The Muskegon Museum of Art holds an internationally recognized permanent collection of art, boasting important works by artists such as Edward Hopper, John Steuart Curry, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Winslow Homer, Elizabeth Catlett, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre Bonnard. Begun in 1910, today the collection features paintings, prints, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, glass, and decorative arts covering a wide range of genres and time periods. A collecting institution, the MMA continues to acquire, through gift and purchase, both historic and contemporary art as a vital component of its mission. Through the summer and fall of 2020, all of our galleries will highlight and explore the various facets of our collection, celebrating our most recognized masterworks and bringing out more rarely seen objects that define over 100 years of collecting.
As the MMA looks to the next hundred years, join us in celebrating and exploring this renowned Muskegon treasure.
Virtual Preview Tour
Glass: Treasures from the Permanent Collection
L. C. and Margaret Walker A Gallery
Major exhibition showcasing works by many of the artists that defined the studio glass movement along with works made by today’s new masters
Camille Pissarro, French, 1830-1903 La Ferme (The Farm), 1879, oil on canvas Gift of the L.C. and Margaret Walker Foundation, 1976.18
From Dürer to Rembrandt: Five Centuries of Art and Faith
Theodore and Joan Operhall Gallery
Works on paper from the earliest days of printmaking in 15th-century Germany and 17th-century Holland along with paintings by Dutch, German, and Swedish artists demonstrate the significant influence of faith on the advancement of art.
Joos van Cleve (Flemish, circa 1485-circa 1540) St. Jerome in Penitence Oil on wood panel circa 1516-18 Hackley Picture Fund Purchase. 1940.47
Graphic: 19th- and 20th-Century Prints and Watercolors
Theodore and Joan Operhall Gallery
Examples from the golden age of printmaking in late 19th- and early 20th-century Europe to the etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and screenprints of today
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844-1926) The Mandolin Player Etching on paper, circa 1889 Purchase, L.C. and Margaret Walker Fund. 1949.13
The Artist’s Lens: 20th- and 21st-Century Photography
Alcoa Foundation/Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery
Photography by nationally and internationally recognized photographers, including a selection of prints from Edward Curtis’s photographic masterpiece The North American Indian, as well as our own Michigan artists.
Edward Sheriff Curtis (American, 1868-1952) Placating the Spirit of a Slain Eagle – Assiniboin Photogravure on Holland paper, copyright 1926 Purchased by subscription, transferred from the Hackley Public Library and Muskegon Public Schools. 2014.6.634
A Living Legacy: Modern and Contemporary Art
Michael and Kay Olthoff/Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery
Modern pieces that bridge the distance between our early paintings and today’s art and works by contemporary artists
Maria Tomasula (American, born 1958) Please Don’t Go Oil on panel, 2010 Purchased in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Muskegon Museum of Art, through the Shaw and Betty Walker Foundation Fund. 2012.8
SONS VIRTUAL EXHIBITION
May 19 through July 6, 2020
A Virtual Exhibition
The Muskegon Museum of Art presented SONS: Seeing the Modern African American Male, portraits of black men from greater Muskegon photographed by artist Jerry Taliaferro, December 13, 2018 through March 10, 2019. We organized the exhibition with the advisement and help of a committee of African American men from the Muskegon area. In the spirit of community, we again present the SONS portraits in this virtual exhibition.
About the Exhibition
SONS was meant to explore how the black American male perceives himself and how others perceive him. At the time of the original exhibition, artist Jerry Taliaferro stated, “[The exhibition] is both timely and relevant. Recent events point to the urgent need for conversations about the contemporary black American male. Any effort, however humble, to foster an understanding of this largely misunderstood and often marginalized segment of the American population is of utmost importance.” The effort to foster understanding and respect is needed as much now as it was then.
A committee of their peers nominated the men pictured in the show from the greater Muskegon area. The goal was to portray a wide range of ages, backgrounds, occupations, and interests to best represent not only the black men of our community, but also to mirror the day-to-day experiences of their fellow Americans. It was the first time many of these men were publicly recognized.
The men pictured are artists, musicians, barbers, doctors, lawyers, health care workers, engineers, entrepreneurs, businessmen, teachers, athletes, retired servicemen, clergy, poets, factory workers, laborers, security guards, school administrators, and coaches. They are also husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, co-workers, teammates, friends, and neighbors.
The first part of the exhibition features black and white photographs that do not indicate professions or pastimes. The second part features color photographs with items and apparel indicate these activities, as well as expressing more of the subjects’ outward personalities. Click on each of the thumbnail pictures to see full portraits.
Jerry Taliaferro was born in the small southern town of Brownsville, Tennessee. After graduating high school in May 1972, he joined the Army. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1973 and graduated as a member of the Class of 1977. Taliaferro’s interest in photography began during his post at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Special Forces training in 1981. While serving in Germany, his interest in photography continued and, in 1985, his work was published for the first time when a Munich magazine purchased the rights to one of his images. Jerry returned to the U.S. and began doing assignments for advertising and design firms in 1985. He left the military in 1988 and began a career in commercial photography. Over the ensuing years, his interest turned more to fine art photography. This change in direction has resulted in several projects and published pieces. Women of a New Tribe, a photographic study of the spiritual and physical beauty of black women, is one of his latest projects. Jerry Taliaferro currently resides in Charlotte, NC.
Special thanks to the members of the SONS Committee, without which this exhibition would not have been possible: TJ Chappel, Jon Covington, Chris Dean, Arthur Garner, Ed Garner, Justin Jennings, Bernard Loudermill, William Muhammad, Marvin Nash, Dr. Dale Nesbary, Kelly Richards, J. Arthur Sanders, Andrew Sims, George Walker, Rodney Walker, James Waters, and Jonathan Wilson.
Call for entries opens for $50,000 Bennett Prize for women figurative realist painters
Talented women painters looking to take their figurative realist work to the next level
are invited to apply for the $50,000 Bennett Prize®, the largest offered solely to women painters.
The call for entries runs from April 16 – Oct. 16, 2020. Details are at www.thebennettprize.org Entry is
online at www.callforentry.org
More than 600 artists entered the competition two years ago, exceeding expectations.
“The first call for entries revealed a deep vein of exceptional talent that runs across this country, and
we are eager to see an even more extensive range of original work in this second call,” said Steven
Alan Bennett, of San Antonio, Texas, who co-founded the prize in 2016 with Dr. Elaine Melotti
Schmidt. They are among the country’s top collectors of figurative realist art and have established a
$3 million fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation to ensure that The Prize will be awarded every two years
“We are committed to ensuring that talented women painters are duly recognized, and the
overwhelming response to the first competition reveals just how warranted this support for women
painters is,” Bennett said. “Their work deserves to be seen, and the public deserves to see it.”
Tampa-based artist Aneka Ingold won the first Bennett Prize last year . She is currently creating new
work for her Bennett Prize solo exhibition, which will be presented across the country in 2021 along
with the work of the 10 finalists in this second call for entries. The exhibition will first be held at the
Muskegon (Michigan) Museum of Art from May 20 – Sept. 5, 2021.
Ingold’s paintings are noted for their powerful, expressive representations of femininity, exploring
women’s experiences across time, culture and history.
“Women figurative realist painters have so many important stories to share and their voices need to be
heard,” Ingold said. “As the inaugural recipient of The Bennett Prize , my artistic voice has been
amplified and my career empowered in ways I never dreamed.”
The Bennett Prize is designed to propel a woman painter’s career to broader recognition. The winner
receives $25,000 each year for two years, so she has needed time to create her solo show. The Prize
helps level the playing field for women artists. Works by women artists are collected and shown less
frequently by galleries and museums and, when they are purchased, the prices paid are typically far less
than those paid to artists who are men.
“Through our Center for Philanthropy, our Foundation has been involved with The Bennett Prize from
its inception. It has been a great privilege to see how The Prize has elevated the profile of women artists
by funding their work and creating opportunities for the public to experience the talents and creativity
of women figurative realist painters,” said Lisa Schroeder, Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO.
The Bennett Prize is awarded by a four-member jury, which this year is comprised of Patrick Moore,
director of the internationally renowned Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; painters Alyssa Monks
and Katie O’Hagan, both of New York; and Bennett, co-founder of the prize. The jury will select 10
painters from among the entrants and ultimately one winner.
“In hosting The Prize, we’re able to bring new voices and stunning artworks to our audiences, advance
women painters around the country, and present challenging new potentials for the use of the figure in
contemporary art,” said Art Martin, director of collections and exhibitions/senior curator at the
Muskegon Museum of Art, and a former Bennett Prize juror.
“As the first exhibition of Bennett Prize finalists’ work travels the country, we expect this second call
for entries to attract more entries, more individual styles, more traveling venues and more people eager
to see this work,” said prize co-founder Schmidt. “We hope to see women painters from every area of
the country, every demographic and every flavor of figurative realism competing for this coveted
The Prize is not open to hobbyists or students, or to artists whose work has been sold for $25,000 or
more, or who have received an award, prize or other recognition for their art in that amount.
In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances we are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
and the resulting economic hardship, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Muskegon Museum of Art, and Prize
founders Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt and Steven Bennett have made the decision to reduce the fee for
entry by half, to $25.
In addition to the first round winner, Ingold, the nine finalists were:
• Dorielle Caimi, Santa Fe, NM
• Jennifer R. A. Campbell, Washington, D.C.
• Kira Nam Greene, Brooklyn, NY
• Mary Henderson, Philadelphia, PA
• Stefanie Jackson, Athens, GA
• Rebecca Léveillé, Amherst, MA
• Jenny Morgan, Brooklyn, NY
• Daniela Kovačić Muzio, Evanston, IL
• Carrie Pearce, Peoria, IL
The 14th annual Postcard Salon returns for the fall of 2020, to showcase of the amazing creativity of our artist community. The exhibition features original 4 x 6 inch artworks from artists of all ages and skill levels in a wide array of media. Postcard art that was delivered to the MMA for the cancelled spring Postcard Salon exhibition will be on display in this exhibition. A sale event has not been determined at this time.
Underwritten by G&L Chili Dogs. Check out the G&L website for take-out information!
PAST EXHIBITIONS from the ARCHIVE: Curator’s Blog
Exhibitions from the Archive
While our doors are temporarily closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19, MMA staff continue to work behind the scenes. We are planning for the future and finding new ways to engage with our audiences until we can again welcome you into the galleries. This series of posts offers a look back at staff-favorite exhibitions and gives some insight into the hows and whys of what we do. The MMA staff selected these shows for how they have helped shape the Muskegon Museum of Art of today and serve as templates for our exciting future. It’s critical to note that none of these shows would have been possible without our generous sponsors and volunteers and our highly engaged museum community. Ultimately we exist to serve you: to educate, entertain, inform, inspire, surprise, and occasionally challenge.
Art Martin, Director of Collections and Exhibitions/Senior Curator