The Muskegon Museum of Art will present Perchance to Dream: The Art of Michael Peoples June 21 through September 16, 2018. Michael Peoples creates cast wax sculptures of pop culture objects and icons. His intensely colored objects celebrate nostalgia and kitsch, translating cartoon character Halloween buckets, honey bear bottles, garden ornaments, and the like into entrancing, candy-like sculptures and installations. Perchance to Dream is a gallery installation featuring hundreds of cast circus peanuts, an iconic childhood sweet. Towering structures of stacked casts of the equally iconic honey bear bottle punctuate a carpet of multi-colored peanuts in the installation. The public is invited to a free reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Thursday, June 21, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.
MMA Senior Curator Art Martin comments, “Michael Peoples is inspired by a love for the oddities of American culture, from roadside attractions and molded plastic collectibles to images of the Last Supper mounted on log plaques. The fantastical landscape of Perchance to Dream, a field of brilliantly colored circus peanuts broken by towering columns of similarly hued honey bear bottles, is in homage to the artist’s grandparents and the time he spent in their home as a child. The installation is a captivating tribute to American kitsch, of mass-production, repetitive and time-consuming labor, and the sugary joys of childhood. Guests are invited to explore this playful blend of mass-production, repetitive and time-consuming labor, and the sugary joys of childhood in an installation that transforms how the gallery is perceived.”
Michael Peoples lives in Grand Haven, Michigan and maintains a shared studio space in a converted warehouse in nearby Grand Rapids. Self-taught, he has avidly pursued and studied art since childhood. His art has appeared at sites throughout the West Michigan region. He is a member of the award winning and critically recognized SiTE:LAB, which describes itself as “a nomadic all-volunteer artist-led initiative focused on creating site-specific projects and events in underutilized and unique spaces.”
The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian
May 24 through September 9, 2018
Edward Sherriff Curtis The North American Indian Portfolio 8, Plate 256 Chief Joseph – Nez Perce 1909, Photogravure
The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian
2018 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Edward Curtis. Curtis is today know best for his masterpiece, The North American Indian, a monumental project comprised of 20 volumes of text and over 723 large portfolio prints that catalogued images and ethnography of the Native American tribes of the Western United States. The MMA featured the entire collection of The North American Indian over the summer of 2017 in an exhibition that was seen by over 30,000 visitors from every U.S. State and 28 other countries. The exhibition was a celebration of Curtis’s achievement and an examination of the dual nature of its legacy, of the preservation of knowledge and culture, and the harmful perpetuations of stereotypes and prejudices that continue to affect the social and political landscape in our country.
The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian presents 150 photographs that represent the breadth of subjects touched on in the project. The exhibition also examines criticism of Curtis’s works, and uses the objects themselves to present the dilemmas inherent in understanding the project’s legacy. The show will also premiere newly acquired copper plates used to create the photogravures, and several of the volumes of The North American Indian.
Opening Reception The 150th Anniversary of Edward Curtis: 150 Masterpieces from The North American Indian Thursday, May 24, 5:30 – 8:00 pm Marking the 150th Anniversary of the birth of renowned photographer Edward Curtis, the Muskegon Museum of Art will exhibit 150 photogravures from The North American Indian, Curtis’s monumental project comprised of 20 volumes of text and over 700 large portfolio prints that sought to catalogue the Native American tribes of the Western United States. The public is invited to a free reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Thursday, May 24 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.
The Burden of Representation: Lecture by Ben Mitchell Thursday, June 21 5:30 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian is indisputably an invaluable record of many aspects of early 20th century Native American culture. But important questions about his work and methods persist. Employing the voices and observations of both Native and non-Native artists and scholars, this program offers an overview of the significant and enduring critiques of The North American Indian, both as art and as ethnography. Event is admission is free and open to the public.
Screening of Rumble: Indians that Rocked the World Thursday, July 19, 7:00 pm (103 minutes running time) Rumble tells the story of the missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. The film features music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, and many more. Film admission is free and open to the public. Visit event page to view trailer.
American Icon & Whiskey Ridge
May 17 through August 12, 2018
The Muskegon Museum of Art devotes a gallery to the American love of vintage motorcycles with American Icon: The Art of the Motorcycle and a complementary exhibition, Whiskey Ridge: The Summer of ’51, from May 17 through August 12, 2018. The exhibitions will include motorcycles from area collectors and photos of Whiskey Ridge stock car races taken by Dot Thompson in the summer of 1951. The public is invited to a free reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Thursday, May 17 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.
Collection of Mark Fazakerley Photo courtesy of Mark Fazakerley
Collection of Hot Rod Harley Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Harley
American Icon offers a glimpse at the artistry of the motorcycle over the years, through vintage and custom bikes drawn from Muskegon area collections. The display includes motorcycles from Harley-Davidson alongside early, ultra-rare examples from American manufacturers Henderson and Excelsior. American Icon also features portraits and images that highlight the artistry of customized motorcycles and the men and women who ride them by Michigan photographers Bill Chardon and Jennifer Green.
Dorothy “Dot” Thompson Crashed Jalopies at Whiskey Ridge 1951 Photo courtesy of Dot Thompson
Whiskey Ridge features twelve photographs that Dorothy “Dot” Thompson took with her Kodak Brownie box camera in the summer of 1951 at the Whiskey Ridge Raceway, also known as the Newaygo County Speedway and the Maple Island Raceway, a 3/8 mile dirt oval track located in Grant, Michigan. The photos capture a sense of the speed and dangerous thrills of early stock car races. Images include the dramatic events of the day and the faces of the drivers and spectators, providing a contemporary look at local racing history.
Up Close and Personal: The Ultra-Realistic Sculpture of Marc Sijan
May 17 through August 12, 2018
The Muskegon Museum of Art will present Up Close and Personal: The Ultra-Realistic Sculpture of Marc Sijan May 17 through August 12, 2018. Milwaukee based sculptor Marc Sijan is internationally recognized for his hyper-realistic, life-sized sculptures of the human figure. Pores, veins, hair follicles, moles, and all the intricate and imperfect details of the human form are revealed in his works. The exhibition will feature multiple full-size figures, accompanied by head and shoulder busts.
MMA Senior Curator Art Martin comments, “Often depicting everyday subject matter, from overweight beach goers to resting security guards, Sijan infuses his materials with pathos and empathy. Caught in quiet narratives, the sculptures invite surprise, followed by lengthy interaction and examination from the viewer.”
In describing his inspiration, Sijan points to the millennia long history of artists expressing the human form in every media imaginable, of an enduring fascination with the “mirroring of life.” Sijan begins his sculptures by developing a story or concept, then looks for a model that best embodies the narrative he wants to convey. He prefers to work with those he describes as “everyday” people whose features he considers unique.
A cast is made directly from the model, and a plaster replica created. The plaster is altered and corrected as needed, with the most focus placed on the face, as Sijan considers the face to be a visual record of a person’s life experiences. A polyester resin is cast from the plaster to create the final sculpture, which the artist then details with up to fifteen layers of oil paint, effectively simulating the translucency of skin. Hair, props, clothing, and prosthetic eyes are used to fill in the final details.
The resulting sculpture is meant to be a record of form and spirit. It is the artists’ intent to create a persona of an individual witnessed at a single moment of living, with whom the viewer might interact. The narrative is left deliberately hidden, a mystery to be solved from the clues offered by pose, expression, prop, and detail.
Sijan received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education in 1968 and a Master of Science in Art in 1971, both from the University of Wisconsin. His works have appeared at major art institutions, including the Smithsonian Museum of Modern Art in Washington, D.C, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. He has been featured in over 60 one-person shows in the U.S. and internationally, many of which broke previous attendance records.
The Poetry of Metal: David Barnhill and David Huang
March 1 through June 10, 2018
David Barnhill and David Huang are craftsmen and artists, merging a love of material with intricate surface design, tooling, and metallurgy. Their collaborative series, Layered Resplendence, blends the unique patterns of Barnhill’s mokumé gane with Huang’s sculptural vessels, adding further complexity and surface variation to their respective artistry. Taken as a whole, their complementary and shared bodies of work speak to the timelessness of metal working, and the enduring fascination both the material and its crafting engender. Whether beaten from a copper or mokumé gane disc, the sculptures within this exhibition are a merging of craft and aesthetic, a blend of the beauty of material and design. Timeless, meditative, and precious, these metalworking masterworks fascinate and delight.
Metalworking Demo with David Barnhill Thursday, March 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Meets at the MMA loading dock Artist David Barnhill will demonstrate his techniques throughout the day.
Thursday, March 1, 5:30 pm Reception/7:00 pm Program The MMA invites the public an opening reception for its new exhibition Poetry in Metal, which features sculpture by David Barnhill and David Huang. The reception starts at 5:30 pm and is followed by a presentation by artist David Huang. Event is free and light refreshments will be provided. Cash bar.
Crash Course Demo with David Huang Thursday, April 26, 6:00 pm Join artist David Huang as he demonstrates his metal working techniques and shares a vessel in various stages of completion. Free admission. Cash bar.
Metal Super Saturday with David Huang Free Family Fun Day Saturday, May 12, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Film, tours, and special artist demo, 10:00 am to noon, with artist David Huang.
Super Saturdays are underwritten by Arconic Foundation/Whitehall Operations.