The Walker Art Center announced today that a $5 million gift to its Capital Campaign has been designated, anonymously, to name a gallery in honor of Walker Director Emeritus Martin Friedman and his wife, former Walker Design Curator Mildred Friedman. The Friedman Gallery, one of four major new galleries being added as part of a building expansion currently underway, will showcase exhibitions featuring works from the collection. The inaugural Friedman Gallery exhibition, _Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walke_r, will present four artist-designed installations featuring the work of mid-career artists Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Sherrie Levine, and Kara Walker with whom the Walker has developed long-term relationships. The Walker will open its expanded 17-acre urban campus in April 2005. Martin Friedman was the Walker’s Director from 1961–1990. Mildred Friedman’s tenure at the Walker spanned the years from 1970–1990. They reside in New York City.
“A gift of this importance is testament to the charismatic, artistic, and intellectual leadership Martin and Mickey exerted over this institution for nearly 30 years,” said Walker Director Kathy Halbreich. “It suggests the professional respect their devotion garnered as well as the personal affection this community felt for them; I can think of no other museum which has so appropriately acknowledged how the relationships among director, Board, and community are critical to the growth of the organization. Given the Friedmans’ early commitment to many influential artists, it’s fitting that the first exhibition in the gallery bearing their name reflects the Walker’s ongoing commitment to four of today’s most persuasive visionaries.”