the September opening of the new galleries of Ancient
American Art, a traveling exhibition of Treasures
from the Royal Tomb of Ur, and the first public showing
of the finest likeness of Nero in existence, Bonnie Speed has
had no time to ease into her new job as director of the Michael
C. Carlos Museum.
Speed, who came to Emory in August, couldnt be more pleased.
think thats why I love it so much, she says. I
tend to have a lot of energy and really cant stand to
be bored. I have to say, being a museum director hasnt
allowed any chance of that.
important to Speed is creating a sense of public access to museum
collections. As director of the Trammell
and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas for
the past two years, Speed was credited with strengthening that
institutions artistic vision, attracting new audiences,
and forming community partnerships through such endeavors as
a local music series and a quilting festival. Previously, as
director of visual arts at the Mitchell
Museum in Mount Vernon, Illinois, she established a ninety-acre
sculpture park as a centerpiece for public events.
arent just places to collect and preserve art objects,
Speed says. Having all these wonderful things is virtually
irrelevant if theyre not shared.
plans to enhance the Carlos Museums already active outreach
efforts, such as free evening and weekend lectures open to the
community, musical concerts, hands-on workshops for children,
Camp Carlos, and teacher education programs. She also hopes
to work closely with the Universitys art history department,
using their expertise when preparing exhibitions.
are fantastic possibilities here, Speed says. Thats
what is so unique about museums on college and university campuses.
When all of these elements come together and the community is
engaged as wellin those fleeting moments, nothing is as
William M. Chace praises Speeds abundant energy,
considerable museum experience, poise, and focus, with a strong
dose of humor and self-knowledge.
Carlos Museum recently opened new Ancient American Art galleries
to showcase its collection of nearly two thousand pieces from
Mesoamerica, Central America, and the northern and central Andes,
including effigies, ritual artifacts, textiles, ceramics, and
fall exhibits include: a showing of conceptual artist Mel Bochners
monoprints and paintings, which Emory assistant professor of
art history James Meyer calls an examination of the faculties
of seeing, reading, and cognition; an over-sized gilt-bronze
portrait of the notorious Roman emperor Nero, whose images are
rare due to being destroyed or re-cut after his murder; and
the traveling exhibition Treasures from the Royal Tomb
of Ur, including more than two hundred finely crafted
objects of gold, stone, and wood from a Mesopotamian burial
who received her bachelors degree in fine arts and arts
education from the University of Southern Maine and her masters
degree in art history from the University of Kansas, specializes
in twentieth-century American art and Asian art. She attended
the Mandarin Training Center in Taiwan on scholarship in 1987
and 1988 and became fluent in Mandarin Chinese. (Its
not as hard as it sounds, she says modestly. They
dont conjugate verbs.)
see society reflected in art, whether a foreign culture or ones
own, Speed says, is a powerful, transcendent experience. There
is a fascination with art, and there always will be, she
says. Its one of the modes of human expression that
truly has no bounds or limits.M.J.L.
CDC director Koplan joins the Emory faculty