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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Muskegon Museum of Art Readies For It's Largest Undertaking Ever in 2017 - Dave Alexander Has the Story

MUSKEGON – 2017 will be a special year for the Muskegon Museum of Art, downtown Muskegon, West Michigan and beyond.
Muskegon’s outstanding art museum – one of the key foundations for downtown’s arts and cultural draw – will present a Native America photographic exhibition of national significance.

The North American Indian photographed by the renowned Edward S. Curtis is the most ambitious undertaking in the MMA’s 104-year history. It is an exhibition of 723 photoengraves that incredibly come out of the museum’s own collection. 
Curtis Portrait

The Curtis exhibition will dominate the MMA in 2017 and will be a regional and national draw for those who admire photographic art and are in awe of the American Indian story of the early 20th Century as told through Curtis’ lens. The North American Indian will run from May 11, 2017 to Sept. 10 and will include a bevy of community events to celebrate this historic exhibit that has been in the planning stages for more than two years.

This is believed to be the first time that all 723 Curtis images in the 20-volume North American Indian portfolio will be shown at one time. Curtis, a Seattle-based photographer at the turn of the last century, garnered the support of such leaders as Teddy Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan to capture the portraits, landscapes, lifestyles and rituals of the native tribes west of the Mississippi River from 1908 to 1930.

Sioux Mother and Child
So how is Muskegon so intimately involved in the Curtis photographic collection? It was all set in motion by Lulu Miller, a librarian at Hackley Library when Curtis offered subscriptions of The North American Indian.

Miller purchased subscription No. 70 of about 220 and received the bound writings of Curtis’ adventure each year along with the packet of photos that now will make up the exhibit. Several of the photos have been put on display over the decades as they have become part of the permanent collection of the MMA, but never have they all been presented at once.
The public engagements will be highlighted by a community reading of the Curtis biography “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher,” by the New York Times best seller by Timothy Egan. The author will be in Muskegon May 17, 2017 to discuss his research of Curtis and the stories behind the amazing photographic project. 

Kutenai Duck Hunter

The North American Indian exhibit is a quarter of a million dollar undertaking by the MMA. The initial underwriters are local corporate and philanthropic stalwarts such as the Hines Corp., Nichols, Hooker DeJong Architects, Community Foundation for Muskegon County and the Hilt Foundation. Other contributors are Jon and Jane Blyth, Jan and Chris Deur, Deborah Devoursney, Frank and Sue Bednarek and Muskegon County government.

2017 is going to be a special year in Muskegon. The Muskegon Museum of Art is making sure of it.

Visit the Muskegon Museum of Art online at the link below.

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