Louisville Magazine

AUG 2015

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.15 15 Ghislain d'Humières recently attended a meeting to examine 13 different shades of white paint. "Now we're down to two," he says in mid-July, sitting in a nondescript conference room inside the under-construction Speed Art Museum, which is closed for a $50-million expansion. If he could have his way with the walls? "Black lacquer," he says with a smirk. "I want this place to be challenging." The director has been living in a world of concrete, corrugated aluminum and fritted glass. "Every detail. That's my set of mind," the 40-something says in his French accent. "I defnitely got some gray hair this year and some wrinkles. But how many times can you build a museum?" For him, that number is currently three, having led similar projects in San Francisco and at the University of Oklahoma. Before taking over the Speed in 2013, d'Humières — who is half-French, half- Austrian and was born in Belgium — had never been to Louisville, where he now lives in a downtown high-rise near the river. One of the frst stories he heard when he came to town was about two U of L students walking on campus past the Speed, which opened in 1927 and has some 6,000 years' worth of art in its permanent collection. Student 1: "What is that?" Student 2: "Storage for the university." "If they would have said it was our storage, I could have lived with it," d'Humières says. He says the new museum will not be "bunker-ish" like the Speed's 1972 addition that has been demolished. A new 62,500-square- foot North Building will be mostly glass, including a "foating" staircase over water — with a heating system in the stairs to prevent condensation. An art-house cinema will have 142 seats. A tree- lined outdoor art park will feature an original work by a "light artist" who was inspired by the sunrise in Abraham Lincoln's birthplace of Hodgenville, Kentucky. Louisville Magazine will continue to check in with the Speed leading up to the museum's opening March 12, 2016. After focusing on the permanent collection for six months, the frst exhibit will be "Out of the Box," an "academic," "curatorial" look at the history of "sneakers," from the 16th century to today. "It's going to be really different for people expecting paintings," d'Humières says. "We are completely reinventing the concept of a museum." In fact, d'Humières says, "I wish we could get rid of the word museum. This is going to be a dynamic center. But I don't like the word center. And I don't like the word gallery. I just wish we had another word." — Josh Moss THE BIT THE PORTRAIT Ghislain d'Humières Speed Art Museum director Photo by Mickie Winters

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