New art exhibit celebrates Chrysler museum's 50-year anniversary in Norfolk

Chrysler Museum of Art exterior November 2021
Posted at 7:56 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 08:03:23-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A new art exhibit debuting this week honors the gift that turned Norfolk into a major player in the art world.

Building a Legacy: Chrysler Collects for the Future opens Friday inside the Chrysler Museum of Art.

The exhibition comes as the museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of automotive heir Walter P. Chrysler Jr. moving his massive art collection from Massachusetts to his wife's hometown of Norfolk.

Walter P. Chrysler Jr
Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. donated a large portion of his private art collection to the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences in 1971. Because of the transformative gift, the museum was renamed in his honor. Archives, Jean Outland Chrysler Library, Chrysler Museum of Art

As a result, what was originally called the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences was renamed.

"Even now we're making sure that we peg ourselves to the level that Chrysler set us at," said Lloyd DeWitt, Chief Curator for the Chrysler Museum of Art.

The new exhibition, DeWitt tells News 3, aims to build on the Chrysler's legacy, showcasing "recent and promised" gifts from art collectors, many of whom, he says, are local.

Nick Leonoff (American, b. 1978) Portal #100, 2018 Blown, cut, and wheel-carved glass Gift of Gwen and Jerome A. Paulson 2021.12.3 Building A Legacy

"We're so overwhelmed by the generosity but also more by the thoughtfulness because the kinds of gifts that we're getting really fit the future mission of the museum to talk about social issues, to talk about things that we're all concerned about," said DeWitt.

Building a Legacy: Chrysler Collects for the Future is set to run until March 6, 2022. Admission is free.

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