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Solitude in the Studio: Celebrating Kenneth Freed’s Recent Gift to the University Art Collection

November 2020

Celebrating a recent gift of by Kalamazoo-based artist and WMU alumni Kenneth Freed in honor of Professor Emeritus Curtis Rhodes to Western Michigan University’s Art Collection, this special online exhibition will premiere Mr. Freed’s lush intaglio prints as high resolution digital reproductions. Simultaneously, the Exhibitions department will invite submissions of images of studio life from WMU Frostic School of Art students, faculty and staff, as well as our broader Kalamazoo community. With the goal of creating an online archive of studio life during a time of solitude and isolation, the sharing of studio images in this format is not intended as self-promotion or endorsement, but rather a point of departure for sharing creative life at a time of distance from each other. Information about the submission process will be announced in October.

About Ken Freed’s recent gift in honor of Professor Emeritus Curtis Rhodes

In 1976, while Ken Freed was in graduate school at Western Michigan University, he received a Ford Foundation Grant to create a suite of intaglio prints. Mentored by Professor Curtis Rhodes, Freed took as his muse the subject of the artist’s studio. Aided, as Freed recalls, by “the kindness of so many artist who took pity of a twenty-some year-old student from Michigan,” Freed visited the studios of Lowell Nesbitt, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Philip Pearlstein, Louise Nevelson, Richard J. Haas, William S. Haney, Stephen Woodburn, Hiroshi Murata and Robert Indiana. Completely devoid of figures, the resulting prints provide an intimate view into the very private spaces that gave way to works of great public interest and historical significance.