WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT: Stories from the Permanent Collection
May 20 through August 29, 2021
Alcoa Foundation Gallery
Women at the Forefront: Stories from the Permanent Collection presents artworks by highly influential and successful women in exhibiting, teaching, innovating, advocating, and pioneering. Today, they are household names and their legacies endure. This exhibition highlights the stories of these women through their art and accompanying text, calling attention to their achievements and celebrating the contributions of women through the decades.
Nancy Callan (American, b. 1964) Flight of the Lobster Blown and etched glass, 2008 Purchase, through the gifts of Stephanie Dresen and an Anonymous Donor, by exchange 2009.11
Beyond the Ceiling: Women of Studio Glass celebrates the contributions of women artists to the international movement of studio glass making. Enhancing the Muskegon Museum of Art’s own permanent collection with loans by contemporary women artists, this exhibition showcases a range of interests and design in glass, revealing the innovations and vision that women have contributed over the decades.
Ann Wolff (German, b. 1937) The Blues Kiln cast glass, 2006
Debora Moore (American, b. 1960) Blue Lady Slipper Wall Sculpture Blown and shaped glass, 2004 Gift of the Drs. Osbie and Anita Herald Fund, Nancy Waters, and C. Corcoran Tuttle, 2004.13 Photo by Frederic Reinecke
The paintings of Aneka Ingold, 2019 Bennett Prize winner, are presented alongside Rising Voices 2. The MMA will feature artwork made during Ingold’s two years of Prize support. Her paint and colored pencil paintings merge intricate detail with flat and bold graphics to tell stories of womanhood, of her own experiences and those of women through history.
Fecundity Mixed media on paper, 2021 74 x 48 inches Courtesy of the artist
Aneka Ingold Symbiosis (Diptych) Mixed media on paper, 2021 48 x 40 inches (each) Courtesy of the artist
Aneka Ingold Live and Let Live Mixed media on paper, 2019 48 x 58 inches Courtesy of the artist
Virulent Mixed media on paper, 2021 74 x 48 inches Courtesy of the artist
RISING VOICES 2: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realist Painters
May 28 through September 5, 2021
Ten women from across the country who paint in the figurative realist style were named finalists for the $50,000 Bennett Prize®, the largest art award ever offered solely to women figurative realist painters, and now in its second round of awards. The finalists were selected from among 674 entrants, a number that surpasses the entrants in 2018, the inaugural year of The Prize. Endowed at The Pittsburgh Foundation by art collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, The Prize is designed to propel the careers of women artists.
The winner of the $50,000 award will be announced at the Rising Voices 2: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realist Painters exhibition opening on May 27. An exhibition of the finalists’ works will travel following the Muskegon Museum of Art showing. Stops in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are planned and more venues will be added. Alongside the finalists exhibition, the winner of The Bennett Prize 1, Aneka Ingold, will present her solo show.
The 10 finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross, Providence, Rhode Island
Tanmaya Bingham, Portland, Oregon
Chloe Chiasson, Brooklyn, New York
June Glasson, Millbrook, New York
Holly Keogh, Charlotte, North Carolina
Lavely Miller, Baltimore, Maryland
Rebecca Orcutt, North Bend, Washington
Ayana Ross, McDonough, Georgia
Su Su, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Amy Werntz, Dallas, Texas
Edward Sheriff Curtis Inashah – Yakima copyright 1910, published 1911 Photogravure 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.
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.