The Yale University Art Gallery will immortalize University President Richard Levin and his wife, Jane Levin, the director of undergraduate studies for the Directed Studies program, by naming a new teaching gallery after the University’s first couple.
Jock Reynolds, director of the YUAG, said he will announce today the naming of the Jane and Richard C. Levin Teaching Gallery. The gallery is slated to open in 2012 after the completion of an extensive renovation project.
“Enabling Yale’s great museum and library collections to become more accessible to students, faculty, staff and the public at large has long been a passionate pursuit led by our first couple,” Reynolds wrote in an e-mail. “Their commitment richly deserves to be recognized in perpetuity, for both Jane and Rick Levin deeply understand the power of original works of art to inspire active learning and personal pleasure.”
The Levins could not be reached for comment.
The Jane and Richard C. Levin Teaching Gallery will be located on the fourth floor mezzanine of the renovated gallery. The addition is a part of the $76 million construction project that will join the 1953 Louis Kahn building and the adjacent 1928 Swartwout building with Street Hall, expanding the gallery across High Street for the first time. The three-year project will significantly increase the gallery space for permanent collections, special exhibitions and object-study classrooms.
The Levin Teaching Gallery itself will house temporary, rotating exhibitions of pieces from the gallery collection that will be connected with specific Yale courses, allowing students enrolled in the courses to make thematic connections between the art on display and works explored in the class.
The Governing Board of the Yale University Art Gallery decided to name the gallery after President and Mrs. Levin because of their exceptional commitment to the arts and their advocacy for the use of Yale’s museum collections as a teaching resource, administrators at the gallery said.
“President Levin has been so incredibly supportive of the arts,” said Pamela Franks, the Deputy Director for Collections and Education. “Much of the progress we’ve made has come from him.”
Kate Ezra, the Nolen Curator of Education and Academic Affairs, stressed Levin’s dedication to making the YUAG an educational institution.
“It is a brilliant and well-deserved honor not just because [Levin] is the President, but also because he is committed to using the primary sources the college has available,” she said. “The Yale University Art Gallery places high importance on serving classes, which has really been part of his initiative — or at least he has strengthened the initiative.”
Jane Levin has also put this idea into practice as a part of the Directed Studies program, both Ezra and Franks said. A few times each semester, she brings students to the gallery collection to look at masterpieces from different time periods in Western history.
“She strongly believes in art as a reflection of the history of Western thought,” Ezra said, explaining that Jane Levin uses the gallery collection to supplement class discussions and readings.
The idea of a teaching gallery is piloted at the YUAG this fall: The YUAG opened last month the first teaching gallery in its history on the fourth floor of the Kahn building — Yale University Art Gallery’s current home — to serve as an experimental prototype for the Levin Teaching Gallery. This space helps to acclimate faculty to the novel idea of a teaching gallery, and helps students and faculty to practice the teaching gallery format, said Ezra, who will oversee the Levin Teaching Gallery when it opens.
Four courses in the History of Art department are currently utilizing the space, including Alexander Nemerov’s “American Photos” and Christopher Wood’s “Art and Architecture of the Northern Renaissance” course.
The preliminary steps in the renovation, such as the erection of a block wall to protect the art during construction, is slated to start later this month.