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items tagged with Figge Art Museum

Short on Legends, Loaded with Innovation: “Innovators & Legends,” through September 7 at the Figge
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Reviews

2014-07-22 01:48:58

'Soundsuit's by Nick Cave

It is as if a Jimi Hendrix concert outfit collided and merged with great-grandma’s doily and potholder collection in the 2009 Soundsuit by Nick Cave, part of the exhibition Innovators & Legends: Generations in Textiles & Fiber that runs through September 7 at the Figge Art Museum.

Cave’s 97-inch-tall soundsuits enclose the head and are made to be danced in, akin to African practices where the body is completely covered with an outfit. When traditionally “danced,” an African ensemble imbues the wearer with its particular spiritual power. For full effect, Cave’s suits need his performance energy and musical accompaniment.

Yet his suits alone are still imposing in size and detail. On the front of this suit at the Figge is a colorful, kaleidoscopic array of salvaged homemade crocheted and knitted goods, the kind that lovingly protected modest American tabletops. The back of the suit presents an opulent spectacle of sequined and beaded floral designs in gold, silver, and jewel colors that visually spin and pop. All of the components are unified by a common shimmering black-beaded and -sequined background.

The Figge’s newsletter notes that the traveling exhibition, organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art, includes more than 50 artists who explore the technical possibilities in fabric, thread, fiber, and yarn.

The exhibition title perhaps overreached the capacity of a single undertaking. To feature the “legendary” protagonists who, beginning in the mid-1950s, rapidly moved traditional fiber “craft” to “fine art” would require a linear tracing of their progress and profound change. The earliest pieces in this presentation date to the mid-1980s.

Nonetheless, the included works – mostly dating from the past 10 years – are accomplished and innovative in their technical mastery, surprising breadth of materials, and strength of statement.


Read More About Short On Legends, Loaded With Innovation: “Innovators & Legends,” Through September 7 At The Figge...


Elegant Amusement: Terry Rathje’s “Questionable Architecture,” at the Figge through August 25
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Reviews

2013-07-24 14:32:29

'Ophidian,' by Terry Rathje

Tree house, snow fort, doll house, sand castle – most of us enjoyed playing with some kind of architecture as a child. The exhibition Questionable Architecture, by Terry Rathje in collaboration with Steve Banks and Monica Correia, unleashes a whiff of that joy for viewers with fanciful structures that appeal as sophisticated art forms.

The exhibition – running through August 25 – is located in the fourth-floor gallery of the Figge Art Museum, and a transitional experience is suggested by the lattice-passageway entrance, constructed with loosely assembled wood slats arcing above that recall youthful explorations in building. Nearly a dozen structures are in place that you walk around in the conventional way, but you also walk into and through some of the works. Materials range from a pagoda constructed of found objects to a tunnel of foam planks trussed together with bamboo skewers.


Read More About Elegant Amusement: Terry Rathje’S “Questionable Architecture,” At The Figge Through August 25...


Graffiti Art at the Figge
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2013-06-06 14:04:54

Photo by Bruce Walters

On May 30, a 48-foot stretch of panels was set up on a row of easels for Kevin McQueen Lonergan II and Gary White to paint a graffiti-style aerosol-art mural on the Figge Art Museum’s plaza. Interrupted daily by rain and wind over the course of the following week, the images and lettering of the mural were developed, painted out, rethought, and painted again in a roller coaster of creativity.

According to Lynn Gingras-Taylor, creative-arts coordinator for the Figge, “Kevin and Gary are recognized internationally as premier artists in their genre. They have been making aerosol art for more than 30 years.”

She added: “The mural they have painted at the Figge is a wonderful, colorful mix of a painterly mural style and cutting-edge graffiti fonts. ... [W]e will exhibit it at the museum and will also display it at various Figge family events.”

The artists continue to participate in street-art events across the nation; the next is Paint Louis on June 21 in St. Louis.


Read More About Graffiti Art At The Figge...


A Comfortable Place for Dialogues: The Figge’s New Executive Director Outlines a Modest but Tangible Vision
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2013-01-30 11:51:38

Tim SchifferIf you’re looking for excitement from Tim Schiffer – the Figge Art Museum executive director who started on August 1 – don’t talk to him. Instead, just look at the walls.

In our interview on January 25, the soft-spoken Schiffer articulated a modest plan for the Figge, but one that visitors will be able to see for themselves in “clusters” of exhibits that play off each other.

Schiffer’s predecessor, Sean O’Harrow – who left after three years at the Figge to head the University of Iowa Museum of Art in November 2010 – believed that the Figge needed to emphasize education above all else (including being an art museum) and that the endowment needed to be built from $5 million to somewhere between $20 million and $50 million.

Because the process of developing a strategic plan for the Figge is just getting underway, the new executive director didn’t offer measurable goals in those areas. But Schiffer – who had been executive director of California’s Museum of Ventura County since 1999 – has already put his stamp on the museum in a different way.


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Connecting the Dots: “Waxing Poetic: Exploring Expression in Art,” through October 7 at the Figge Art Museum
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Reviews

2012-07-18 16:13:31

Marlene Miller, 'Girl 1'A museum patron expects to find informative signage near an artwork., including biographical information about the artist, a description of the piece’s historical context, or critical acclaim. Instead, the placard near the Marlene Miller sculpture Girl 1 – currently on display in the Figge Art Museum’s Waxing Poetic show – reads: “what gestates in the roots unseen / reveals herself as tall on the inside / grown whole-sprung from a trunk / full of well manners & bluest eyes / puzzled by where she comes from.”

This pairing of a visual work with a poem highlights how we assign meaning to art. In his words, Ryan Collins captures the literal appearance of the work– referencing the tree trunk, the girl’s intensely blue eyes, and her polite but befuddled posture and expression.

But it also reads the sculpture. “Grown whole-sprung” and “tall on the inside” refer to the aged and androgynous face, contrasted with the child’s body: The texture of the head is chunky and scratchy, as opposed to the smoothness of the body. Collins imagines the sudden appearance of this creature, enhancing our view of it without dictating a specific interpretation.

The exhibit – running through October 7 – is less about the artworks as stand-alone objects than about the process of inferring meaning. In addition to artworks matched with poetry in specific response to them, viewers are invited to create their own written reactions. At the center of the exhibit is a writing table with pens and paper, and under each work is a hanging packet of collected visitor responses. The technologically inclined are prompted to Tweet their responses to designated hashtags.


Read More About Connecting The Dots: “Waxing Poetic: Exploring Expression In Art,” Through October 7 At The Figge Art Museum...





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