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Exhibitions

The Art of the Brick

February 19 through May 3, 2015

 







TOP TO BOTTOM:
Yellow by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of brickartist.com.
Note: Nawara's Yellow appeared as part of 2011 ArtPrize at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Flip Flops by artists Nathan Sawaya and Dean West. Photo courtesy of InPiecesCollection.com

Red Dress by artists Nathan Sawaya and Dean West. Photo courtesy of InPiecesCollection.com

Untitled by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of brickartist.com

Strength of Spirit by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of brickartist.com

Trapped by artist Nathan Sawaya. Photo courtesy of brickartist.com

The Art of the Brick® showcases large scale sculptures created out of iconic LEGO® bricks by New York based artist Nathan Sawaya. The exhibition has proved to be very popular with audiences as it has toured the globe. CNN hailed The Art of the Brick as “one of the top 12 must see exhibitions in the world”.

The centerpiece of Sawaya’s collection of sculptures, as well as arguably his most famous piece of artwork, is entitled Yellow, a LEGO torso of a man ripping open his chest while yellow plastic bricks cascade out of the open chest cavity (pictured on front cover).

Sawaya has made a name for himself by creating out of LEGO exacting replicas of the human form in various states of emotion, including anger, love, depression and joy.

Concurrently on display at MMA for the run of the exhibition will be Sawaya's unique multimedia collaboration with award-winning Australian photographer Dean West, entitled In Pieces. The two artists spent years traveling and working together to blend their crafts resulting in the IN PIECES collection of visually stunning hyper realistic images that are exhibited with corresponding and complimentary three dimensional LEGO sculptures.

 

The appearance of the exhibition in Muskegon is underwritten by Meijer. The accompanying activity gallery is sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.

   

 



RELATED PROGRAMS

Interactive Building Area
Use The Art of the Brick as inspiration to engineer and build your own masterpiece using LEGO bricks. This educational area will have hands-on opportunities for all ages.
Sponsored by Hooker DeJong Architects & Engineers.

Thursday, February 19, 5:30 pm
Opening Reception
Get a first look at this popular, nationally touring exhibition of artwork created with LEGOS ® bricks. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturdays: February 21, March 21, April 18
10:00 am–noon
Peer Exploration Workshop
Exploring LEGO Boundaries
Ages 10-13
FREE—Registration is required; spaces are limited.
Call 231.720.2571 to register.
This peer workshop will be led by the Mona Shores middle school 4-H Tech Wizards under the direction of Barbara Brow. This dynamic group of students has been working together, exploring the boundaries of LEGO construction and want to share their knowledge. The workshop is designed for kids who like to work organically and learn without boundaries. The Tech Wizards will break into groups to lead and explore with fellow students. To register: Call 231.720.2571.

Thursday, February 26, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film
The LEGO® Movie
(101 mins.) After being mistaken for the LEGO® Master Builder, ordinary mini-guy Emmet is swept up in an urgent quest to thwart the evil plans of Lord Business. Emmet's adventures include daunting challenges and hilarious missteps in this computer-animated epic film. Film admission is free and so are the coffee and cookies. Guests are welcome to bring lunch. Exhibition viewing may require paid admission. Underwritten by MMA Education Partner, Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.

Thursdays
March 5, 19, 26 & April 9, 16
5:00–8:00 pm
FREE Admission Family Fun Nights
See The Art of the Brick and create your own sculpture in the interactive LEGO building area.
Family Fun Nights are underwritten by MMA Education Partner Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.

Saturday, March 14, 10:00 am–3:00 pm
Super Brick Art Saturday
FREE Family Fun Day with LEGO® Bricks
Toys turn into art! Check out the spectacularly engineered and innovative work of Nathan Sawaya in The Art of the Brick. After you get inspired, head downstairs to make your own sculptures and watch a film. It is sure to be a building and learning type of Saturday at the MMA
10:00 am & 1:00 pm
Film: The LEGO Movie®
(101 mins.) Check out your favorite LEGO characters on the big screen in this exciting family friendly film.
11:00 am–1:00 pm
Guided Exhibition Tours
Join an MMA docent to explore The Art of the Brick.
11:00 am–2:00 pm
Make & Take   
Push your creative bounds by building bricks up, down and across. Make a block sculpture to take home.

Monday–Thursday, March 30–April 2
5:30–7:00 pm
Class: Robotics with LEGO Bricks
Instructor: Kathleen Steudle-Schwander
Ages 10-13 | limited spaces
Cost: $60 non-member | $50 member
Students will learn the joys of building and programming robots with LEGO bricks while working with and against each other to complete various missions. There is no greater adventure then that of the imagination and the sky is the limit with this class. Students will be challenged to solve problems in new ways and to come to the understanding that there are multiple ways to complete the same task. Participants will learn to use special computer software specifically made for crafting LEGO brick robotics. To register: Call 231.720.2571 by March 23.
Computers provided courtesy of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

 
 
 

Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young

February 5 through April 26, 2015

 

 


Cover illustration for Belinda the Ballerina by Amy Young

 

Muskegon Museum of Art Alcoa Foundation & Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery

 

Belinda the Ballerina and Friends, an exhibition of original book illustrations by artist Amy Young will open at the Muskegon Museum of Art on Thursday, February 5. The MMA invites the public to meet the artist at a reception that evening from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Young will give a talk about her life and work in the MMA’s auditorium at 7:00 pm. Light refreshments and juice will be served. The event and refreshments are free.

Big-footed ballerinas, dogs on boats, and mud fairies are just a few of the characters that Amy Young has brought to life through her stories and bright, colorful book illustrations. This exhibition features original artwork she created for the popular children’s book Belinda the Ballerina and other books that Young has written and illustrated. The exhibition will be on display through April 26, 2015.

Young was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and says from a young age she remembers wanting to be an artist. She earned her BA at Yale University, her MFA in painting from Indiana University, and a Harvard law degree. After practicing law for seven years, she found herself drawn back to making art. Her first picture book, Belinda the Ballerina, which she wrote and illustrated, was published by Viking in 2003. She continues to write and illustrate children’s books from her home in Spring Lake, Michigan.

This exhibition was organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art and underwritten by The Folkert Family Foundation. Additional support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts.

RELATED PROGRAMS

Thursday, February 5 Opening Event

5:30 pm Opening Reception
7:00 pm Talk by artist Amy Young

Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Ballerina Super Saturday
Free Family Fun Day

Spin, swirl, and plié your way to this ballet-themed Super Saturday. Admission and all activities are free, thanks to sponsorship from the Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.
10:00 am & 1:00 pm Film: A Fantasy Garden Ballet Class
(40 mins.) Kids can dance along while watching this film by Rosemary Boross that introduces preschoolers to the joys of ballet. The film includes a warm-up, stretching and strengthening exercises, creative movement, and simple ballet steps. Each easy-to-follow segment incorporates music and images of flowers and animals to help children remember what they've learned.
11:00 am – 1:00 pm Guided Tours
Tour Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young with an MMA docent.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm Make & Take
Using clothespins, make your own miniature ballerina—complete with a tulle tutu.

Thursdays, 1:00–3:00 pm
Open Public Tours

Meet on the upper level every Thursday for exhibition tours led by MMA docents. February tours feature Belinda the Ballerina and Friends: The Illustrations of Amy Young.

Cover illustration for Belinda the Ballerina by Amy Young

 
 
 

Branching Out: Michigan Woodworkers

December 11, 2014 through February 8, 2015




Top: Rebecca DeGroot
Pry
Lacewood and cherry

Bottom:
Mike McClung
Off the Grid (one of a Pair)
Walnut, ebonized walnut, leopardwood, and wenge


L. C. and Margaret Walker Gallery II

Branching Out features the art of Michigan artists who work in wood. Sculpture, fine furniture, and craft objects will be on display, highlighting the range of techniques and forms these artists are incorporating to create their pieces.


Wood is a versatile medium, readily shaped and assembled into myriad forms. It can be left raw and natural, stained and varnished, or painted, allowing for a range of expressive possibilities. Wood can appear soft or hard, heavy or weightless, dense or translucent. It is this versatility and beauty of the wood medium has attracted artists for centuries.


The artists in Branching Out were selected based on their history of producing creative and expressive works of art in wood. All live and work in Michigan, providing guests an opportunity to explore the diversity of our State’s fine art community.


The participating
artists are:
Jake Blok,
James Day,
Rebecca DeGroot,
Don Doezema,
Mike McClung,
Josh McVety
Jeff Salter,
Joel VanDam,
Jim VanderWoude,
Jim Wellise, and
Jerry Ward

 

Branching Out is part of the MMA’s ongoing Made in Michigan Artist Series, a commitment to supporting and exhibiting the work of Michigan artists.


Branching Out is underwritten by the Van Kampen Boyer Molinari Foundation. Media Sponsor is Blue Lake Public Radio.

RELATED PROGRAM

Thursdays in January, 1:00–3:00 pm
Open Public Tours

Meet on the upper level every Thursday for free exhibition tours led by MMA docents. January tours feature The Essential Elijah Pierce and Branching Out: Michigan Woodworkers.




 
 
 

The Essential Elijah Pierce

December 11, 2014 through February 8, 2015

 



Top to bottom:

 

Elijah Pierce (American, 1892–1984)
Elijah Escapes the Mob, not dated
Carved and painted wood
Columbus Museum of Art, Museum Purchase

Elijah Pierce (American, 1892–1984)
Before Death All Are Equal, 1946–1947
Carved and painted wood relief
Columbus Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Boris Gruenwald

Elijah Pierce (American, 1892–1984)
Picking Wild Berries, 1979
Painted wood relief
Columbus Museum of Art, Museum Purchase

L. C. and Margaret Walker Gallery I

The MMA presents The Essential Elijah Pierce, an exhibition of more than 40 woodcarvings by African American carver, barber, and lay preacher Elijah Pierce (1892-1984). The narrative carvings are drawn from the collections of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, whose holdings of the self-taught artist’s prolific output are the most comprehensive in the country.


Pierce, who was born on a cotton plantation in Baldwyn, Mississippi, spent most of his adult life in Columbus. His carvings are hailed as important additions to the history of American folk art and to the larger story of American art as a whole. A master storyteller, Pierce often worked this phrase into his pieces: “Your life is a book and every day is a page.” His “sermons in wood”—religious themes, moral lessons, and secular subjects—all share this philosophy: we are given a clean page every day upon which to “write” our lives.

 

The Essential Elijah Pierce marks the first time in 20 years that the Columbus Museum of Art has organized an in-depth study of Pierce’s work. It builds upon Columbus’s seminal 1993 exhibition, Elijah Pierce, Woodcarver, which was organized in part by Jane Connell, at that time a member of Columbus’s curatorial staff, and today the MMA’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions/Senior Curator.


The Essential Elijah Pierce was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. The exhibition is sponsored by the Nancy Waters and Mark Waters Fund at the Community Foundation and Blue Lake Public Radio.



RELATED PROGRAMS

Thursday, December 11
Opening Reception & Lecture

5:30 pm Reception
7:00 pm Lecture by MMA Senior Curator Jane Connell
Your Life is a Book: The Woodcarvings of Elijah Pierce
MMA Senior Curator Jane Connell first saw Elijah Pierce’s barbershop, a mere two blocks away from the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, in 1981, when she became a member of their staff. At the time of Pierce’s death in 1984, the museum acquired more than 100 narrative carvings that became the core of the most comprehensive collection of Pierces in the country. In 1993, the CMA’s seminal exhibition Elijah Pierce, Woodcarver, was organized, in part, by Jane Connell. Join her for an in-depth look at Pierce’s “sermons in wood”—the religious themes, moral lessons, and secular subjects that, in the history of American folk art, made Pierce an icon among African American self-taught artists.

Thursday, December 11, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film

Elijah Pierce: Wood Carver
(18 mins.) This documentary showcases Elijah Pierce and his work.

Saturday, December 13, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Reindeer Super Saturday
Free Family Fun Day

Tour the Elijah Pierce exhibition and make a wood reindeer ornament. You can also see a free family film in our auditorium and meet a REAL reindeer next door at Hackley Public Library.

Thursday, January 8, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film

Sermon in the Wood
(27 mins.) In this interview from his barbershop on Long Street in Columbus, artist Elijah Pierce talks about his work and his life and shows how his carvings express his experiences and beliefs.

Thursdays in January, 1:00–3:00 pm
Open Public Tours

Meet on the upper level every Thursday for free exhibition tours led by MMA docents. January tours feature The Essential Elijah Pierce and Branching Out: Michigan Woodworkers.

 
 
 

Japanese Warriors: Robots from the Warren Schwartz Collection and Japanese Traditions

November 6, 2014 through February 15, 2015



Zaboga, from the Warren Schwartz Collection

Ganera, from the Warren Schwartz Collection

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
Japanese, 1839-1892
Kinsei Gikyo Den
Woodblock, not dated
Hackley Picture Fund Purchase 1975.13

Michael and Kay Olthoff & Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery

Renowned Boston-based architect and rabid collector of toy Japanese robots, Warren Schwarz is one of five major collectors of toy robots in the country. He is sharing with the MMA a selection of his more then 1,000 robot toys that originated in Japan, showcasing these strange and legendary action figures whose golden age of popularity was from 1972 to 1982. Many toys from Schwartz’s collection are rare examples and often include their original packaging.


Legions of these Japanese exotic playthings were, in part, architecturally inspired and rooted in centuries of Japanese history and culture. Shiny and colorful, their characters were identified with their own story lines developed for Japanese TV shows and movies. The alluring robots, both fearsome and playful, are festooned with spikes and swords, spring-powered missiles and “rocket punches.” They invaded U.S. toy stores with an irresistible frenzy, beginning decades ago, and are still zealously collected today.


During the fertile decade of the early 1970s and 1980s, some of the most popular Japanese pop-culture characters were created including Godzilla, Red Baron, Jumbo Machinder, Ultra Man, Mazinger Z, and the Transformers. The toys from this period remain among the most unique and imaginative playthings ever created for children worldwide. Works from the Schwartz collection have been featured in Super #1 Robot (Chronicle Books, 2005), and in several other publications for Japanese animation enthusiasts. 


 

Sponsored by Cinema Carousel

 

VIDEO PREVIEW

 


RELATED PROGRAMS

Thursday, November 6
Opening Reception and Program
5:30-7:00 pm Opening Reception
7:00 pm Lecture by W. Schwartz
Join us for refreshments; then learn about the world of Japanese robot toys by one of their most avid collectors. Free and open to the public.

 

COMPANION EXHIBITION


November 6, 2014 – January 26, 2015
Japanese Traditions from the Permanent Collection


Alcoa Foundation & Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery

Japanese Traditions features the art of Japan in a wide array of eras, media, and subject matter, all pulled from the MMA’s permanent collection. Woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries will be included along with prints from the 20th century, revealing both a continuity and transformation from the past. Nineteenth and 20th century ceramics, decorative arts, and works of contemporary glass are also highlighted. Japanese Traditions accompanies the Japanese Warriors, providing a deeper perspective into the cultural and artistic origins of the robot collection.


The following programs are free and underwritten by MMA Education Partner Alcoa Foundation/Howmet.

Saturday, November 8, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
(Robot) Ornament Designer Super Saturday
Free Family Fun Da
y
Create a robot-themed ornament for the Super Saturday Christmas Tree, which will be part of the MMA’s Festival of Trees display that opens November 20. Each young designer will get a free kid’s FOT admission ticket. Super Saturday activities will include guided tours through the Japanese Warriors exhibition and an anime film.
10:00 am – 1:00 pm Guided Tours
Tour Japanese Warriors with an MMA docent.
10:00 am & 1:00 pm Film
Castle in the Sky
(125 mins) This children’s anime adventure features young miner Pazu and mysterious girl Sheeta, who team up to find the long-lost island of Laputa, which is rumored to have great riches and gems.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm Make & Take
Design robot ornaments using recycled items, including garland and more, to adorn a Super Saturday Festival of Trees holiday tree!

Thursday, November 13, 12:15 pm
Brown Bag Film

The Hidden Fortress
(139 mins.) Director Akira Kurosawa's classic adventure depicts the travails of two scheming peasants drafted by a defeated general to escort an imperious princess and her clan's royal treasure through enemy terrain. Free coffee and cookies are provided. Bring your own lunch.

Thursdays, November 13 and December 4, 11, 18
1:00 – 3:00pm
Open Public Tours

Drop in for guided tours of Japanese Warriors. Reservations are not required.


 
 
 
 
 
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