When it comes to collecting art, Beth Rudin DeWoody boldly colors outside the lines. One might compare her collecting style to American painter Cy Twombly’s style of painting—both happen freely and with great spirit. In fact, Twombly’s graffiti-like scribbles inspired the name of DeWoody’s exhibition at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. The Triumph of Love: Beth Rudin DeWoody Collects features works DeWoody acquired during the 40 years she has spent collecting more than 6,000 objects and building a reputation as one of the world’s savviest collectors of contemporary art. “I don’t limit my collecting to only living artists. I started off collecting prints from the ’20s, ’30s and up, abstract painters, op art,” DeWoody says. As she developed personal relationships with artists and followed her instincts, DeWoody resisted categorization. “I don’t think about collecting certain groups, though I have a lot of women and African-American artists.” Nor does she await the approval of critics or markets that can render choices predictable and unapproachable. “I collect totally unknown artists, some older that never made it in the New York scene.”
DeWoody’s passion for discovering and supporting young artists, coupled with a lifelong love of photography, led to the 2012 launch of the Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers, awarded biannually by the photography committee she serves on at the Norton. The honor pays tribute to her late father, Lewis Rudin, the New York City real estate magnate whose legacy of civic and philanthropic engagement she continues as the president of the Rudin Family Foundation and as a trustee of numerous cultur- al and educational institutions and social welfare organizations. Meanwhile, she moonlights as a guest curator at galleries, tracking patterns she spots at art fairs, studio visits and exhibitions around the world.
Ceding the power of selection to Cheryl Brutvan, the Norton’s curator of contemporary art, DeWoody embraced the surprises that spring from a fresh perspective and juxtaposition of newer purchases and buried treasures that can’t be contained in her Palm Beach, Manhattan and Los Angeles residences. “Some of the collection is in warehouses, so I’m really excited to see it come out and let people appreciate it.” The exhibit runs through May 3.
The art of storytelling holds court this year at Girls’ Club, a unique nonprofit space in Fort Lauderdale devoted to contem- porary works by women from the collection of artist Francie Bishop Good and husband David Horvitz. Nearly 40 artists featured in The Moment. The Backdrop. The Persona., through Sept. 26, evoke narratives with drawing, paint- ing, video and new media. Girls’ Club selects several South Florida-based artists from each exhibition to give public talks and produce lim- ited editions sold for under $100 apiece on-site and online. The sixth annual series of Artists in Action! will be presented by David Rohn March 28, Natalya Laskis April 25, Christina Pettersson May 15, and Leah Brown June 27.
The enduring innovations of female designers and artists with materials such as metals, textiles and ceramics garner overdue recognition in an international exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City from April 28 to Sept. 27. Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today traces current art forms back to the 1950s emergence of the American modern craft movement, which gave rise to the museum itself. The exhibit extends to a panel discussion May 7 titled “Do We Need Exhibitions Just for Women? Examining the Specialization of Exhibitions by Gender.”