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Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

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Category: General

Museum Statement

Some stories have appeared on social media about three missing cards from an interactive piece in Uncommon Territory: Contemporary Art in Alabama. For those who are interested here is an overview of what happened.

In the exhibition, we chose to present a work designed by the artist to be interactive. The installation included a stereoscope viewer and a number of small, digitally printed stereoscopic cards, which the public was invited to handle and swap out in the machine. Unfortunately, someone took three of the seven cards from the display. While our security team is active and alert, these objects were small and the person was quick and deliberate in their actions. When we discovered the loss, we followed protocol by notifying the artist and reviewing our security footage but were unable to clearly identify the thief due to their posture. We did not file a police report since we could not track down the perpetrator, nor did the value of the loss warrant an insurance claim. We value the artist’s art and his contribution to the exhibition and felt a responsibility to him since we agreed to show the work without tethers, as the artist intended. We have removed the stereoscope from the installation and compensated the artist for the value of the set of the cards.

We regret that this theft occurred, but these risks are part of any interactive piece with small parts. Our security team does the very best it can, 24 hours a day, to protect the Museum, the artwork, and our visitors.

Giving Tuesday 2017

Photograph of girl in a studio class

I hope your Thanksgiving was amazing and filled with family, friends, and most important, love. I hope your Black Friday was fruitful and that you managed to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Thank goodness we are given Sunday as a day of reprieve, but today is Cyber Monday, and it’s time hunt deals, followed by Giving Tuesday, a time to give back!  But you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to support your favorite non-profit (hopefully the MMFA!)


The Calm within the Storm

There is a whole different sort of art to entertaining and doing it well. That’s been the function of our MMFA events planner since the Museum relocated to the Blount Cultural Park in 1989. This individual is responsible for ensuring that every event held at the Museum—from receptions, to dinners, to musical performances and community festivals—is a distinctive and memorable experience for our guests. Aaron Ganey recently joined us as Events Coordinator after having worked previously for our long-time caterer Jennie Weller Catering and Events. It was a smooth transition since the Museum staff had already enjoyed working with Aaron for several years, and Jennie now has an established and familiar line of communication within the Museum’s staff. I sat down to talk with Aaron about his position at the MMFA the morning after he coordinated a wonderful dinner for more than 300 guests held to celebrate Montgomery Medical Advocacy and Outreach and its 30 years of serving our community. The building was still buzzing with the excitement generated by this amazing occasion when we began our discussion.


October: A Month of Great Expectations at the MMFA!

All month long people expect to see creepy, crawly, ghostly, and ghoulishly delightful yet fun scenes. Here at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, we have a spooky treat of our own with the opening of Hans Grohs and the Dance of Death exhibition. This is just one of many ways we plan to celebrate the month of October. Check out the list of festivities below with you, our guests, in mind.


Start Your Fall Season off at the MMFA

Jazz music featuring local talent, arts and crafts, and a reception celebrating one of the most influential and important contemporary American Artists are just a few of the events visitors can expect this month.  As the seasons change we encourage you to take a moment to check out the artwork in our galleries and enjoy the activities created with you in mind. View the September calendar now.


Meet the New Faces of MMFA Education!

The Museum Education Department has welcomed four new team members in 2017. We have quickly become close colleagues and friends; it’s hard to believe they are so new to the Museum staff. I hope you will take the time to get to know the talented individuals who have recently joined fellow Educators Brandy Morrison, Meg Hall, Jill Byrd, and myself.

From left to right: Kaci Norman, Elisabeth Palmer, Laura Bocquin, and Kelly Bazan.


Ending Summer Vacation at the MMFA

Dinosaurs at the Museum, cool tours, and a romantic comedy are just a few of the upcoming artful attractions you can check out at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts this month. Take time out and use the MMFA events in August calendar as your guide to finishing the summer with a bang!


World Watercolor Month Project

July has been World Watercolor Month, so we wanted to share a step-by-step project that is easy to follow and fun to do! This project has only seven steps and was inspired by Frederick Warren Freer’s Boat on the Beach, a watercolor painting from 1892 that is a beautiful addition to the Museum’s collection of Freer’s artwork.  Anyone unfamiliar with basic watercolor techniques can find reference to those used in this project (Dark to Light/Feathering, Wet on Dry, and Wet on Wet) at the very end of this post.

We hope you enjoy creating your own watercolor painting, and please post your projects on Facebook and tag us with #MMFAWorldWatercolorMonth @MontgomeryMFA!


MMFA Director Retires After 23 Years

The Board of Trustees of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and Mark M. Johnson, Director of the Museum, announce his retirement effective August 15, 2017. Johnson served for 23 years, by far the longest tenure of any director in the Museum’s history.

Johnson is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and received a BA in art history/studio art from the University of Wisconsin, and an MA in art history/museum studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. He then joined the staff of the education department at the Art Institute of Chicago, and later worked as a curator of art history at the Cleveland Museum of Art, before accepting the position of Assistant Director at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Subsequently, he was named Director of the Muscarelle Museum at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.  He joined the staff of the MMFA as Director in August of 1994.

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is Alabama’s first art museum, founded in 1930. It is nationally recognized for its collections of American art, Old Master Prints, and regional works from the American South.

During Johnson’s tenure, the museum welcomed over 3 million visitors and acquired 1,700 works of art. Among the notable acquisitions were paintings by American masters including George Inness (1825–1894), Mary Cassatt (1844­–1926), Max Weber (1881­­–­1961), and Thomas Hart Benton (1889­–1975). He inaugurated the collection of American Studio Art Glass that now numbers more than 50 works. He also oversaw the growth of the Museum’s Old Master Print Collection and an expansion of the collection into traditional African art. The Museum undertook three major renovation or expansion projects during his tenure: the creation of the Weil Graphic Arts Study Center in honor of Adolph “Bucks” Weil Jr. in 1998, and the expansion of the education wing/ARTWORKS gallery and creation of the Margaret Berry Lowder Gallery in 2006. In 2014, the Museum broke ground for a sculpture garden presently under construction on the eastern side of the Museum.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees held June 27, 2017, the Board acknowledged Johnson’s long tenure and accomplishments, and accorded him the honorary title, Director Emeritus.

At a subsequent meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the Board announced the appointment of Edwin C. Bridges, Ph.D., as the Interim Director of the Museum. Dr. Bridges is the former Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, serving in that position from 1982 until his retirement in 2012. He has agreed to serve as Interim Director while the Museum’s Board of Trustees conducts a national search for a permanent director of the Museum.

Since his retirement, Dr. Bridges has continued to be involved in historical research and has completed a new general history of Alabama entitled Alabama: The Making of an American State, published in 2016 by the University of Alabama Press.  He has also been actively involved as a volunteer working for Alabama’s upcoming Bicentennial. Dr. Bridges comes to the Museum after a tremendous career as the well-respected director of one of Alabama’s most important historical organizations, and will be acting to insure a continuation of the Museum’s mission as well as a smooth transition for new leadership in the future.



Margaret Lynne Ausfeld
Curator of Art

Photograph of Ed Bridges courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery, Alabama.


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