About the Initial Bequest
As described by his niece, Dale Schlein, Alex Gordon "made his living selling light fixtures and designs, but his real passion was art." Over the course of his lifetime, Gordon, who was a native New Yorker, established a collection of art that ran the gamut from pre-Columbian objects to Old Master paintings and drawings.
After Gordon passed away in 2003, his family followed his desire to support art education by creating an extraordinary legacy. In 2007, they established a $1 million endowment to support scholarship and programs at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, SUNY, in the area of the Art of the Americas with a particular focus on Latin America.
About the choice to give to the Neuberger, Gordon's sister, Jean Eisenstein, observed, "Alex just loved learning about art. The Neuberger has always been a place that my family has enjoyed going to, and I'm just delighted that Alex will be remembered there.''
Since that time, the Neuberger has used the funds generated by the endowment each year to produce exciting and important projects ranging from colloquia to exhibitions to education programs. Some projects, such as Pre-Columbian Remix (2013), have looked at the influence of historical materials on contemporary art. Others, such as A Studio in the Gallery: The Playful Universe of Ignacio Iturria (2017), have brought artists into the museum to produce work on site and in collaboration with students and faculty.
Expanding the Program
In keeping with the tradition of supporting the work of contemporary artists—Roy R. Neuberger's mission that is followed closely at the Neuberger—this year, the program supported by the Alex Gordon Endowment is expanding. The Gordon Foundation is providing additional funds to create an artist-in-residence and exhibition program, which the Neuberger will co-organize with the Willowell Foundation located in Monkton, Vermont. The multi-year grant will provide opportunities for artists to produce projects at the Neuberger that will travel to the Gordon Sculpture Park at Willowell. In addition, this program will broaden the geographic impact of the Neuberger by providing learning opportunities in the arts for a diverse cohort of students from pre-K to college in New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
The First Project
The first project will launch in the fall of 2019 with a local Brooklyn artist who was born and raised in Haiti and who goes by the name "Engels the Artist."
A project like this is born of the fruit of people's passions: From the Gordon family who cared and continue to care about Alex Gordon's legacy here at the Neuberger, to the artist brimming with new ideas and ways to connect with people, to the staff of Willowell and the Neuberger who are so excited to be able to expand on this important program through these additional funds.