GLENN LIGON, “Condition Report,” 2000

 

THE MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF ART in Jackson, Miss., is encouraging constructive conversations about racial equity through contemporary art. A slate of new acquisitions, including works by African American artists Glenn Ligon, Benny Andrews (1930-2006), and McArthur Binion, a native of Macon, Miss., supports the museum’s commitment to engaging the people of Mississippi in art-based dialogues examining local, state, and national issues.

The acquisitions are advancing the mission of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE), a new museum initiative driven by a belief in the power of art to change lives. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CAPE uses art, exhibitions, programs, and engagements with artists to broaden knowledge and understanding of the brutal history of race in America and its profound influence on contemporary society.

With select works already on view in current exhibitions, the new acquisitions will factor in CAPE programming and be central to the reinstallation of the Mississippi Museum of Art’s permanent collection galleries, which will debut in 2019.

“Bringing these remarkable acquisitions into the permanent collection allows us to further mine the historical and contemporary issues that affect us as both Mississippians and members of a global society. Museums have become sites for critical and honest discourse surrounding race, history, and socioeconomics, and one way we hope to encourage that openness is by connecting local narratives to these objects, which carry weight in much broader contexts,” Elizabeth Abston, curator of the museum’s Collection, said in a statement.

“By encouraging our visitors to become part of the interpretive process and create connections through works of art, our hope is that with the reinstallation of the permanent collection and the addition of these exciting new acquisitions, the visitor experience will become an active, participatory one.”

“Museums have become sites for critical and honest discourse surrounding race, history, and socioeconomics, and one way we hope to encourage that openness is by connecting local narratives to these objects, which carry weight in much broader contexts.” — Curator Elizabeth Abston


BENNY ANDREWS (1930-2006), “Mississippi River Bank (Trail of Tears Series),” 2005 (oil on canvas with painted fabric collage, 70 x 50 ½ inches). | Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Museum purchase with W.K. Kellogg Foundation funds for the Center for Art & Public Exchange. 2018.005. © 2018 Estate of Benny Andrews/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York

 

FUNDS FOR THE ACQUISITIONS were provided by the Kellogg Foundation, the Collector’s Club Fund, the Franks Fund, the Hederman Fund, and the Gallery Guild. Works by Andrews, Binion, Ligon, Jeffrey Gibson, Titus Kaphar, Deborah Luster, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Noah Saterstrom, and Hank Willis Thomas are entering the museum’s collection.

The Mississippi museum is pursuing a pioneering mandate. The language it is using to describe its curatorial approach is striking and should serve as a model for peer institutions dedicated to collecting insightful work by politically and culturally astute contemporary artists addressing substantive social issues.

“It is not enough for museums to simply recognize societal inequities and gaps in representation,” said Julian Rankin, managing director of CAPE.

“Acquiring thought-provoking artworks, employing them in accessible and innovative programming, and involving communities in the thinking and decision-making of the institution are all components of what responsible museum stewardship looks like in contemporary life.” CT

 

BOOKSHELF
“Glenn Ligon: AMERICA” documents the artist’s 25-year survey organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. “Hank Willis Thomas: Pitch Blackness” is the artist’s first monograph. With essays by curator Lowery Stokes Sims and Congressman John Lewis, “Benny Andrews: There Must Be a Heaven,” complements a 2013 survey exhibition at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. Published in 2015, McArthur Binion’s first monograph, “McArthur Binion: Re:Mine,” features an essay by Lowery Stokes Sims and an interview with the artist by curator Franklin Sirmans.

 

TOP IMAGE: GLENN LIGON, “Condition Report,” 2000 (iris print and Iris print with serigraph, 2 parts. Edition of 20, Each: 31 7/8 x 22 5/8 inches). | Museum purchase with funds from the Brown Fund (acquisition in progress from Luhring Augustine, New York). © Glenn Ligon; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London. 2018.010

 


MCARTHUR BINION, “DNA: Black Painting: IV,” 2015 (oil paint stick, graphite, and paper on board. 84 x 84 inches). | Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Museum purchase with W.K. Kellogg Foundation funds for the Center for Art & Public Exchange. 2018.004. © 2018 McArthur Binion; Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

 


TITUS KAPHAR, “Darker Than Cotton,” 2017 (oil on canvas, 63 x 36 inches. | Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of Gallery Guild. 2018.008. © 2018 Titus Kaphar; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

 


HANK WILLIS THOMAS, “Flying Geese,” 2012 (mounted digital c-prints and stained African mahogany, Edition 3 of 3). | Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Museum purchase with W.K. Kellogg Foundation funds for the Center for Art & Public Exchange. 2017.096. © 2018 Hank Willis Thomas; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

 

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