMA Auditorium
At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City athlete Tommie Smith raised his fist in the iconic Black Power gesture of civil and human rights solidarity while accepting the Gold Medal for the 200 meter race. This moment and image has since become a part of a visual language associated with the pursuit of justice, equality and advancement of a social cause. Come hear artist Glenn Kaino and athlete Tommie Smith discuss their collaboration in creating Bridge (Section 1 of 6) a sculpture that commemorates Smith’s legacy.

Chapters is a six part series of artists talks, conversations, and performances that will take place over the course of the exhibition Third Space. Chapters will include artists working in a range of disciplines with varying backgrounds.

Thursday · September 29

Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wassan Al-Khudhairi will present this year’s voting selections for the upcoming Annual Dinner


Collectors Circle Annual Dinner
Thursday · October 20

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Collectors Circle trip to Atlanta for Atlanta Celebrates Photography 
Friday · October 28

Thursday · November 3

To welcome artist Lauren Henkin whose exhibition What’s Lost is Found will be on view at the BMA
November 4, 2016–April 30, 2017

Opening / Artist talk
Friday · November 4
6:00pm / BMA

Lauren Henkin will give a talk on her exhibition What’s Lost is Found as part of the new program
Art After 5: First Fridays at the Museum

SAVE THE DATE: Third Space Members Opening
Friday · January 27, 2017

SAVE THE DATE: Collectors Circle goes to San Francisco
Thursday · April 20 — Monday · April 24, 2017

SAVE THE DATE: Collectors Circle and European Art Society trip to Berlin and Beyond
Friday · June 30 — Sunday · July 9, 2017

SAVE THE DATE: Collectors Circle trip to Upstate New York
August 2017

 Recent Travel

Collectors Circle trip to Atlanta Celebrates Photography
October 28, 2016

By CC President Ellen Elsas

The Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art enjoyed a day bus trip to Atlanta to sample some of the highlights of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. Our first stop was the Duane Michals exhibition at Jackson Fine Arts. Since the 1960s, Michals’ witty and moving work has been recognized for its various innovative techniques including sequencing, text and combining painting with photographic images. Also exhibiting at the gallery were Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi and Danish artist Trine Søndergaard.

The lovely weather was perfect for an outdoor lunch at Anis Cafe. Our group then continued to The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia where we were fortunate to have artist Jill Frank take us through her exhibit Nothing Ventured/Nothing Gained. The work focused on the informal social rituals of youth culture. Among the most striking images were a series of large, double-sided portraits of college students taken the morning after a party. Also exhibited at the Museum were photographs of the South by Baldwin Lee.

Next stop was the High Museum to visit Thomas Struth: Nature and Politics. Struth, one of the most important photographers of our time, is identified with the influential Düsseldorf school. His exhibit consisted of 30 highly detailed and richly colored photographs of enormous scale which examined such sites as Disneyland, a plasma physics lab, a high tech surgery suite and a space shuttle maintenance facility.

Our final art stop was an after-hours visit to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center to view the Atlanta Biennial. We were greeted by a sculpture by Birmingham artist Darius Hill at the exhibit’s entrance. Another favorite was a multi-part video installation by Florida artist Kalup Linzy. The trip ended with a festive dinner at the Optimist restaurant where travelers shared oysters and opinions about the diverse approaches to photography we encountered during our whirlwind visit to Atlanta.

Collectors Circle and European Art Society goes to Minneapolis
June 2-5, 2016

By EAS member Dottie Drake


Our enthusiastic group of fifteen led by curators Wassan Al-Khudhairi and Robert Schindler began this excursion on Thursday evening with cocktails and a very impressive dinner at Marin Restaurant and Bar in our hotel with its northern California-inspired cuisine.

We then began Friday morning by visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) with its extraordinary exhibitions and one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country. To begin we toured Old Master paintings with Patrick Noon, Mia’s Paintings Department head, and after lunch we saw the Myron Kunin collection of American Modernism. The artworks span artistic styles of the early 20th century and include nudes, circus performers, social themes, landscapes, portraits and more.

Also housed within Mia is the Midwest Art Conservation Center. Its staff of conservators has renowned expertise in the cleaning, repair and restoration of works of art and historic artifacts using the most current standards, materials and techniques. Of particular interest to our group was BMA’s own Portrait of the van der Graeff Family by Jan Mijtens, 1654, which is being treated there.

Our final destination on Friday afternoon was the Thrivent Art Collection which focuses on original works on paper of religious subject matter. Comprised of eight centuries of art reflecting the Western Christian religious tradition, the collection presents an impressive range of the world’s greatest artists from Durer to Rembrandt to Picasso. Housed within the bank itself, the collection is part of Thrivent’s heritage and commitment to supporting the arts, culture, education and the community.

Saturday morning started off with a tour of the Walker Art Center which focuses on the visual, performing and media arts of our time taking a global, multidisciplinary and diverse approach to all aspects of art. Members of the curatorial staff led us through exhibitions by Hong Kong native Lee Kit. Currently based in Taiwan, Kit often imparts political commentary in his work using everyday materials which he transforms through subtle gestures of painting, drawing and placement.

Also at the Walker was Less Than One, an exhibition by an international, multigenerational group showing works from the 1960’s to the present. The exhibition surveys a range of approaches—from painting and sculpture to drawing, installation, moving image, performance and photography. Less Than One includes pieces by Erica Beckman, Renee Green, Jasper Johns, Adrian Piper, and Sigmar Polke among others.

Later the same afternoon we visited the Weisman Art Museum housed in a striking stainless steel and brick building clearly recognizable as being designed by architect Frank Gehry. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota, the Weisman features early 20th -century American artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley as well as a diverse selection of ceramics and contemporary art.

Our final excursion of the day provided a real treat as we visited the studios of Caroline Kent, MFA and Nate Young, MFA. Kent, a practicing visual artist, is the recipient of several grants, a participant in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S. and also co-founder with Young of The Bindery Projects, an artist-run exhibition space. Currently she is a professor at Saint Paul College and teaches at Juxtaposition Arts, a youth-centered non-profit. Young creates works that engage with issues of race and radicalization in a manner that challenges traditional modes of artistic production. Some of his recent group exhibitions were at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA, the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, and the Anderson Gallery Drake University, Des Moines, IA.

Sunday morning began with a splendid brunch at Spoon and Stable, a restaurant located on the Mississippi River. Once a horse stable, it offers the creative cuisine of James Beard award-winning chef/owner Gavin Kaysen who creates his presentations around the seasonality of the Midwest.

After brunch we concluded the trip with Mill City Museum also located on the river. Built into the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world, its collection focuses on the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river and the city of Minneapolis.

Collectors Circle day trip to Atlanta
May 13, 2016

By CC Travel Chair Lydia Cheney

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On Friday, May 13, 2016, members of the Collectors Circle drove to Atlanta for a great day of art, food, and comaraderie.  Day trippers included Mary Catherine Crowe, Lisa Mani, Michael Randman, Robin Morgan, Marcia Unger, Katherine Pearson, Mary Lynn LaRussa, and Lydia Cheney as well as Lindsey Reynolds and Wassan Al-Khudhairi from the museum.

After arriving at the High Museum, we enjoyed a tasty lunch at Table 1280.  Michael Rooks, Curator of Modern and Comtemporary Art led us through a tour of special exhibit, Vik Muniz and Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks.  As an added treat, we ran into Franklin Sirmans, director of the Perez Art Museum in Miami and a Basquiat curator/scholar.

Our next stop was a studio visit with William Downs, Atlanta based artist who works primarily on paper and whose work has been shown in the US, including Tuscaloosa with The Fuel and Lumber Company.  Downs’ work is intriguiging and sparked the interest of many in the group.  The highlight of the day was a visit to the home of Sara and John Shlesinger who were members of the Collectors Circle fifteen years ago.  Their beautiful home featured an impressive array of contemporary artists including Damien Hirst, Jeff Elrod, and Idris Khan.  John and Sara were very gracious and knowledgeable about their collection and experiences in the art world.

The group ended the day at Hoki Japanese Restaurant on Cobb Parkway, sampling numerous sushi dishes for dinner.  Wassan and team did a superb job of planning an educational and fun filled day and we look forward to the next excursion.

Collectors Circle goes to Marfa TX
April 4-8, 2016

By CC member Carla Hamilton

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Marfa. Population 1900. Tough to get to. Tougher to explain. But once you get there, you get it. That’s what the Marfa Visitor Center claims. Those of us that participated in this trip would agree.

Artist Donald Judd and his legacy are responsible for putting Marfa on the art circuit. He found the stark environment not only conducive to his minimalist style but inspiring. And that is why our visit started with a full day immersion in the magnificent and seemingly endless western landscape. We hiked with a guide from the Chihuaha Desert Center, strolled their botanical gardens, lunched in an old-timey drugstore, toured the national historic site of Fort Davis, visited the MacDonald Observatory as well as took in the infamous Marfa Lights.

Day two (or three if you count the full day it took us to get to Marfa), after having been properly immersed in the environs of Southwest Texas the day before, brought us Judd, Judd and more Judd. We spent a few hours on a private visit of “The Block” – Judd’s home, library and studios. We also explored a couple of other amazing spaces in town that belonged to Judd and included more of his works and those of his contemporaries. After lunch at Marfa’s Pizza Foundation, we had private visits to both Valerie Arber’s artist studio and Robert Arber’s print shop. Some of us then went on to experience Prada Marfa in Valentine TX.

Of course we consumed more Judd on day three, but not until after having been versed in the local contemporary art scene at Ballroom Marfa. We also viewed exhibitions at the Ayn Foundation’s two galleries – Maria Zerres’ “September Eleven” and Andy Warhol’s “The Last Supper”. Food Shark, a funky food truck, took care of hungry tummies before heading off to tour the Chinati Foundation collecton. The former military barracks house works and installations by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldernburg and John Wesley. Flavin’s light installations wowed us! We left Chinati to explore John Chamberlain’s works in town, have a rest and then returned to the old military base at sunset for a private viewing. Here we ended with Judd’s immense, outdoor concrete forms and also his one hundred sleek, indoor aluminum boxes. Breathtaking.

It goes without saying our guides were well-informed, the hotel was top notch, our meals were delicious and every need or want was taken care of. Hats off to Jordan, Wassan and Gail!

I, personally, am a different person since having been to Marfa. I am inspired to try my hand at creating art again. It’s been twenty years. I have no doubt that as I ponder which direction to take a work I will be asking myself “What would Judd do?”

Evening trip to Montgomery
March 30, 2016

Travel to Montgomery to attend the opening of Scout at Triumph and Disaster gallery. The exhibition, curated by Grear Patterson and inspired by Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, features the following artists: Sebastian Lloyd Rees, Yves Scherer, Jeremy Anderegg, Ophelia Finke, Jack Irv, and Grear Patterson.

4pm: Depart the BMA via charter bus

6pm: Scout opening at Triumph and Disaster

7:30: Dinner at The A & P Social

Venice pic (2)Collectors Circle Trip to Venice, Italy for the 56th Venice Biennale
November 2-8, 2015

By CC member Robin Morgan

The Collectors Circle had a blast in Venice at the 56th Venice Biennale! Founded in 1895, it is one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organizations in the world today. The Venice Biennale stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends.  The Biennale is comprised of three efforts; the exhibitions of the National Pavilions, the International Exhibition, and Collateral Events. The exhibition of each National Pavilion has its own curator and project, while the International Exhibition and Collateral Events are orchestrated and approved by the Biennale curator.

Most of the National Pavilions are located at the Giardini, a large area of parkland. Most countries have their own Pavilions, however some countries have their exhibitions in unique locations, such as palaces in Venice and on nearby islands. Some favorites among the trip included Japan’s exhibit with artist Chiharu Shiota’s “Key in the Hand”, Camille Norment’s “Rapture” for Norway, and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot ‘s “Revolutions” for France with its living trees that moved above ground, supposedly propelled by the trees own sap flow generating electricity.

The Arsenale (a complex of former shipyards and armories) area of Venice was the site for many, many more exhibitions. Some of the artists represented included Sarah Sze, Adrian Piper, Steve McQueen, Bruce Nauman, and Terry Adkins among others.
We enjoyed numerous separate exhibitions throughout Venice. They included “Frontiers Reimagined” at the Museo Palazzo Grimani. “Frontiers Reimagined” featured the work of major Asian artists such as Chun Kwang Young who produces sculptural work with mulberry paper and Styrofoam that are incredible and Hiroshi Senju’s breathtaking abstract waterfall paintings.

Another exhibition was Proportio at the Palazzo Fortuny. This showing featured contemporary art, architectural drawings, music, and sculpture from various periods that assemble into a universal representation of proportion. Among the artists represented were Ellsworth Kelly, Sando Botticelli, Andrea Palladio, Sebastiano Serlio, Anish Kapoor, AnseVenice piclm Keifer, Fred Sandback, and Gerrit Rietveld.

At Punta Della Dogagna we enjoyed the conceptual exhibition “Slip of the Tongue”. Curator Danh Vo explores the historical role of the curator through contemporary relationships between artists.

We delighted in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal. Among the artists represented are Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Léger, Brancusi, Severini, Balla, Delaunay, Kupka, Picabia, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Arp, Miró, Giacometti, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Dalí, Pollock, Rothko, Calder, Moore, and Marini. We visited the nearby island of San Giorgio Maggiore and the beautiful Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Palladio and begun in 1566. The Church housed the exhibition “Together” by Jaume Piensa.

We were fortunate to view the work of the late Emilio Vedova (1919-2006) at Dorsodua, a pivotal artist in the Italian contemporary art scene. Almost next door we stumbled onto an exhibition titled “We Must Risk Delight”, which featured 20 artists from Los Angeles.

We also visited the island of Murano, famous for its glass and artisan glass pieces. We had a private visit to the home and studio of Lino Tagliapietra. Although he was consulting in the US, his son, Silvano, graciously showed us a short film of his father producing unbelievable works of glass art and pieces that were for sale.
One evening we were surprised with an “after hours” (which really meant after the crowds) tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. The mosaics are magnificent and the intrigue involving the body of St. Mark was fascinating.
Our trip was fantastic! We lucked into great weather, our accommodations at the Hotel Londra Palace were fine, right on the water, within minutes of Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), and our guides were great! Many thanks to Elizabeth Dean and our specialty guides Kristina and Susan.

Collectors Circle Trip to Chicago
International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art
September 17-20, 2015

By CC member Shirley Osband

To start at the Mies van der Rohe designed Arts Club of Chicago and end with a visit
to museums within the mix of “Modern Gothic-to- Contemporary” architecture of
the University of Chicago speaks to the surround of Chicago’s beautiful buildings as
a backdrop for an art-filled weekend.

After breakfast at The Arts Club and Kirstin Brätsh’s “Pele’s Curse” addressing
painting and its possibilities with paper marbling, baked antique glass, and stained
glass brushstrokes, we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and “Music
You Can See, Art You Can Hear,” describing the exhibition of the 1960’s African
American avant-garde of Chicago jazz musicians and its engagement with the civic
rights era. Then to a gallery visit to view the words and definitions, erasures and
contradictions that comprise the work of Bethany Collins, commissioned to create
an installation within the BMA main lobby. The day ended at the Navy Pier for a VIP
Preview of the Expo Art Fair. Our next day began with “Charles Ray Sculpture,
1997-2014,” a mid-career retrospective, again with breakfast at the Art Institute of
Chicago, then a visit to private collections of both world-class and emerging artists
before returning to the Fair, a well-laid-out plan that featured 20th and 21st century
national and international artists. While there, a Dialogues Keynote featured Thelma
Golden, Franklin Sirmans, and Solveig Ovstebo discussing “The Global Impact of
Public Collections,” highlighted by Golden’s reveal of an informed intuition as a
guide for her selections. Our final day gave us quiche and Quinn, one of the artists to
be presented as a selection at our annual dinner. We then met with Ebony Patterson,
another selection choice, who discussed her works using hand-embellished
tapestries to address social issues. Mana Contemporary, a converted industrial
building now housing artist studios, arts nonprofits, and art services, was an
opportunity to engage with artists working in affordable spaces. The Smart Museum
and a Jessica Stockholder installation, the Renaissance Society with Serbian artist
Krena Haiduk, and the Logan Center for the Arts featuring Agnes Varda’s films and
video installations, all at the University of Chicago, was a multi-focused ending.

From beginning to end with meeting at gift shops, enjoying coffee in the VIP Lounge,
and eating exceedingly well at locally-suggested restaurants, an anonymous
summation says it all, “Wassan and Carrie are wonderful . . . young, high-energy,
knowledgeable, and fun to be with on these great trips”.

Collector’s Circle Trip to the Havana Biennial
May 22-28, 2015

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Collectors Circle Trip to Los Angeles
April 9-12, 2015

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The Collectors Circle spent four days in Los Angeles visiting artist studios and private collections, touring museums, and enjoying group meals. The group kicked off the trip on Thursday, April 9 with a private visit and VIP opening for the solo exhibition Enrique Martinez Celaya: Lone Star at the L.A. Louver. Installed throughout all of the L.A. Louver’s gallery spaces, the exhibition featured new paintings, sculptures, installations, and writings by artist Enrique Martinez Celaya. Dinner followed at famed Japanese restaurant, Nobu.

On Friday, CC members visited the studios of artists Mark Bradford and Sterling Ruby, as well as the private collection of Mandy and Cliff Einstein. The Einstein’s have developed one of the most formidable art collections in the country, listed together as one of America’s Top 100 collectors by Art and Antiques magazine. The group also spent time at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, an institution with a comprehensive collection of over 120,000 objects. They enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine for lunch at La Casita Mexicana, and had the evening on their own to unwind after a full day!

Saturday morning included visits to the studios of artists Glenn Kaino and Sam Falls, followed by catered lunch at the Hammer Museum’s café. After lunch, the group toured The Hammer museum’s current major exhibitions: Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio, Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now, and Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989. Next, they traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a guided tour of the exhibition: William Pope.L: Trinket. After an afternoon of touring exhibitions, they attended artist Diana Al-Hadid’s Gallery Opening Reception at the OHWOW Gallery in West Hollywood. Farewell dinner took place at the Church Key LA.

Recent Events

Joint Voting Event with the Friends of American Art
June 23, 2016
Birmingham Museum of Art Cafe

Together the Friends and Collectors Circle will vote on a new acquisition for the permanent collection of photography.

Exhibition opening and artist talk
April 16, 2016 // BMA 8th Ave Lobby

Please join us for the opening talk and reception for lobby projects. The talk will be given by inaugural lobby projects artist Bethany Collins.

Before the talk, we will hold a special Collectors Circle champagne toast at 5:30PM in the Museum’s main lobby. Join us as we toast Bethany on her work, and take a first look of lobby projects before the event opens to the public.

Collector’s Circle Salon
March 10, 2016
Home of Gail Andrews

Salon presentation by Director Gail Andrews about her recent trip to Naoshima, the ‘art island of Japan’.


Collector’s Circle Salon
February 5, 2016
6:00 PM
Home of Rebecca and Jack Drake

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, will give a presentation on the work of Bethany Collins, our inaugural lobby projects artist. Wassan will share behind-the-scenes photos, works from her past projects, and other fun tidbits and teasers about this exciting new project at the Museum.

CANCELLED: John Morton Annual Lecture in Photography
February 4, 2016
7:00 PM // BMA Steiner Auditorium

with contemporary artist Leslie Hewitt

Collector’s Circle Salon
January 8, 2016
6:00 PM

Welcome cocktails with visiting artist Bethany Collins

Art Papers Live
January 9, 2016
11:00 AM

What the Body Can Say: A conversation between Natasha Trethewey and Bethany Collins moderated by scholar Ivy Wilson

Annual Chenoweth Lecture
November 5, 2015
7:00 PM // BMA Steiner Auditorium

BMA Steiner Auditorium

Carter Foster, Curator of Drawing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, will discuss the Whitney’s new home, a Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

Collector’s Circle Salon
November 19, 2015
6:00 PM

2015 has been an incredible year for Collectors Circle travel. Join the group to share stories and photos of recent trips, including Cuba, Chicago, and Venice.

 Collectors Circle 23rd Anniversary Dinner
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Collector’s Circle Salon
September 24, 2015
6:00-8:00 PM

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, will share artwork selections for annual Collectors Circle dinner voting.

Collector’s Circle Salon
August 20, 2015
6:00-8:00 PM
The home of John Hagefstration

At this special Salon, we will welcome new Collectors Circle members from the Photography Guild, and John will speak briefly about his collection of 20th-century photography.

Collector’s Circle Salon Vamp and Tramp
June 25, 2015
6:00 PM
The home of Tina Ruggieri  

BMA Librarian Lindsey Reynolds will give an introduction on artists’ books and their importance to the Hanson Library’s collection.

Special guests Bill & Vicky Stewart of Vamp & Tramp booksellers will follow with a presentation on contemporary fine press and artists’ books. A selection of works from their inventory of rare artists’ books and fine press materials will be available to browse, including books by local and international artists. Based in Birmingham, the Stewarts are one of the premier vendors of handmade artists’ books, traveling the United States with their vast and unique collection, selling to libraries, museums, collectors, and retail shops. They are frequent lecturers on artists’ books at major events, including conferences, and they have been working closely with individual book artists for more than a decade.

Special Lecture with Paper Conservator
June 17, 2015
12:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Members Room

SieglerThe BMA welcomes Dr. Sheila Siegler, DIC, FIIC, MAIC, who is currently a freelance paper conservator, lecturer, and science consultant. This is an event for members of BMA support groups only.

In her talk, Dr. Siegler will discuss what paper is and how it’s made; what deteriorates paper (light, humidity, insects, humans, and more); how to stop deterioration; and how to care for your collection at home, especially photographs.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring 1-2 works on paper from your personal collections. Dr. Siegler will comment on the condition of your works, as well as recommend treatments. Lunch will not be served at the event; however, we encourage you to meet your friends before or after the event for lunch in Oscar’s Café.

Collector’s Circle Salon
May 16, 2015
6:00 PM
Private Collection Visit

Be part of the unveiling of a new site-specific sculpture by artist Jo Nigoghossian and enjoy the opening of an exhibition of works on paper, curated by Fuel and Lumber.

Collectors Circle Salon
April 23, 2015
6:00 PM
The home of Rick and Patricia Sprague

Please join us at our April salon at the home of Rick and Patricia Sprague. Artist Frank Fleming, whose work is featured at the Museum now in the exhibition Between Fantasy and Reality: Frank Fleming, will be our guest for the evening. We will also welcome Ramiro Gomez, juror and featured poster artist at this year’s Magic City Art Connection.

Meet and Greet with Rick Lowe
April 8, 2015
6:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art

Collectors Circle hosts a meet & greet with Rick Lowe followed by a lecture at 7:00 pm titled Social and Community Engaged Art: The Genuine and the Artificial.

Collectors Circle Salon
March 27, 2015
6:00 PM
The home of Jack and Rebecca Drake

CC Salon with artist Derrick Adams

Derrick Adams performance “The Entertainer”
March 28, 2015
7:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art

Collector’s Circle Salon
November 19, 2014
5:30 -7:30 PM

Collector’s Circle travel to New Orleans for Prospect New Orleans
October 23-26, 2014

Click here to see the full itinerary for the trip.

Collector’s Circle Annual Acquisition Dinner
October 16, 2014
6:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art

Salon with artist Maegan Hill-Carroll  and the Photography Guild
October 14
6:00 PM
Omni Studio
2309 1st Avenue North
Birmingham AL

Art Papers Live
Slavs and Tatars: Long Legged Linguistics
Saturday, September 20, 2014
11:00 AM
Birmingham Museum of Art

Slavs and Tatars joined ART PAPERS and the BMA to explore the potential of language-and particularly, of transliteration, or the conversion of scripts-as a strategy of both resistance and research into notions of identity politics, colonialism, and faith.

Slavs and Tatars’ sculpture Rahle for Richard (2013) will be on view in the BMA’s Contemporary Galleries starting in September 2014.

Private Dinner Welcoming Art Papers to Birmingham
with special guest Slavs and Tatars
Friday, September 19, 2014
6:30 PM

Guests joined ART PAPERS at the Home of Robin and Carolyn Wade.

Collection visit to the home of Michael Straus
Thursday, July 10
6:00 PM

On  Thursday, July 10 Collector’s Circle members visited Michael Straus’ art collection at his warehouse-office space. Having built an in-depth collection featuring notable artists such as Tara Donovan, Ivan Navarro, Andy Warhol and Keith Sonnier, Michael’s collection consists largely of minimalist, as well as conceptually-driven drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

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Collector’s Circle Salon
At the home of Stan and Beverly Erdreich
Thursday, June 26

5:30 PM

Wassan Al-Khudhairi, the Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art discussed some initial thoughts and ideas about exhibitions, programs, and collecting areas, as well as possibilities for future Salon topics and group travel.