The Fischer Shull Collection is one of the most dynamic private collections of contemporary visual art in North America. From its position in Asheville, NC and Merida, Mexico, the Collection is committed to a broad perspective on the creative energies of our time as expressed by traditionally under-represented artists. Its intention is to form an evolving and focused picture of art in the 21st century.
In 2022, Hedy and Randy promised a significant portion of their diverse collection to the North Carolina Museum of Art. The celebrated exhibition Start Talking features selected pieces from their collection including works by Mickalene Thomas, Rashid Johnson, Sanford Biggers, Yolanda Andrade, Hank Willis Thomas, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Nari Ward and many others. Recently featured in the New York Times, the exhibition was organized by NCMA’s Linda Dougherty, Chief Curator of Contemporary Art and Maya Brooks, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.
Start Talking is on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh NC through February 5, 2023.
For more information visit the Museum’s website at Fischer/ Shull Collection at NCMA.
“Part of our commitment to the arts is a feeling of responsibility to participate in the global discourse that seeks to rewrite many overlooked histories and to provide an avenue for the conversation and understanding that otherwise would be swept into the mainstream.”
Hedy Fischer & Randy Shull
How would you describe your collection?
“Our art collection is a reflection of our values. We are not interested in style, but rather the authenticity of the artist’s voice and the possibilities that the work addresses. We support artists and their ideas and want to elevate the conversation of how their work can create a more inclusive, diverse, robust and authentic world. We are particularly interested in work that addresses issues of identity, politics, and popular culture as it pertains to American race and gender relations.
We began acquiring work together in our travels to New York and London 25 years ago and were introduced to Alison and Betye Saar whose work helped shape our trajectory of interest in artists of color.”
Randy, you are a collector and an artist. How did it all begin?
“I received my BFA in furniture design at Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1980’s and went on to have a career in the art furniture movement. My work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum, the Museum of Design, New York; the High Museum, Atlanta; the Brooklyn Museum among others. I am now focused on creating large scale paintings made from the most basic form of furniture– the hammock. North Carolina has also played a role in my art creating and collecting. A former resident artist at Penland School,I was selected to redesign Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in downtown Asheville, NC. The year-long project gave me the opportunity to use my skills and vision to highlight the spirit of Black Mountain College–the experimental art school in Black Mountain, NC from 1933-1957 that saw major creative talents teach or study there such as Josef and Annie Albers, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller and Willem de Kooning, to name only a few.”
Hedy, how has your background influenced the collection?
“Our collecting strategy stems directly from my lifelong involvement in social justice work. I earned a masters degree in public health from the University of Hawaii and have been involved in social justice work my whole life. My involvement in women’s and racial justice issues through my work in public health and involvement in organizations such as the YWCA and Rape Crisis Center have impacted my life and our collection. I now serve on the Board of Trustees of Art21 in New York City as well as the Black Mountain College Museum, Asheville, NC. Art21 is a celebrated global leader in presenting thought-provoking and sophisticated films about contemporary art by hearing first-hand from the artists of our time.”
How does dual citizenship (Mexico and USA) influence your collection?
“We live in Merida, Mexico for part of the year. Randy maintains a studio there. The arts in Mexico are very much centered around the relationship to architecture, and its rich cultural past that goes back to pre-Hispanic time. We value our time in this magical, surrealistic land and are part of a very vibrant, borderless creative community there. Living in another country has given us valuable perspective on what it means to be American in an ever-changing world.”