The Telfair’s Kirk Varnedoe Collection, including pieces by some of the most pivotal artists of the past fifty years, will be on view this winter at the Jepson Center for the Arts. Assembled in honor of the late Savannah native, scholar, and MoMA curator Kirk Varnedoe (1946-2003), this remarkable group of works on paper contains some of the finest examples of contemporary art in the museum’s permanent collection.
The Varnedoe Collection celebrates the life and legacy of Kirk Varnedoe through the presentation of paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs created by the contemporary artists he most admired. A native of Savannah, Varnedoe was a distinguished scholar and chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York between 1988 and 2001. The works in this collection, which are permanent gifts to the Telfair, were donated by twenty-two artists (or their representatives) in Varnedoe’s memory.
The wide-ranging taste of Kirk Varnedoe is reflected in the assembled pieces, largely produced within the past decade by artists diverse in age, background, and methodology. The Varnedoe Collection includes exemplary works by artists such as Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Richard Serra, Richard Avedon, and many others.