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Dispatches from the Field: Walking (and Painting) to School

Friday, October 23, 2015:

Bike Walk Mississippi, the Jackson Mayors Office, and the Mississippi Museum of Art joined with Poindexter Elementary to celebrate Walk to School Day.

Photo by Arash Ghahramani

The day began with a walk to school when about fifty of Poindexter Elementary’s finest joined with Mayor Tony Yarber and Melody Thortis of Bike Walk Mississippi. They arrived at 8 AM in time to see Mississippi Museum of Art teaching artist daniel johnson getting down to work chalking the outlines for a mural they would complete later that day.

Photo by Arash Ghahramani

Over the next five hours, johnson and volunteers created a hard-edged abstract design of interweaving lines in the school colors of blue, gold and white. At 1 PM the students turned the white space running the length of the wall into a depiction of their neighborhood street.

Photo by Arash...

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Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by MMA

Marie Hull - Painting Flowers

Part of an ongoing series on Mississippi artist Marie Hull, showcased in this Fall and Winter’s celebratory exhibition, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull.

Marie Hull (1890-1980), Magnolias (detail), 1953. oil on canvas. Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, gift of the artist.

The floral still-life paintings of Marie Hull constitute a large and important component of her entire output; for many they continue to be the most easily recognizable (and most popular) of all her works. It seems likely she will forever be remembered as the most prolific painter of the magnolia, Mississippi’s state flower, and the sheer quantity of examples bears witness to the truth of her comment to Andrew Bucci that “painting magnolias saved my life” – by which she acknowledged there had always been an eager market for them. If they are occasionally boring it is because she was bored with painting them, out of necessity. But at their best the magnolias are magisterial: her sophisticated, mesmerizing drawings of them—preserved in her sketchbooks—demonstrate that she...

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Posted on Sunday, October 25, 2015 by MMA

Marie Hull - A Chance to See the World

Part of an ongoing series on Mississippi artist Marie Hull, showcased in this Fall and Winter’s celebratory exhibition, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull.

Marie Hull (1890-1980), U.S. Highway 80 in Arizona, graphite on paper. 16x10in. Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art. Bequest of the artist. 1981.279i_pp. 64-65

The Hulls did not remain long in Florida, apparently not more than one year. Nor were they content to “settle down” in Jackson and get on with a typical domestic life. Instead they took advantage of the better automobiles and better roads of the 1920s to see something of the vast country which was now linked from coast to coast by highways such as U.S. 80 (which stretched from Savannah to San Diego). They clearly made more than one long journey by car to the deserts and mountains of the West, and up the entire Pacific Coast from San Diego to Seattle. Everywhere they went Marie filled sketchbooks with drawings and watercolors of the landscape,...

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Posted on Sunday, October 18, 2015 by MMA

LaRita Smith’s Mississippi Meaning

Dozens of Mississippi artists, past and present, are represented in this year’s Art by Choice: Home Edition exhibition. The fundraiser benefits both the artists and the Museum. Work can be viewed now through the evening of October 29, when the public is invited to the main event sale and live auction.

LaRita Smith is 91 years young. Her paintings, like the one now hanging at the Museum in the Art by Choice: Home Edition exhibition, are vessels for stories far older than she. Home on the Railroad; Home on the River in 1871 (2015), a striking canvas tapestry, was sketched out and begun forty years ago. Smith’s reference material was an old 5x7 photograph, but the painterly sprawl soon eclipsed that narrow frame. As far as the artist is concerned, it isn’t – and likely will never be – finished. The history of her personal South that it contains is too stacked and intersecting to be fully contained. In the artwork, these stories are revealed, one begetting the next, the offspring of the past perpetually piercing the present in aesthetic...

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Posted on Friday, October 16, 2015 by MMA

Marie Hull - Birds of Paradise

Part of an ongoing series on Mississippi artist Marie Hull, showcased in this Fall and Winter’s celebratory exhibition, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull.

Marie Hull (1890-1980), Great Blue Heron, 1925. graphite on paper. Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art.

It was not until around 1920 that Marie Hull’s distinctive stylistic personality began to emerge. It had been a long gestation, for she turned 30 that year; during the 1910s she had been both a student and a teacher of art and most of what we can infer about her development is preserved in her sketchbook drawings. From the end of that decade, however, and the beginning of the next, there exist a few floral still lifes executed in a “divisionist” technique which can be described as Neo-Impressionist; they were most obviously influenced by French painter Paul Signac (1863-1935), whose work she would have seen in the Armory Show of 1913. Three relevant examples are included in the “Painting Flowers” section of this exhibition, while a landscape from 1924, rendered with the...

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Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2015 by MMA

Whole Schools Initiative at MMA

Teachers and administrators in the Mississippi Arts Commission Whole Schools program gathered in our BancorpSouth classroom on September 15 and 16 to share resources and learn about opportunities for the new year. Whole Schools Director Andrea Coleman led the training and had the entire group take an “art break” where our Director of Engagement and Learning daniel johnson led them in a printmaking project. Learn more about the Whole Schools Initiative at www.mswholeschools.org, and find current Museum resources for educators here.

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Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2015 by MMA

Scary Good Creepy Cuts with Chef Nick Wallace

Chef Wallace prepping ingredients for an elevated chicken liver dish.

This coming week, from October 15-17, the Museum embraces the chilling Halloween season, transforming the on-site restaurant for three-days-only to feature palate-pleasing comestible nightmares from the mind of Executive Chef and Culinary Curator Nick Wallace. Part of Wallace’s monthly ‘sipp Sourced pop up series – showcasing all-new menus sourcing product from Mississippi purveyors every third Thursday through third Saturday – October’s affair is themed “Scary Good Creepy Cuts.”

The final details of the menu are still coagulating, but planned are dishes highlighting some of the food world’s most humble – and often feared – ingredients. Wallace, whose culinary worldview is steeped both in his blue-collar rural upbringing and his classical training, is experimenting with dishes featuring chicken livers and gizzards, pig ears, pork cheeks, and turkey necks; “Oxtails from the Crypt” is an early crowd favorite. While some of these products are outcast from mainstream fare, Wallace resolves to elevate them to satisfy the most discerning of diners. He is also incorporating more approachable items with a Halloween twist, like “beet-blood” risotto that uses...

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Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 by MMA

Marie Hull - Formation of an Artist

Part of an ongoing series on Mississippi artist Marie Hull, showcased in this Fall and Winter’s celebratory exhibition, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull.

Self-Portrait, probably 1905/07. Private collection

When Marie Hull was born, in Summit, there was no art education in the public schools of Mississippi and indeed there would be none until she had graduated from high school in McComb (1908) and completed her study of music at Belhaven (1909). Like most children she obviously had the natural instinct to draw, and it seems that the first sketches (hardly more than doodles, to tell the truth) which have providentially survived are those in a French-language composition primer that she used during the school years 1905-06 and 1906-07, when she was enrolled at the Higbee School for Young Ladies in Memphis. Of more substance, executed with greater confidence and technical finesse, are the drawings of members of her immediate family, her younger siblings’ toys and pets, and perhaps of her unidentified classmates and friends which are preserved in...

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Posted on Sunday, October 4, 2015 by MMA

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