5 questions with Speed Museum Director Ghislain d’Humieres

Published: Feb. 12, 2016 at 11:03 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2016 at 11:03 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One of the things I'm really excited about is the reopening of the Speed Museum on March 12.

The Speed Museum, located at 2035 S. Third St., has been closed since September 2012. Since that time extensive renovating and an expansion has taken place.

I grew up going to art museums on weekends and look forward to taking my boys to our new and improved Speed Museum.

This week my five questions are with the Speed Museum Director Ghislain d'Humieres.
1) How will the new Speed Museum be different from the old museum?

The Speed Art Museum has always been a jewel in Louisville's crown. Guests who return will find old favorites and many new and exciting galleries, including our expanded contemporary gallery and the Kentucky gallery.

The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky's oldest and largest art museum, covering 6,000 years of human creativity. The new Speed features a re-imagined original 1927 neoclassical building, as well as fabulous new North and South buildings, a 142-seat cinema, art park and public piazza.

The new 60,000 sq. ft. North Building will double the overall square footage and nearly triple the gallery space from the existing building. We will now feature a state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, new contemporary art galleries, a family education welcome center, a combined indoor/outdoor cafe, a museum shop, and a multi-functional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertainment. There is something for everyone at the new Speed Art Museum.
2) How do you plan to celebrate the opening?

The Speed Art Museum belongs to the entire community. And, we plan to celebrate with everyone the weekend of March 12. We will throw open our doors at 10 a.m. on March 12 during a grand opening celebration that will include special guests, community leaders and our friends, families and supporters. That will kick off 30 straight hours of free entertainment and the chance to see the new Speed Art Museum like you've never seen before.

We will have music, art, theater, cinema and literally something for everyone around the clock until Sunday at 4 p.m. Events include performances by the rock band Wax Fang to the talented Louisville Leopard Percussionists to yoga at dawn and a special mandala designed by monks specifically for this event. You can find our schedule of 30-hour events at our website, Plan now for a weekend that's bursting with creativity and fun for all ages.

3. What are the three things in the museum you feel people must see?

It's hard to narrow down 6,000 years of creativity and literally thousands of pieces of art at the Speed. Our collection covers such a vast array of art and inspiration that selecting three spots to visit is difficult. However, I'd encourage visitors to see our contemporary gallery in our new North building.

There they will see eye-popping, fabulous 20th and 21st century works of art, many of which have never been seen in Louisville before. An old favorite at the Speed is our English Renaissance room that is reconstructed exactly from an English manor house built in the 1600s. But, what is new is a spectacular 21st century twist on the room courtesy of artist Brian Knep. Using a unique digital program and hidden projectors, we'll capture your image and all visitors' images, which will be transformed into various objects and surreal images.

You might glance in the window or fireplace of the Renaissance room and be amazed at what looks back at you. It is an exciting twist to an old favorite exhibit that I'm very excited about. And, certainly you should visit the Kentucky gallery, where you'll find objects and artworks that tell the rich and colorful history of our Commonwealth's culture and people.
4) The museum has been closed for a long time. Was this personally the largest project you've ever worked on and what was the most challenging?

The Speed is my most important project as a museum director, but the largest was my work in the $350 million renovation and expansion of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, where I was the assistant director. It's not about the size or scope of the renovation, though. For me, it's all done for the sheer love of art and culture and the opportunity to bring centuries of creativity to light, so that the entire community can start conversations and learn about great art. That is what keeps me going through all the dust and construction.

I can't wait for the Louisville community to see all that that new Speed Art Museum has to offer. They will be amazed at the hub of creativity that will surround them.
5) Besides art there will also be a restaurant and theatre in the museum. Tell us about those.

The Wiltshire at the Speed will feature the culinary talents of Louisville's own Susan Hershberg of the venerable Wiltshire Pantry. Guests will enjoy lunch and snacks in the dynamic cafe that overlooks the Art Park. Additionally, the Wiltshire will provide catering services for all our special events at the Speed. We are extremely excited about the 142-seat, state of the art Speed Cinema, which will screen a mix of new American independent and international theatrical releases, both narrative and documentary.

Films will be screened Friday to Sunday, twice daily, with admission of $9 or $7 for members of the Speed. Dean Otto, our film curator, has an extensive and interesting program of film upcoming that will interest the entire community.A list of films and upcoming events can be found on our website.
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