The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts hosted mixed-media artist Ke Francis at the opening of the exhibit Ke Francis: A Selection of Large-Scale Work on Thursday, March 20. In examining his work at face value, Ke’s pieces – which range from small prints to large sculptures – exhibit many of the characteristics of the folk aesthetic that are often found in rural settings. However, after hearing Ke explain his process, it became clear that he uses the folk medium as a vehicle for story-telling. During his lecture, Ke recounted several stories that influenced his work. Some were as real as tornadoes ripping apart houses, others as magical as sage catfish living on land. These tales allow the viewer to begin connecting the seemingly individual images within Ke’s works and understand how they mesh together into a web that evokes the archetypal experience of life in the South. It was wonderful to meet Ke and hear the stories in person. His words brought his images to life and created a very personal experience for the audience.
President, Junior Executive Board
On the first day of spring seventeen MMFA docents and four members of the educational staff headed north to Chattanooga, TN.
Our destination was the Hunter Museum of American Art. Several months in planning, this was the MMFA’s first overnight docent field trip. Set upon an eighty foot bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the Museum features beautiful views of the riverfront and the surrounding area.
Upon arriving at the Museum we had a curator led tour of a current exhibition, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond. After having free time to explore the Hunter’s permanent collection, we attended a stimulating discussion, “Art + Issues: Diversity Is! Now Deal with It?” led by Bart Washington and Brian O’Leary of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
That evening and the following morning we were able to explore the city’s downtown area which, along with the Hunter, features the Tennessee Aquarium, the Creative Discovery Museum, a pedestrian bridge across the river, several art galleries and a wide range of restaurants. All of these attractions are within walking distance of each other. Art is everywhere in the downtown area, often in places you would least expect to find it. Those of us who toured the Aquarium were delighted to find an exhibit of Stephen Rolfe Powell’s “Whacko” series complementing the jellyfish exhibit.
Just as Cappy Thompson was “enraptured by the celestial fireworks of the muses,” our group was enchanted by the hospitality we received at the Hunter, the range and beauty of it’s collection and the stimulating atmosphere of Chattanooga’s downtown area. Being able to enjoy these attractions as a group made the trip all the more memorable.
Docent Council Chair
…for spring fever, weddings, Easter, confirmation, graduation, Mother’s Day… well ’tis ALWAYS the season for SOMETHING, right? And, although we DO have gifts for all of the above, DON’T wait for a special occasion to come peruse our one-of-a-kind collection here at The Museum Store. I think we have the best selection of pottery in the city (Christopher Greenman, Randy Shoults, Tena Payne, Margaret Barber, Suzanne Jensen, Anna Bastida, Jo Taylor– to drop a few names), plus paintings, jewelry, glass, and more (so many artists/so little space)… surely something for everyone (including kiddies) and at all price points.
We are constantly adding new artists and merchandise to keep things interesting and fresh. So if you were here two weeks ago or it’s been two years, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll find. More than once, I’ve heard the comment: “This is one of the best museum stores I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot…” So, what are you waiting for? I didn’t even mention that we provide free gift wrap and that our sales staff is always happy to offer suggestions, tell you about the artists we represent or just smile and nod– whatever you prefer.
Oh, and quarterly, we feature an Artist in Action where you can meet an artist and watch them at work here in the Museum Store, which is quite entertaining. The next one is Thursday, April 17th from Noon-2:00– in conjunction with Cafe M’s Divine Lunch. The artist will be Montgomery’s own, Barbara Binford Davis, painter extraordinaire and you’re all invited. (Reservations are needed that day at Cafe M but you never need a reservation for the store.)
Do yourself a favor and see for yourself…
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-4:00 and Sundays Noon-4:00. 334.240.4337
Kay Jacoby, Museum Store
It’s the American Advertising Awards, and we just heard that our catalogue for Material Transformations received the 2014 Best of Show Addy Award for the Montgomery region! The ADDYs recognize creative endeavors in all media and Camille Leonard of STAMP’s inventive design is nothing if not creative. We frequently work with Camille and designers of STAMP, one of Montgomery’s best Ad Agencies. Camille really understood the ideas and works of art featured in the Material Transformations exhibition and captured a wonderful way to portray them in print form. We’re thrilled with her concept and so excited that the American Advertising Awards program acknowledged Camille’s stunning achievement. It works not only as a companion piece to the exhibition but also stands on its own. It was great fun to work with Camille on this project and it’s not the first time the Addys recognized our collaboration with her—our exhibition catalogue Psychedelic Mania: Stephen Rolfe Powell’s Dance with Glass received an award in 2013. Come pick up your own copy! Both of these award-winning catalogues are available in the Museum Store.
Curator of Art
Our newest exhibition, Creator/Created: Jerry Siegel Portraits and Artists from the Permanent Collection just opened. This was a particularly fun exhibition to put together. The idea started through conversations with Jerry who’s been photographing Southern artists for over 15 years. In looking through his images we realized that the MMFA has many of these artists’ works in our collection and we thought by pairing photo and artwork together we could present a unique view into the works of art, the artists themselves, and their artistic process. Going through our collection to select which of these artists’ works to feature was a real treat for me. I got to dive in and really begin to understand the breadth and depth of works by regional artists that we own in addition to all the other fantastic pieces in our collection.
Jerry is a wonderfully generous artist and I think his portraits speak to that; he really captures the essence of each of these personalities. When Jerry photographs his subjects, he takes multiple shots and often prints in both black and white and color. For the exhibition, we decided to use only the black and white images to present Jerry’s photographs as a cohesive body of work since we spread them throughout the galleries. He and I met several times to look at prints (both working and final) and to choose what worked best in this particular exhibition. Alternate images and color versions, along with interviews with many of the artists, are on I-Pads displayed throughout the galleries. Come take a look!
Curator of Art
The Museum and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians partnered to present Alabama Natives, Alabama Neighbors, our Native American Family Day celebration on Saturday, March 8th. 1,500 visitors of all ages enjoyed dance and craft demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and story telling. Many cultural artifacts from Kerretv Cuko (Building of Learning) Poarch Band of Creek Indians Museum in Atmore were on view in the Rotunda. For more information about the tribe, please visit http://pci-nsn.gov/