LEVI RICKERT: Standing Rock, Photographs of an Indigenous Movement

December 10 through February 28, 2021

L.C. and Margaret Walker Gallery A

Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. This collection of photographs documents Rickert’s journey to Standing Rock in 2016 as part of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. These images capture not just the news making conflicts and clashes between protestors and private security firms at the site, but also the day-to-day experiences of the men and women joined in their shared call for action.

Photo of Levi Rickert

Standing Rock

Photos at Standing Rock by Levi Rickert

Underwritten by Shape Corporation

JIM DENOMIE: Challenging the Narrative

December 10 through March 14, 2021

L. C. and Margaret Walker Gallery B

Jim Denomie, Four Days and Four Nites Two Moons

Jim Denomie is a nationally recognized, collected, and award winning Ojibwe artist. His colorful, humorous paintings directly address historical, political, and cultural issues facing Native Americans in the U.S. Using traditional imagery, stereotypes, comic symbols, and pop culture imagery, Denomie presents playful, alluring narratives that, on closer inspection, reveal biting and thought-provoking challenges to historic and contemporary misperceptions, prejudices, and injustices. Learn more at http://www.bockleygallery.com/artist_denomie/

This exhibition, organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, features new and favorite paintings by the artist, revealing the continuity and ongoing explorations within his work.

Jim Denomie, Wounded Knee

Denomie has won numerous awards including the Bush Foundation and the McKnight Foundation fellowships. In 2015, Denomie was awarded a Painters and Sculptors grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. His work is found in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, among others.

Jim Denomie, Untruthful

Program support is provided by the Art Bridges Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Humanities Council with the National Endowment for the Humanities.



November 12 through February 7, 2021

In the 1940s, the L.C. and Margaret Walker Foundation began to purchase significant prints for the Muskegon Museum of Art, including those by Rembrandt, Albrecht Dürer, and Francisco Goya. Today, the Walker Print Collection is a defining facet of our museum and boasts numerous rare, highly prized etchings and engravings. Over the decades, funds from the Walker Foundation have also provided for the acquisition of paintings by Camille Pissarro, Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard. At any time, numerous works from the Walker gifts are on public display, pieces that have come to define the museum and its internationally recognized collection. Truly, the contributions of the Walker family have served to shape what the Muskegon Museum of Art has become. This exhibition presents highlights from the Walker family gifts, calling attention to how truly significant their legacy is to the museum’s identity.

Pierre Bonnard
(French, 1867-1947)
La Porte de la Villa du Bosquet au Cannet
Oil on canvas, 1944
Gift of the L.C. and Margaret Walker Foundation

L.C. and Margaret Walker

Louis Carlisle Walker was a prominent business leader, politician, and philanthropist in West Michigan. He lived with his wife Margaret Mercer in North Muskegon until her death in 1956. L.C. Walker and Arch Wilkinson Shaw were the founding partners of the Shaw Walker Furniture Company, an iconic West Michigan firm that continues today as an acquisition of Knoll Furniture. An active supporter of the community, Walker was a member of numerous civic and business organizations. In addition to managing his business, he was the vice-president, president, and director of the Hackley Union National Bank from 1929-1958; helped organize and headed the Muskegon Federal Savings and Loan Association from 1933-1948; and served on the Muskegon Board of Education from 1917-1927. While on the Board of Education, Walker led the Library and Arts Committee, which oversaw museum operations.

Shaw and Betty Walker

After L.C. Walker’s death in 1963, Shaw Walker, L.C. Walker’s son, took over the family business and continued, with his wife Betty, to support both the community and the Muskegon Museum of Art.

In the 1980s, the Walker Foundation contributed a substantial gift to the Muskegon Museum of Art’s expansion. The Walker wing transformed what the museum was and what it could accomplish, adding new galleries, collection storage, staff offices, and work areas. When we look back to the major exhibitions and programs the MMA has hosted and organized in the past decades, few would have been possible without the Walker Galleries. The ongoing expansion of our permanent collection would likewise have been impossible without the new storage spaces the Walker gift enabled. What we were, and what we could be, were profoundly elevated by the Walker gift.

Museum Director Mary Riordan, far right, looks over plans for a new (L.C. & Margaret Walker) wing at the Muskegon Museum of Art on February 19, 1981. Chronicle photo by John Bunda.

New L.C. and Margaret Walker Fund

The Walkers also continue to regularly contribute funds to the purchase of art for the collection, highlights of which include works by Winfred Rembert, Deborah Butterfield, Maria Tomasula, Robert Riggs, John George Brown, Carducius Plantagenet Ream, and Robert Henri. Through a gift of the Walkers, the museum was also able to establish a new art acquisition fund, providing the largest opportunity for art buying since Charles Hackley’s founding gift. This new L.C. and Margaret Walker Fund, since its inception, has allowed for the purchase of significant paintings by William Glackens, Theodore Earl Butler, and Dale Nichols, among others. In our collection today, 262 works of art are credited all, or in part, to Walker family gifts.

William James Glackens
(American, 1870-1938)
Woman with Watch
Oil on canvas, circa 1914
Museum Purchase, Gift of the L.C. and Margaret Walker Fund

Shaw Walker died in 2009, at the age of 95. His wife Betty now sustains the Walker legacy and continues to work closely with the MMA. As the museum innovates and evolves, the Walker legacy endures as a defining core of who we are and hope to become in the future.

Programming support for this exhibition is provided by Art Bridges; the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

92nd Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition in 2021

September 23 through November 10, 2021
92nd MIContemporary Logo

Out of caution and respect for our artists, the annual juried Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition has been postponed until 2021. The Michigan Contemporary Exhibition will run September 23 through November 10, 2021. Call for Entries will go live in April 2021. Entry information will be posted later, as soon as it becomes available.

We remain committed to this important event, our celebration of the talents of Michigan’s artists. The past several years of the show have been particularly striking and we look forward to sharing it with our audiences when it returns in 2021. Thank you in advance for your understanding.


June 1 through June 1, 2021

The North American Indian

Edward Sheriff Curtis
Inashah – Yakima
copyright 1910, published 1911
Volume 7 Portfolio, Plate 220

In the summer of 2017, the Muskegon Museum of Art exhibited, in its entirety, Edward Curtis’s masterwork The North American Indian. Comprised of 20 volumes of texts and thousands of images, including 723 large format photogravures in accompanying portfolios, The North American Indian recorded the lives, culture, and history of Native American Tribes from the Southwestern, Plains, and Northwestern United States in the early 20th century. For 30 years, Curtis traveled extensively, producing photographs, copious field notes, and wax cylinder recordings. Available by subscription, the project enjoyed initial success but Curtis was bankrupt and forgotten by the time the final volume was published in 1930. The surviving prints and plates were rediscovered in the 1970s, leading to a revival of interest that continues today. The Muskegon Museum of Art’s complete set was obtained in 1907, when Lulu Miller, the librarian of the Hackley Public Library, convinced the Muskegon Board of Education (who governed the library) to subscribe.


Curtis Legacy Foundation Census


Awaiting Return of Snake Dancers Hopi

Modern scholarship reveals many of the flaws of Curtis’s work, products of the prevailing Euro-centric prejudices and attitudes of his time. Curtis’s intention to record and preserve the cultures of Native American Tribes before they vanished under a deliberate campaign by the United States government was commendable and ultimately successful. Ironically, his project also served to codify and perpetuate the dominant stereotypes of the time. As an artist and historian, Curtis staged images, edited contents to reflect his own intentions and pre-existing beliefs, and cloaked much of his product in a veil of romanticism. Curtis’s texts indeed preserved oral history, music, and language that may have otherwise been lost, but the cultural heritage of America’s Native peoples ultimately endured without his efforts, never “vanishing” as predicted by leading scholars of the day.

Self Portrait by Edward S. Curtis, copyright 1889, printed 1907. Photogravure. Collection of the Muskegon Museum of Art. Hackley Picture Fund Purchase. 1983.5.

Video Project: Sharing the Story

It was vitally important to the MMA and guest curator Ben Mitchell that our exhibition reflect not only the history of such a monumental artistic undertaking as The North American Indian but also the full range of controversies that surround it. Working with leading Native Indian scholars, artists, and West Michigan area Tribes, our team developed programming, content, and text that shared the fullest story possible with our viewers, while challenging assumptions and inviting new perspectives. The text developed as part of our exhibition appeared on panels throughout the galleries and was narrated by Ben Mitchell in a series of YouTube videos. As we look back on our successes and forward to our expanding future, these videos remain an important resource to understanding our permanent collection and shared cultural heritage.

You can find the entire series at the links below.

Find all our videos on the Muskegon Museum of Art YouTube channel.