When Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge director of visual arts Lundyn Herring first arrived at the three-bedroom former home of the late ACGBR president and CEO Derek Gordon and his partner Rodolfo Ramirez, she knew she had something special on her hands. The home was filled to the brim with artwork. From random etchings to surrealist paintings, the collection was diverse and expansive, and worthy of so much more than a dark and dusty corner.
“There were around 600 pieces in the whole collection,” recalls Herring. “They didn’t discriminate when it came to what they collected. It was every type of medium, recognizable artists and random pieces, just things that spoke to them.”
Herring’s help was enlisted by Ramirez’s family in Costa Rica. Interested in creating a collection that could be displayed to the public, Herring worked with the family to curate works that would not only grab the community’s attention, but also raise money for the scholarship fund in Gordon’s name. The resulting exhibition, titled “Highlights of the Derek Gordon & Rodolfo Ramirez Collection: A Retrospective,” contains some 45 to 55 works that will be on display at the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center through the end of May, with a special reception on May 11.
“The family really wanted to preserve their memory and keep the art going in the community,” Herring says, noting that she took a little of each medium, homing in on recognizable names like surrealist Dorothea Tanning, in order to create an engaging exhibition. “We’ve already auctioned a few at previous ACGBR events, but the pieces of this exhibition will be available for people to purchase, with a portion of the proceeds funding Gordon’s scholarship fund.”
In the context of this year’s ACGBR 50th-anniversary celebrations, this exhibition is even more impactful. Hitting on the contributions Gordon made during his tenure, such as the establishment of the River City Jazz Masters series, the selections from his personal collection showcase diversity in art and the beauty that comes with that. His and Ramirez’s legacy lives on by inspiring others to collect what they love, regardless of cohesion. artsbr.org