Passion and Patronage: Select Gifts from the Gerald Mead Collection

Milton Rogovin (American, 1909-2011), Atlas Steelworker from Working People series, 1976, gelatin silver print, triptych, Promised Gift of Gerald C. Mead, Jr. in memory of Nina Freudenheim

Passion and Patronage: Select Gifts from the Gerald Mead Collection

Apr 12, 2020 - Jun 28, 2020


Passion and Patronage: Select Gifts from the Gerald Mead Collection consisted of a selection of artworks from a major gift of 58 works, in all media, by 46 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists from the collection of noted Buffalo, New York art collector and patron Gerald Mead. The works in this gift were selected from Mead’s collection of over 1,400 artworks for their suitability for the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University’s collection and their ability to enrich the educational mission of the museum.

The role of private collectors, exemplified by Mead, in supporting the arts is paramount to the strength and integrity of our artistic heritage and integrity of the creative process.  This exhibition emphasizes, in a very tangible manner, the process by which “private” artworks eventually become “public,” a vital component in the building of museum collections.

Mead, described by the Buffalo News as “a guiding and indispensable figure on the Western New York arts scene,” was influenced by prominent collectors and art museum patrons including Armand and Eleanor Castellani, Seymour Knox and Charles Rand Penney. With regular visits to museums and galleries in the region, Mead fortified his understanding of art as well as his familiarity with many of the artists whose work builds our own regional art history. Collecting for well over thirty years, Mead has refined his well-practiced connoisseurship of visual culture—actively lending and donating to public institutions, and hoping to inspire others by his example. The student has become the teacher and the circle of cultural sustainability continues.

This generous gift of works by 46 nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, will expand the CAM’s collection in two significant ways: adding works by artists who are not currently represented by the museum, such as Laylah Ali, Cory Arcangel, Harvey Breverman, Philip Burke, Wendell Castle, Edwin Dickinson,  Hollis Frampton, Jenny Holzer, Ken Price and Eugene Speicher; as well as works by artists in the CAM’s collection, such as Charles Burchfield, Allan D’Arcangelo, Nancy Dwyer, Les Krims, Robert Longo, Elizabeth Murray, Ad Reinhardt, Milton Rogovin, Susan Rothenberg, Christy Rupp, Paul Sharits, Cindy Sherman, Mike & Doug Starn and Michael Zwack that broaden the range and depth of their careers through earlier or later works or work in a different media. An exhibition featuring all the artworks in the gift will be presented in 2022 accompanied by a full catalog. Above and beyond the generosity of this superb gift, Mead has also endowed Niagara University with the Gerald C. Mead, Jr. Scholarship in Art History with Museum Studies.

Mead’s enduring passion for the arts and his longtime and continued patronage of the Castellani Art Museum and Niagara University are most greatly appreciated. We hope that this exhibition, his recent appointment to serve on Niagara University’s Board of Advisors and his inaugural membership in the newly launched Castellani Art Museum Legacy Society can begin to reflect our appreciation for his continued service to the Castellani Art Museum and Niagara University.

Click here to access a digital copy of the exhibit catalog.