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Tangents to Heaven

Featuring the The Mary Norton Shands and Alfred R. Shands III Art Collection Bequest.

This exhibition honors the life and legacy of Episcopal priest, filmmaker, writer and art connoisseur Al Shands (1928-2021) and his wife, Mary Norton Shands. Together, the couple supported and collected the works of nationally and regionally prominent contemporary artists. After their deaths, their collection was bequeathed to institutions across the Commonwealth, including 45 pieces donated to the Kentucky Museum. We are honored to exhibit selections from this collection, which serve to inspire the next generation of Kentucky artists.

“Because of art’s suggestive power, it points to a story beyond itself. The point of the story is to inspire and baffle at the same time. Good stories comfort and unsettle us simultaneously. And that’s life. Maybe that is the reason that many people have such problems with contemporary art. It takes you into a realm beyond the literal. It obliges us to make connections, to fill in the dots on your own. You have to make an effort. You have to permit your imagination to take over. What’s it all about? Well, it’s as much up to you as it is the artist. There has to be a space left between the blanks for you. There is a necessary ambiguity.

And so it is with God.”

– “Hanging onto the Muddle,” November 17, 2002

Mondo Condo II

Mondo Condo II
Wayne Ferguson
1985; Painted Ceramic

Cross Check Armchair

Cross Check armchair
Frank Gehry for Knoll
1997; Bent Maple Wood




More Information about Al & Mary Shands

About Al Shands

For the Love of Art: An Appreciation of Al Shands by Kevin Nance (Sept. 2021)

Reverend, Collector, and Unlikely Tastemaker: The Story of Al Shands by Yasmeen Saddiqui (April 2013)

The Great Meadows Foundation

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 Last Modified 1/17/24