FantasMenagerie: The Sculptures of Nat Rosales

October 18 through January 13, 2019

Michael and Kay Olthoff/Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery

Sculpture by Nat Rosales

Michigan artist Nat Rosales assembles fantastical vehicles and creatures from scrap metal, found and manipulated objects, and mechanical parts. Integral to his art are cast bronze and brass animal sculptures, door and drawer knobs, decorative lamp bodies, gears and drives, various housings, and a host of decorative metal, plastic, and ceramic bric-a-brac. The resulting combinations are a blend of Alice in Wonderland and H.G. Wells, an amalgam of whimsy, fantasy, and mechanics.

FantasMenagerie features over a dozen of Rosales’ recent works, a menagerie of vehicles, contraptions, and mechanical-animal hybrids. Formed from found objects and scrap, and inspired by Rosales’ life and culture, these fantastical creations invite the viewer along on a journey of magic and exploration.

Rosales has been drawn to sculpture since childhood, an ideal expression for his fascination with taking things apart and exploring how the resulting pieces might be reconfigured and assembled. His current body of work began in 2004, with one of his earliest creations, Hog I, appearing in the Muskegon Museum of Art’s annual juried Regional Exhibition in 2005. His Mexican and Catholic heritage combine with a life-long interest in Cubist and Modern sculpture to form the foundation of his artistic expression.

Underwritten by the Van Kampen Boyer Molinari Foundation.

Michigan Artist Sponsor: Blue Lake Public Radio

Opening Reception
Thursday, October 18
5:30 pm Reception/7:00 pm Talk by Nat Rosales
Celebrate the opening of this fantastical autumn exhibition by sculptor Nat Rosales. He will talk about his work in a program following the reception. Free and open to the public. Cash bar.

Crash Course: Gallery talk with Nat Rosales
Thursday, November 8
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Meet the artist behind the sculptures of FantasMenagerie. Free and open to the public. Cash bar.

Sculpture by Nat Rosales

Sculpture by Nat Rosales

Armand Merizon: His Life and Art

September 20 through January 6, 2019
Good Neighbors by Merizon

Alcoa Foundation/Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery

Color by Armand Merizon

Armand Merizon
Color, 1992, 19 x 25 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra

Armand Merizon (1920-2010) was a lifelong Grand Rapids painter remembered for his detailed landscapes and brilliantly colored abstractions. A founding member of the Grand Valley Artists organization, he influenced generations of West Michigan artists and was an active and supportive presence in the community. This exhibition highlights his entire career, beginning with the precocious landscapes of his late teens and ending with the intuitive abstractions of his final years.

Raised in a conservative Dutch Calvinist household during the Great Depression, Merizon struggled to find his place, ultimately following his passion for art. With limited training, he was able to turn his natural talents for observation and rendering into complex and intricate landscapes and illustrations. Tragically, at mid-career, he began losing his vision to macular degeneration. Rather than abandon painting, he moved in an abstract direction, presenting the landscape in bold strokes and hot, vibrant colors, ultimately painting by intuition instead of sight.

Organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, the exhibition presents over twenty paintings from West Michigan collections, including landscapes, abstractions, and several of the artist’s political works. Armand Merizon: His Life and Art is shown in conjunction with the recent release of a biography by the same name, written by his long-time friend and collector Muriel Zandstra. (Books are available to purchase in the MMA Museum Store.) After its close at the MMA, the exhibition will travel to the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI.


Opening Reception & Book Signing
Thursday, September 20
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Celebrate the opening of this autumn exhibition, a look into the life and work of the late West Michigan artist Armand Merizon. Muriel Zandstra, author of Armand Merizon: His Life and Art, will be on hand to sign books. Books are available to purchase in the MMA Museum Store. Refreshments and cash bar. Event is free and open to the public.

The Paintings of Armand Merizon: A Closer Look
Friends of Art Program with MMA Senior Curator Art Martin
Wednesday, October 17
10:30 am
Art Martin examines Merizon’s paintings over the course of the artist’s career. Program is free and open to the public. Paid admission is required for gallery entry.

Armand Documentary with Muriel Zandstra
Film Screening with Q&A
Thursday, October 25
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Armand tells the story of a nearly blind twentieth century American artist, Armand Merizon. Using personal interviews, historic film footage, and over 100 of his paintings, this film traces Merizon’s search for truth and his portrayal of the social, political, and enviromental issues of the twentieth century. It is also a story of perseverance as he battled macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis. But despite his ailments he vowed, “I will paint until my nose touches the canvas.” Director, Executive Producer, and close friend of Armand, Muriel Zandstra, will hold a Q&A following the film showing. Film admission is free and open to the public.


Michigan Artists Series Media Sponsor: Blue Lake Public Radio



Milk House by Merizon

Armand Merizon
Milk House, early 1970s, 17 x 21.5 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra


Good Neighbors by Merizon

Armand Merizon
Good Neighbors, 2003, 28.5 x 38.5 inches
Collection of Muriel and Dave Zandstra

90th Michigan Regional Exhibition

August 30 through November 7, 2018

The Muskegon Museum of Art’s 90th Michigan Regional Exhibition opens Thursday, August 30, 2018. An opening reception will be held that evening starting at 5:30 pm. The awards program starts at 7:00 pm. Over $6,000 in cash prizes will be handed out to the winning artists at the program. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available. The event is free and open to the public.

The annual Regional Exhibition is the longest-established exhibition of its kind in the state, continuing the MMA’s legacy of showcasing the work of Michigan artists, from talented newcomers to accomplished professionals. The competitive show presents a contemporary look at the issues, themes, and materials inspiring today’s artists. Featured media includes painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and installation works.

Three hundred fifty-three artists submitted 658 artwork entries to be considered for inclusion in this year’s show. The juror, Marc Mitchell, selected 147 works by 150 artists to include in the exhibition. He chose the juror’s awards from among the accepted entries. Additional awards selected by the MMA’s director and senior curator, among others, will be announced the week before the exhibition opens.

90th Michigan Regional Exhibition Catalogue [pdf]

Top Juror Awards

Best of Show, $1,500
Brian Caponi, Rochester Hills
The Window, 2016
Porcelain with glaze on steel


2nd Place, $750
Michael Garguilo, Royal Oak
Head XLIII, 2017
Oil and Charcoal on Canvas


3rd Place, $500
Brianne Munch, Traverse City
As I Drag, 2018
Fabric, Elmer’s Glue, assorted bones, pig skull, chicken wire

West Michigan Potters Guild Eleanore Smith Memorial Ceramics Award, $250
Paul Flickinger, Kalamazoo
1000 tea bowls, 2016


Robert and Veronica Youngman Memorial Award for Graphic Arts, $150
Jean Allemeier Boot, Alto
Sprouted Yellow Onion, 2018
Etching and aquatint


Honorable Mentions, $150

Saem Cho, Holland
Lurking Tal 2.4, 2018


Elizabeth Brandt, Holland
Slipstream, 2017
Cotton fabric, polyester thread, batting


Karen Gallup, Ann Arbor
Bird’s-eye-view, 2018


About the Juror
Marc Mitchell is an Assistant Professor in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Arkansas, where he also serves as Curator & Director of Exhibitions and Co-Director of Graduate Studies. As a curator, he has developed exhibitions featuring artists such as Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Louise Bourgeois, and Carrie Mae Weems. Mitchell is also a practicing artist whose work has been featured in New American Paintings and The Boston Globe, and has exhibited around the U.S. and internationally.

The 90th Michigan Regional Exhibition is underwritten by Warner Norcross & Judd LLP and the Shape Corporation Advised Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. Awards are underwritten by Swanson Pickle Company. Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave., in downtown Muskegon, Michigan.

Perchance to Dream: The Art of Michael Peoples

June 21 through September 16, 2018

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.


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.”

Michigan Artist Media Sponsor: Blue Lake Public Radio