Points of Resonance: The Museum Project Gift
Points of Resonance: The Museum Project Gift merges recently acquired contemporary photography with similarly themed works from the Muskegon Museum of Art’s permanent collection. The result is an exploration of shared aesthetics and visual and conceptual subject matter.
The Museum Project
The Museum Project was established by artists and curators Robert von Sternberg and Darryl Curran in 2012 as a means of promoting the collection and exhibition of contemporary photography by museums and universities. Each year, the participating artists offer, free of cost, archival prints of their artwork to interested institutions. As of 2017, the artists of The Museum Project have donated over 3,300 photographs to the permanent collections of 125 museums, 10 library special collections, and 6 municipal or hospital foundations in 46 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Australia, Canada, and France.
The Muskegon Museum of Art was contacted in 2016 with an invitation to select artworks. We chose photographs from four of the artists, focusing on images that matched existing themes in our collection. By adding these works to our holdings, we build upon a base of vintage photos by preeminent artists first collected by the MMA in the 1970s. In addition to carrying on the legacy of fine art photography in the United States, The Museum Project images provide inspiration to our own regional photographers.
Robert von Sternberg and Darryl Curran spent their careers creating, teaching, and curating contemporary photography. In their experience, the greatest advocacy for photography was the willingness of museums and university galleries to mount exhibitions and add images to their collections. This support enabled artists to not only build their individual reputations, but to provide a forum in which to explore the possibilities of the medium. The Museum Project allows the participating artists, all accomplished professionals, to give back to the museum community, with a focus on small to mid-size institutions—the ones most willing historically to give voice to photography.
Barry Andersen (American, born 1945) is based in Kentucky, where he is a Professor Emeritus of Northern Kentucky University. He received a BA from California State University, Northridge in 1973 and a MFA from the University of Florida in 1975. He works primarily in landscape, exploring what he describes as the “interface of human activity on the land.” In his later works, Andersen uses digital photography to mimic traditional dark room techniques to subtly manipulate the pictorial impression.
Darryl Curran (American, born 1935), one of the founders of The Museum Project, is a prominent California photographer. He holds a BA and MA from UCLA, and founded the photography degree programs at California State University, Fullerton in 1967. Curran has exhibited extensively in the Los Angeles region, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum, as well as other venues around the United States. His current work involves the arrangement and digital scanning of still life objects.
Kenda North (American, born 1951) is a Professor and head of photography at the University of Texas, Arlington. She has been an active artist since 1977, participating in over 50 solo and 95 group exhibitions across the U.S. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado and a MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. Her water images are shot with a digital underwater camera, and examine the balance between constraint and freedom and the “buoyancy, fluidity and weightlessness” of being suspended in water.
Robert von Sternberg (American, born 1939) holds a BA and MA from California State University, Long Beach. He is Professor Emeritus of California State University, Northridge, where he taught photography. In addition to teaching, von Sternberg has exhibited in over 200 solo and group shows, and curated several photography exhibitions. His own work is held in 95 museums in the U.S. and internationally, and he is a founder of The Museum Project. Von Sternberg’s photographs capture the “incursion” of humans into the natural world, whether through incidental moments or the iconography of the American road-trip.