The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art
The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College is a collection with a point of view and a lesson not only in the art of our times, but also in social history, civic mindedness, international affairs, and philanthropy, among others. A work in progress, the collection is the brainchild of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond, noted art collectors and patrons of several art institutions.
The collection was conceived as a visual syllabus for the liberal arts education the Alfonds received at Rollins and whose values shaped the rest of their lives. The curatorial narrative revolves around notions of language, literacy and communication; critical thinking; multicultural and political fluency. Barbara and Ted Alfond, along with independent curator Abigail Ross Goodman, have selected and purchased to date over 240 works in different media by contemporary international artists.
Considering the curatorial framework, it comes as no surprise that conceptual art forms the keystone of the collection, including works by Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner. Other works speak to exploring political and cultural tensions (Shimon Attie, Jenny Holzer, An-My Lê, Trevor Paglen, Carrie Mae Weems); defining and understanding identity (Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Alfredo Jaar , Deborah Kass, Coby Moules); and language as expressed in visual form (Thomas Scheibitz, Charline Von Heyl). Together, they speak to the benefits of a wide-ranging education which helps us become literate, knowledgeable members of an international society and a complex world, and the essential role of art in that education.
A significant part of the Alfond Collection is on view at the Alfond Inn, a philanthropic boutique hotel located just a couple of blocks from campus and whose proceeds fund student scholarships. The works are part of the permanent collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum; their presence at the Inn gives the museum the opportunity to expand its footprint and its teaching mission for the entire community.