New Art for the New Century: 100 for the 100th—MMA new Centennial Collection on display through October 7

The Muskegon Museum of Art has unveiled its Centennial Collection—an entirely new collection of artworks—marking a fresh chapter in the Museum’s 100-year history. This installation of the new collection as one group, titled New Art for the New Century, will be on display

through October 7, 2012.

Seven years of strategic planning and collecting have resulted in the creation of the Centennial Collection—a group of more than 100 noteworthy acquisitions—in honor of the MMA’s 100th anniversary. New Art for the New Century will fill much of the original part of the Museum building, which first opened to the public on June 21, 1912 as the Hackley Art Gallery.

The works of art in the Centennial Collection have been acquired through the generosity of the MMA’s patrons in the form of gifts, promised gifts, and purchases. The Collection includes American and European paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics, and works on paper dating from the 17th century to the present. Some of the artists represented in New Art are Robert Henri, Hughie Lee-Smith, Annabel Livermore, Daniel Clayman, Whitfield Lovell, and Bessie Potter Vonnoh.

The MMA may be relatively small in scale, but its history makes for an exceptional story. Nineteenth-century lumber baron Charles Hackley dreamed big for all of Muskegon, and part of his vision was to found an art museum in the young city where he made his home. The Muskegon Board of Education, to which Hackley’s vision was entrusted, carried forward his ideals of service to the community, finding remarkable directors over the course of the century that could help them with this monumental task. Every MMA director has made memorable strides in acquiring works of art to the height of their abilities and opportunities.

This solid foundation was a formidable one to live up to, as the Museum prepared to enter its second century. With its 100th Anniversary but a glimmer on the horizon in 2005, MMA Executive Director Judith Hayner, the MMA staff, and the Museum’s collections committee, with the support of the Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education (of which the Museum is still part of), embarked on an ambitious acquisition plan for the future. The goal was to set a course to match, and perhaps even exceed, the collections strengths that had been accomplished in the Museum’s first 100 years.

The dream of all said constituents was to assemble a group of exceptional objects that would even more substantially fulfill Charles Hackley’s original charge to the Muskegon Board of Education to collect “pictures of the best kind.” The Centennial Collection has taken on proportions unimaginable to the group in 2005. The anticipated result of acquiring only a handful of works, based on stringent high-quality objectives was greatly surpassed thanks to the motivation to patrons near and far of the MMA’s impending 100th anniversary.

New Art for the New Century
exhibition is underwritten by SPX Corporation, the MMA’s 100th Year Centennial Partner; the Hines Corporation, and Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP.

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