Min Jung Kim, director of the Saint Louis art museum, is comfortable with art

Min Jung Kim passed his career working with art, but has almost no art in his own home. “I actually collect very little,” she says. “The best part of my job is being able to browse the galleries and admire incredible works of art almost as if they are an extension of my own home.”

the Saint-Louis Art MuseumKim’s 34,000-piece collection is close at hand now that she has taken the helm as museum director. One of her priorities, she says, is to continue to make these masterpieces accessible to as many people as possible. Before even accepting the role, she was familiar with some of the collection’s highlights, such as its contemporary German galleries – paintings by Max Beckmann, in particular – but says it has been a joy to discover new treasures. during his first months of work.

“Our collection in the Oceanic and African regions and the collection from the Ancient Americas are truly breathtakingly beautiful,” she says. “I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of a lot of other strengths. “

Even though Kim doesn’t collect art, she knows a lot of people who do, and she is in awe of the private collections she has seen in homes in St. Louis so far: “In many ways, it made me think that the makeup of the permanent collection at the Saint Louis Art Museum has not only benefited tremendously, but has truly been defined by so many gifts that have been made by private collectors over the years.

In October, the museum announced a pledge of a donation of 22 works of art from Emily Rauh Pulitzer’s private collection. This donation, which includes works by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, among others, is one of the most significant in the history of the museum, but it is certainly not the first. Over the years, generous donations have had a real impact on the breadth and depth of the works made available to visitors to the museum.

While not everyone has such an illustrious art collection, Kim does share resources to help interested art enthusiasts build a collection or take it to the next level. She recommends the Collectors Circle, which is part of SLAM’s membership program, which includes four distinct groups, each focused on a different specialty: African American art, American art and design, photography, contemporary art. Groups plan special events such as private lectures, tours of St. Louis private collections, and in-depth tours of exhibitions.

“So much exposure [to art] as possible is always one of the things that would benefit a collector at any stage, “Kim says,” and we have a series of really dynamic programs that engage that level of membership to dive a little deeper.


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Reggie S. Williams