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Stanford Museums to Honor Artist Jordan Casteel and Stanford Supporters Roberta Bowman Denning and Steven Denning

Stanford Museums to Honor Artist Jordan Casteel and Stanford Supporters Roberta Bowman Denning and Steven Denning


Left: Artist Jordan Casteel, inaugural artist honoree. Photograph by David Schulze
Right: Steve and Roberta Denning, honorary chairs. Photograph by Steve Castillo 

Cantor Arts Center

Signature Fundraising Event Benefits Exhibitions and Programming at the Cantor Arts Center and the Anderson Collection 

Stanford, CA—Artist Jordan Casteel, one of the most important emerging artists working today, will be the Inaugural Artist Honoree at Museums by Moonlight, a dynamic gala benefitting innovative exhibitions and educational programming at the Stanford University art museums. Longstanding Stanford volunteers and supporters, Roberta Bowman Denning, '75, MBA '78, and Steven Denning, MBA '78, will serve as honorary chairs of the event in recognition of their leadership in the arts.  

Previously known as Rodin by Moonlight, this year’s signature fundraising event is especially exciting as it marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Leland Stanford Junior Museum, now known as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Arts Center, and the fifth anniversary of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. Museums by Moonlight will take place on September 28, 2019.

Inaugural Artist Honoree
Figurative painter Jordan Casteel, named to the 2019 Forbes “30 Under 30” list of influential people in art and style, investigates and celebrates the energy of her Harlem neighborhood. The New York Times Style Guide mentions Casteel’s “humanizing portraits” and The New Yorker magazine wrote that her paintings “combine the candid immediacy of the digital snapshots on which they’re based with the restraint and humanity of an Alice Neel portrait.”  

Casteel’s first solo museum show, Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze, is coming to the Cantor on September 29th from the Denver Art Museum where it originated. It features nearly 30 larger-than-life-sized paintings, made in the last five years, of community members in everyday settings. Painting in vibrant colors with gestural brushwork, Casteel invites the viewer in as she reveals the true temperaments of her subjects.

“We are celebrating Jordan Casteel because her exemplary paintings offer an insightful and expansive look at the world around us and the people who occupy it,” said Susan Dackerman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director at the Cantor. “We are very excited to be bringing Jordan’s first solo museum show to the Cantor this fall. Her deeply empathetic portrayals of her friends and community members will enable us to have interesting conversations about critical contemporary issues, as well as the nature of painting itself,” Dackerman said. Gala attendees will have early access to view Casteel’s exhibition the day before it opens to the public.

Born in Denver and greatly influenced by relatives who were involved in social advocacy and civil rights, Casteel went on to earn an MFA at the Yale School of Art. While there, in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin killing, she began painting portraits of black men she knew. Her work now includes a broader range of subjects, including women and children. 

“Casteel’s large-scale portraits are intimate portrayals of often overlooked members of society,” said Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, assistant curator of American art at the Cantor. “Casteel’s approach to portraiture makes her one of the most exciting young artists working today.”

Honorary Chairs 
Roberta Bowman Denning is the former chair of the university's Arts Advisory Council, as well as the former chair of the Humanities & Sciences Council. 

Steven Denning is the former chair of the Stanford Board of Trustees and the Stanford GSB Advisory Council. He is currently the chair of the Global Advisory Council to the President, the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Natural Capital Project Advisory Councils, and is a member of the Knight-Hennessy Scholar Program Advisory Board and the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute Advisory Council, all at Stanford University.

The Dennings’ generosity extends to establishing Denning House, hub of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars, which incorporates contemporary art in the daily experience of the scholars. They also have created the Denning Family Resource Center at the Anderson Collection, and support faculty programs, graduate fellowships, capital projects, and other priorities across the university.

“Roberta and Steve have provided tremendous leadership as volunteers and philanthropists supporting numerous important programs and endeavors, including demonstrating a strong commitment to the arts,” said Jason Linetzky, director of the Anderson Collection. “We’re delighted to be able to publicly honor them this year.”

Supporting Our Mission
The funds raised at Museums by Moonlight allow both museums to provide more than 20 exhibitions and installations, 100 educational programs, 1,200 tours at no cost, including more than 400 for local K–12 schools. The museums welcome Stanford students and faculty with hundreds of class visits and opportunities to participate in art across all disciplines. “Contributions made through this event allow both museums to maintain free admission for all visitors,” Dackerman said. “This is a critical part of fulfilling our missions to make art and art education available to all.”

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University
Founded when the university opened in 1891, the museum was expanded and renamed in 1999 for lead donors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor. The Cantor’s collection spans 5,000 years and includes more than 38,000 works of art. With 24 galleries, more than 15 special exhibitions each year, and free admission, the Cantor is one of the most visited university art museums in the country, attracting visitors from the area and around the world.  

The Anderson Collection at Stanford University
This extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary American paintings and sculpture opened in 2014. It was established by a generous gift of 121 works from the private collection of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, from one of the world’s most outstanding private assemblies of art built over the past 50 years. The collection has expanded with gifts of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Highlights include works by Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, and Richard Diebenkorn.

Visitor Information
The Cantor Arts Center and the Anderson Collection are open six days a week, and admission is free. Hours: Wednesday–Monday, 11 AM–5 PM, and Thursday until 8 PM. The museums are closed on Tuesday. The museums are located on the Stanford campus on Lomita Drive, off Palm Drive near Museum Way. Parking is free after 4 PM weekdays and all day on weekends and major holidays. For more information about the Cantor, call 650-723-4177 or visit museum.stanford.eduFor more information about the Anderson Collection, call 650-721-6055or visit anderson.stanford.eduFollow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @cantorarts and @anderson.collection.stanford.