Art Center of the Bluegrass adds to glass collection

Published 6:00 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

The Art Center of the Bluegrass made another leap into the world of contemporary art with the recent acquisition of 13 works by the globally acclaimed artist Hunt Slonem.

This acquisition follows another substantial accession by the Art Center, the museum collection of internationally acclaimed glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell. This impressive glass collection now forms the centerpiece of the newly established GLASS National Art Museum.

“The permanent collection of the Art Center has grown substantially in the past twelve months.” On the addition of Slonem’s works, Executive Director Niki Kinkade reflects, “Slonem’s art has always interested me, and when the opportunity arose to acquire a collection of bunnies, we seized the opportunity.” The acquisition of the bunnies was made possible through the generous support of philanthropists Henry and Pat Shane, avid collectors of Slonem’s work.

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Since 1977, Hunt Slonem has showcased his art in over 350 exhibitions across prestigious galleries and museums worldwide. Over 100 museums have works by Slonem in their collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum, and now, the Art Center of the Bluegrass.    

Slonem is celebrated for his vibrant neo-expressionist style, drawing inspiration from nature. Among his most iconic series is the “bunny series,” which he began painting four decades ago.  Initially unsure why he chose bunnies for his daily drawing practice, Slonem fondly recalls his childhood affinity for the animal. His earlier works featured bunnies primarily at the feet of saints. He remarks that the notion of luck and multiplicity resonates with him, embracing the idea of repetition evident not only in his bunny series but also in his depictions of birds, butterflies, and other elements of nature. While not all his works contain literal repetition, his subject matters often undergo repeated exploration and portrayal.

The “Bunny Wall” is currently on display at Murrini Café, the museum’s adjacent art café.