A Look Inside UK’s Art Museum

A close-up of the intricate details in this French chess set.

Currently on display at the University of Kentucky’s Art Museum in its Permanent Collection Installations are seven different exhibits positioned throughout the museum’s top floor. Each installation is part of UK’s Permanent Collection of nearly 5,000 pieces of art. Visitors can take a look at the displayed artwork Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. thru 5 p.m, Fridays 10 a.m. thru 8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday noon thru 5 p.m.

Below is a brief look into the seven installations the art museum currently has to offer:


Walking up the stairs into the gallery, visitors are met with depictions of buzzing city life. A carved wood painting portrays the busy street of Times Square in artist Yvonne Jacquette’s piece “Motion Picture” while an untitled sculpture created by Michael Goodlett before the events of 9/11 shows the scene of a plane crashing into a burning cityscape. Other pieces of art in the “Cityscapes” installation include sketches and black and white photos of stark skylines and city views.

Michael Goodlett’s untitled sculpture depicting a plane crashing into a burning city.

New Acquisitions: Photography

To the left of the “Cityscapes” installation is a wall of black-and-white photographs by photographers Judi Linn, Nicholas Nixon, and Gordon Parks. Each photograph depicts intimate and quiet moments of life: two senior citizens in a nursing home sharing a serene moment, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and musician Patti Smith leaning against each other topless and facing the camera, a young black man standing in a man hole along a street. Each photo depicts a still or quiet aspect of human life despite the oftentimes provocative content.

Gordon Parks’ “The Invisible Man, Harlem, New York”


Farther into the gallery, past the “Cityscapes” installment, is a conglomeration of artworks depicting human bodies. There are women lounging in various stages of undress, photographs and oil paintings of bodies in water, and a sculpture of a woman balancing on a ball along with other pieces which depicts each artist’s interpretation of the body. Varying in shapes, sizes, and texture, each body on display gives viewers a unique perspective.

A look into the “Embodied” installation.

Best Friends

This installation features a variety of black and white photos captured by Andrea Modica. Each photo shows a view into the lives of high school best friends in America and Italy. The subjects show very intimate moments of holding hands and crying on shoulders to less intimate moments like the backs of two girls showing a striking height difference. Despite differences in friendship, each image showcases the peculiarities and strengths of teenage friendships.

A wall of Andrea Modica’s “Best Friends” installation.

Still Lifes

Across from Modica’s “Best Friends” is a mix of still life portraits showing the intricacies of simple, everyday objects. Oftentimes apples, irons, tables and brooms are overlooked as plain and lacking of beauty, however these portraits show the beauty in each of these objects we see everyday, changing them from tools to art.

A corner of the “Still Lifes” installation.

Chess Sets

To the left of “Still Lifes” is a collection of intricate chess sets. The popular game which originated in India has spanned across many continents and cultures, which led to it taking many different shapes and sizes. The chess sets presented in the museum are each unique and diverse pieces of art created in many different countries, showing the popularity and also universality of the game.

A close-up of the intricate details in this French chess set.

The Gaines Challenge Fund

In the back corner of the museum is a set of artwork taken from a group of 74 painting and works on paper that were purchased with the generous $250,000 grant from John Gaines, UK’s most generous benefactor. These pieces feature work from famous artists including Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s sculpture “La Négresse”.
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I'm a sophomore at Transylvania, where I study Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications (WRC) and Spanish. I hope to someday pursue a career that allows me to write and be creative for a living. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, singing, and riding horses. In my free time you can usually find me napping, snacking, or bothering my friends.