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Missoula, MT
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Missoula Art Museum
MAM
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Ken Little: Trophy Room
September 14 - December 28, 2019

Trophy Room is a fun exhibit featuring works by Texas artist and longtime friend of MAM Ken Little. The intimate Shott Gallery on MAM’s second floor is transformed into a curio collection of taxidermy animals. Little makes sculptures by piecing used leather products, dollar bills, and other found objects onto taxidermy forms to give new life to the traditionally stiff and lifeless animal trophy mount. His menagerie comprises coyotes, wild boars, a black bear, and multiple buck deer mounts, among others. Included in the show is Little’s very first taxidermy piece: a deer mount he found in a Missoula thrift store in 1979. He has continued to work with the series today, 40 years later! On the genesis of the ongoing works, Little explains:

“One day in the studio I was working on a rather weathered, old deer head mount that had been abused. The nose was rotted off, the eyes were missing, and the antlers were broken. I began to try to return it to some sort of grace or dignity, by rebuilding the eyes. I then ‘armored’ the whole thing in Lucky beer cans (for the hunters!). I repaired the antlers. And then, I started to use parts of an old leather shoe to replace the nose. AAH HA! I was returning the skin back to the animal; I was Dr. Frankenstein to this beast!”

To mount this exhibit, MAM borrowed most of the works from private collectors in Missoula. It is telling that there are so many artworks by a contemporary artist from San Antonio, Texas in local homes. Little came to Missoula in 1974 to teach ceramics at the University of Montana and stayed until 1980. The friendships created then have lasted a lifetime and made Missoula like a second home to Little.

Missoula is lucky to have such a fine collection of works by Little in the community, and the museum is grateful for the generosity and enthusiasm of all the lenders to the exhibit. Little is a steadfast supporter of MAM’s annual benefit art auction. Year after year, Little’s taxidermy animal heads are an ever-popular addition to the benefit, and many of the works in the exhibition were purchased from MAM’s art auctions. In fact, one of the works in this exhibit will be included in this year’s benefit art auction

From the Ground Up: The Postwar Craft Movement in Montana
September 14 - December 28, 2019

The next time you drop into MAM to enjoy a reception, attend a multimedia performance, or engage with new ideas at a panel discussion, consider the history that shapes your experience of contemporary art in Montana. Senior Curator Brandon Reintjes, at the invitation of Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, did just this as he researched the roots of modernist art in Montana for The Journal of Modern Craft, an international, peer-reviewed publication.

Reintjes dug into the ways in which a grassroots, nonprofit organization called the Montana Institute for the Arts (MIA) kindled a statewide revitalization of craft media, such as clay, fiber, metals, and wood, in the mid-20th century. Knit together by MIA activities and a quarterly publication, artists overcame Montana’s rugged geography and vast physical space to forge a new landscape for creative expression. Their generous personalities, friendships, and sense of experimentation would distinguish Montana modernism and create opportunities for art to flourish across the state. Local summer arts festivals were one way to connect. In fact, it was the success of the MIA-sponsored Missoula Festival of the Arts that led directly to the founding of the Missoula Museum of the Arts—today’s Missoula Art Museum—in 1975.

From the Ground Up showcases the work of founding and early MIA members, including Maxine Blackmer (Missoula), Henry & Peter Meloy (Helena), Bill Ohrmann (Drummond), Frances Senska (Bozeman), Branson Stevenson (Great Falls), Peter Voulkos (Helena), and others from across the state. Inspired by their spirit of collaboration, From the Ground Up draws not only from the MAM Collection, but also presents rare works from the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana and local private collections.

From the Ground Up: The Postwar Craft Movement in Montana
September 14 - December 28, 2019

The next time you drop into MAM to enjoy a reception, attend a multimedia performance, or engage with new ideas at a panel discussion, consider the history that shapes your experience of contemporary art in Montana. Senior Curator Brandon Reintjes, at the invitation of Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, did just this as he researched the roots of modernist art in Montana for The Journal of Modern Craft, an international, peer-reviewed publication.

Reintjes dug into the ways in which a grassroots, nonprofit organization called the Montana Institute for the Arts (MIA) kindled a statewide revitalization of craft media, such as clay, fiber, metals, and wood, in the mid-20th century. Knit together by MIA activities and a quarterly publication, artists overcame Montana’s rugged geography and vast physical space to forge a new landscape for creative expression. Their generous personalities, friendships, and sense of experimentation would distinguish Montana modernism and create opportunities for art to flourish across the state. Local summer arts festivals were one way to connect. In fact, it was the success of the MIA-sponsored Missoula Festival of the Arts that led directly to the founding of the Missoula Museum of the Arts—today’s Missoula Art Museum—in 1975.

From the Ground Up showcases the work of founding and early MIA members, including Maxine Blackmer (Missoula), Henry & Peter Meloy (Helena), Bill Ohrmann (Drummond), Frances Senska (Bozeman), Branson Stevenson (Great Falls), Peter Voulkos (Helena), and others from across the state. Inspired by their spirit of collaboration, From the Ground Up draws not only from the MAM Collection, but also presents rare works from the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana and local private collections.

BORDER CANTOS | SONIC BORDER RICHARD MISRACH | GUILLERMO
May 28 - September 21, 2019

This exhibition is a multisensory experience featuring 10 large-scale photographs by Richard Misrach and eight sculptures accompanied by a sound composition created by experimental composer Guillermo Galindo about the zone surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. The borderlands are home to more than 80 million people in four United States and six Mexican states and extend nearly 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The bulk of United States-Mexico trade ($3.8 trillion combined annual GDP) as well as illicit trade, passes through its many borders. Misrach, who has photographed the border since 2004, documents landscapes and objects, including things left behind by migrants. Responding to these photographs, Galindo fashions instruments, and unique sound-generating devices, and composes graphic musical scores, many of which use Misrach’s photographs as points of departure.

Misrach and Galindo create work that reports on and transforms the artifacts of migration: water bottles, clothing, backpacks, Border Patrol “drag tires,” spent shotgun shells, ladders, and sections of the border wall itself. This exhibition examines issues surrounding dislocation and forced migration and investigates political versus cultural boundaries and human rights.

Border Cantos | Sonic Borders is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art with generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges.

HARD EDGE/SOFT GROUND: ACCESS AND POWER IN THE MAM COLLECTIONS
Through September 07, 2019

Where is home? What is freedom? Who decides? With debates erupting daily in volatile national conversations, MAM invites you to uncover new insights in the work of collection artists. These visionaries—hailing from as close as Missoula and the Flathead Reservation to as far away as Sweden and Kenya— are inventors and storytellers, guardians and explorers. They ask vital questions about ourselves and our world through challenging narratives and subtle abstraction, often referring to borders, migrations, and transgressions. Their voices, preserved over decades through the MAM Collection, form a chorus that ranges from humorous to critical but is always thoughtful. Through these many doors, Hard Edge/Soft Ground explores what it means to be at the border of access and power.

JOHN HITCHCOCK: BURY THE HATCHET/PRAYER FOR MY P'AH-BE
Through September 14, 2019

Bury the Hatchet is Comanche/Kiowa/German/Dutch artist John Hitchcock’s mixed-media, cross-disciplinary, multisensory installation. The exhibition is based on the American Frontier and plays off the theme of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. The variety of elements that form the exhibition were inspired by Hitchcock’s research while he was artist-in-residence at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. He says, “The new artworks will challenge historical perspectives by reframing history and asking new questions about the idea of the Wild West show and the importance of the American Indian objects collected by Buffalo Bill.” Hitchcock’s reinterpretation of Buffalo Bill Cody’s traveling show explores assimilation, acculturation, and the colonial indoctrination of indigenous people through sound, video performance, and screen prints.

The installation features a sound stage, neon sculptures, and the work from the print series, Flatlander. The iconic buffalo skull form in glowing neon accentuates the romanticized views of the Wild West while acting as a metaphor for marketing and selling cultural artifacts. Hitchcock regularly uses images of the buffalo and other wildlife as symbols and references in his print work. The Flatlander series includes 40 screen prints that Hitchcock created with MATRIX Press, University of Montana in 2017. Throughout the installation, a sound recording intertwines storytelling and Kiowa and Comanche songs with soundscapes that include cello, clarinet, accordion, and guitars by

Hitchcock and the band, Nate Meng and the Stolen Sea. At the exhibition’s opening reception, Hitchcock and the band will perform live. The visual and sound recordings in the exhibition work together to challenge Western perspectives of the supremacy of the written word by reinforcing indigenous views of oral history passed on from generation to generation through storytelling.

Hitchcock is a professor of printmaking and associate dean for the arts, School of Education at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. MAM worked with him in 2017 and 2018 as one of four indigenous artists who participated in the multiyear collaboration with MATRIX Press that ended with the group exhibition The Shape of Things, New Approaches to Indigenous Abstraction. MAM is honored that he chose to debut his ambitious new installation in the Lynda M. Frost Contemporary American Indian Art Gallery. The exhibition has an accompanying limited edition12-inch vinyl album, CD, and set of letterpress prints available through Sunday Night records. This John Hitchcock project is made possible with generous support from the Cultural Vision Fund.

CLARICE DREYER: IN THE GARDEN
Through October 05, 2019

MAM is proud to present another great Montana sculptor this summer in the Missoula Art Park: Clarice Dreyer. Despite numerous awards and accolades, Dreyer has never had an outdoor solo exhibit of her cast sculptures in her home state, and MAM is pleased to now have a dedicated exterior gallery designed by a landscape architect for art to showcase this exceptional work. Dreyer is an artist who creates paintings, prints, and sculpture in cast bronze and aluminum that emulate natural forms, systems, and phenomenon.

Dreyer is a lover of nature, birds, and flowers, and her works seemingly insist on a garden setting. Her human-scale pieces are both intricate and strong, evoking an imaginary fairytale world and suggesting utility at the same time. She says, “My work incorporates the mysteries of nature, elements of my own memory, and excerpts from rural life to create a metaphor for ordinary life as an aesthetic and spiritual existence. It is this feeling of harmony between humankind and nature that gives life and vision to my art.”

Born and raised in Missoula until age 12, she now lives in Bozeman where she and her husband, painter Steve Kelly, ran Botanica, a contemporary art space that specialized in cutting-edge floral arrangements. Dreyer received her BFA from MSU in Bozeman, and her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has completed several public art commissions, exhibited extensively across the country, and is represented in numerous public and private collections. She is the past recipient of the NEA fellowship grant in 1982, 1984, and 1990, and has received numerous other awards. This exhibition includes loans from the Holter Museum of Art, Yellowstone Art Museum, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, private lenders, and the artist. Sponsored by Caras Nursery & Landscape and the Flower Bed.

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