Monday, January 17, 2011

World-Class Art

Art: such a vague word, yet one that stirs such emotion in so many.We surround ourselves with its imagery and learn the names of all the greats. We create it. We debate it. We search for it in unexpected places. We find that one piece that so perfectly wraps up what we're feeling, who we are, and attach ourselves wholeheartedly to its aesthetics and meanings. A three letter word with such power...

Tornado Over Kansas by John Steuart Curry
Recently, a friend and I were having a long-winded debate about art, not an unusual occurrence, when the conversation shifted to his time spent studying in Italy. He was wandering through a museum one day when he came across a chaotic piece depicting a family's race to safety from the twisting funnel in the background. The sign next to it read:

John Steuart Curry 
Tornado Over Kansas
Oil on canvas, 1929
Muskegon Museum of Art

Muskegon! Here he was, a West Michigan resident, wandering the globe to define art, only to discover the treasures from his own backyard. After his shock subsided, pride swelled.

New York Restaurant by Edward Hopper
Impressive is the word that comes to mind when I think of the Muskegon Museum of Art. Their permanent collection is home to world-class pieces by the likes of Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, and Dale Chihuly. Their programming is so well planned and well rounded that each time I see the newest line-up, I'm speechless. For each exhibit, they have a dozen or so separate events including films, children's activities, lectures and performances. The calendar is just as dizzying as the twister in their most famous painting!

The newest exhibit is no different. WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball, Original Paintings by Kadir Nelson opened on January 13. Award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson gave a decade of his life to the study of the history of Negro League baseball, ultimately producing 33 paintings for his book which became a New York Times bestseller and received the Coretta Scott King Author Award. This nationally touring exhibition highlights these paintings and the 13 preliminary sketches that "speak to the Negro League’s overwhelming success despite the daunting odds against it".

Josh Gibson by Kadir Nelson
From the MMA website:
We Are the Ship tells the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the 20th century. Most of all, it is a story of the hundreds of unsung heroes of the Negro Leagues who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved most: play ball.
This Week's Giveaway!

We want you to experience this amazing exhibit and museum, that's why this week, we're giving away an awesome Muskegon Museum of Art prize pack which includes:
  • Two admission tickets to MMA
  • $20 gift certificate to the Museum's gift store
  • A copy of WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
 To enter, simply tell us what your favorite artist or artwork, and we'll draw the winner on Friday, January 21. Good luck!

High five,



Audrey said...

Monet's lily pads. My grandma was a painter and created a copy of it once. It's beautiful, and when I finally saw the real deal, I just sat with it for hours remembering her!

Carmen said...

I would have to say that I enjoy the artwork of Henri Matisse. Particularly, "The Dance". The Fauvism movement really helped define art, and make it what it is today. Everytime I see a Matisse painting, I think of my college friend Chris, and how much he enjoyed them as well.

Ethan B. said...

The Night Watch by Rembrandt, its an amazing piece and much larger then I thought it was going to be.

Jolon @ Savvy Chic Savings said...

This is a terrible thing to admit, but I didn't know there's an art museum in Muskegon! I think I need to make it over to the lakeshore more often!

Two of my favorite artists are Salvador Dali and Peter Beard. I love when artists put seemingly unrelated objects together in the same piece. More to look at and more to think about.

Marilyn said...

I am fond of watery landscapes, such as Renoir's Boating on the Seine. It reminds me of our Lake Michigan shore!

Jackie said...

Chihuly's pieces were amazing at the Meijer Gardens, especially the towering trees.

jeff said...

I'd have to say my favorite artist is VanGogh.

Bob S. said...

Norman Rockwell, because of the stories his art tells.