exhibitions

Native Visions

March 3 through May 22, 2016
Waldo Mootzka, 1910–1940, Hopi
Untitled (Game Animal Dance) 
Gouache on paper, ca. 1935
Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Native Visions: Indian Painting of the Southwest, 1920s-1940s, from the Collection of Charlotte Mittler
Michael and Kay Olthoff & Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery

Of great import and pride to the MMA is the opportunity to develop exhibitions drawn from the rich trove of art found in Michigan collections. Native Visions was organized in cooperation with Charlotte Mittler of Three Rivers, Michigan. The Mittler Collection comprises Pueblo paintings from southwest tribal areas that were created by students of the Santa Fe Indian School and by independent painters who pioneered Santa Fe’s modern Indian art movement in the first decades of the 20th century. The collection is one of the most extensive holdings of Native American easel painting in private hands.

Variously described as modernist and Native American art, Indian easel painting is a unique and indigenous art form of the 20th century. Native Visions comprises 35 works from this distinctive painting tradition—ceremonial and genre themes rendered in gouache and watercolor and pictured in a naturalistic flat-art style. Some of the most revered artists from the Rio Grande, Hopi, and Navajo (Diné) Pueblos are represented in the exhibition, among them Crescencio Martinez, Fred Kabotie, Tonita Peña, and Velino Shije Herrera.

The formative years of these principally self-trained artists were shaped by aggressive reform, in the 1920s, from the assimilation policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs imposed upon Indian children attending government-run boarding schools, to the wide acceptance of progressive principles that were incorporated into Indian education by the 1930s. As a result, young students, unexposed to formal art training, were encouraged to express their Native identity freely. The Studio of the Santa Fe Indian School, begun in 1932, was a major force in bringing American Indian painting to national and worldwide attention. The Studio’s first director, Art Institute of Chicago graduate Dorothy Dunn, codified “traditional modernism,” that preserved, through painting style and iconography, ancient visual traditions and contemporary Pueblo worldviews. Many of the artists in Native Visions attended the Studio School and emerged to critical acclaim.

Thursday, March 3
Opening Reception and Lecture
5:30 pm Reception/7:00 pm Lecture by Bruce Bernstein, Ph.D.  
“Modern by Tradition: American Indian Painting of the Early 20th Century.”
Variously described as modernist and Native American art, Indian easel painting is a unique and indigenous art form of the 20th century. To enrich our experience in viewing and appreciating this distinctive American Southwest painting tradition, Bruce Bernstein will explore its histories, contexts, and artists. Discover this intriguing, beautiful, and relatively unknown art form as exemplified by works from the Charlotte Mittler collection.

Waldo Mootzka, 1910–1940, Hopi Untitled (Game Animal Dance) Gouache on paper, ca. 1935 Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Waldo Mootzka, 1910–1940, Hopi
Untitled (Game Animal Dance)
Gouache on paper, ca. 1935
Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Nor-My-Se-Ye-Appa, born 1917, Zuni Pueblo Zuni Eagle Dancer Gouache on paper, 1935 Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Nor-My-Se-Ye-Appa, born 1917, Zuni Pueblo
Zuni Eagle Dancer
Gouache on paper, 1935
Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Velino Shije Herrera (Ma Pe Wi), 1902–1973, Zia Pueblo Untitled (rabbit hunt) Gouache on paper, ca. 1940 Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Velino Shije Herrera (Ma Pe Wi), 1902–1973, Zia Pueblo
Untitled (rabbit hunt)
Gouache on paper, ca. 1940
Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Alfonso Roybal (Awa Tsireh), 1898–1955, San Ildefonso Pueblo Untitled (mythical bird) Watercolor and ink on paper, ca. 1950 Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Alfonso Roybal (Awa Tsireh), 1898–1955, San Ildefonso Pueblo
Untitled (mythical bird)
Watercolor and ink on paper, ca. 1950
Charlotte Greenleaf Mittler Collection

Presenting Sponsor
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Co-Sponsors
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Postcard Salon Exhibition

February 4 through February 18, 2016
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The MMA’s popular Postcard Salon returns in 2016 with the opportunity to view hundreds of small-scale artworks by artists throughout the region, starting February 4. The short exhibition ends with a free Postcard Salon reception and sale on February 18. The reception starts at 5:30 pm with complimentary refreshments and a cash bar. Starting at 7:00 pm that night, guests can buy the artworks for $30 each.

Artist Rules and Dates

The Postcard Salon is sponsored by G&L Greek Chili Dogs and WGVU Public Media.

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I, Too, Am America: The Art of Bryan Collier

January 18 through April 17, 2016
Bryan Collier
Illustration for I, Too, Am America
2012 © Bryan Collier
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Muskegon Museum of Art will present I, Too, Am America: The Art of Bryan Collier from January 18 through April 17, 2016. Each year, during the span between winter and spring, the MMA presents the work of a renowned book illustrator. This year’s exhibition features 15 original large scale illustrations created by Bryan Collier for the picture book, I, Too, Am America, written by Langston Hughes. The exhibition offers opportunities to celebrate African American History Month in February and March Reading Month and is part of the MMA’s Finding Common Ground African American art program series. Bryan Collier will talk give a lecture about his life and career at the MMA on Thursday, March 10 at 7:00 pm.

Collier graduated from the Pratt Institute and is the former Program Director at the Harlem Horizon Institute. His many books have earned accolades that include the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Caldecott Medal, and the Jane Addams’ Children’s Book Award. He has also been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Literary Work. Today Bryan spends his time working on his book illustrations, creating his own studio pieces, and going into classrooms to talk with teachers, librarians, and students about books and art. “I get so much from those school visits. With the books I’ve been doing, I have this amazing opportunity to bring my art and the process of making artwork and books into the classroom. I ask the students to talk to me and talk to each other about how they feel and what their own experiences are. Basically I ask them to tell their own story. Then I ask them to tell their own story through art.”
“The experience of making art is all about making decisions. Once the kids really get that, you see them making the connection. They go from saying, ‘That’s not about me’ to ‘Hey. Look at me. This is who I am.’”
I, Too, Am America is underwritten by the Folkert Family Foundation and made possible in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Common Ground

December 10 through March 20, 2016
Whitfield Lovell
American, b. 1959
At Home and Abroad, 2008
Conte crayon on wood with target, nails, and fabric
Purchased in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Muskegon Museum of Art through the Art Acquisition Fund, the 100th Anniversary Art Acquisition Fund, the support of the Alcoa Foundation, and the gift of Dr. Anita Herald
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COMMON GROUND: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art
L. C. and Margaret Walker Galleries A and B

The Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art are three of the most prestigious art museums in Michigan. While each institution is distinguished by its own unique holdings, collecting strengths shared in common inspired this collaboration, the exhibition Common Ground.

Common Ground celebrates our museums’ mutual dedication to collect works by African American artists. From an astounding corpus of nearly 400 works, 60 paintings, sculpture, and works on paper were selected. Dating from the 19th century to the present, they chronicle a cultural journey of nearly 200 years. The exhibition is organized into five themes: Gaining Access, New Self-Awareness, Political and Social Expressions, Examining Identities, and Towards Abstraction. These themes provide a broad overview of the history of African American art, from the talent and determination of the earliest artists who overcame daunting social challenges to internationally acclaimed work by leading contemporary artists.

Legendary African American artists, including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, and Jacob Lawrence, are represented in Common Ground. Several Michigan artists are also represented—among them Hughie Lee-Smith, Richard Hunt, Charles McGee, and Senghor Reid.

The Muskegon presentation of Common Ground incorporates additional examples of African American art from our collections, further demonstrating home pride in the MMA’s treasures and our contribution to the cultural legacy of the City of Muskegon and West Michigan as a whole.

Thursday, December 10
Opening Reception & Distinguished Lecture by Dr. David Driskell
5:30pm Public Reception/7:00pm Lecture
Dr. David Driskell, one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of African American art and National Humanities Medal recipient to the Muskegon community will appear as a distinguished guest speaker at the Muskegon Museum of Art on Thursday December 10 at 7:00 pm. Driskell’s lecture will be part of the opening celebration for Common Ground: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art. The MMA invites the public to meet Driskell at a reception from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, before his lecture. Dr. Driskell’s lecture, “African American Art in Review,” will provide greater perspective to the themes presented in the Common Ground exhibition. Driskell will accept questions from the audience after the lecture. The reception and lecture are free and open to the public.

Common Ground is underwritten by DTE Foundation and co-sponsored by Fifth Third and the Waters Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts. Program support is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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