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Meet Max, the Modern Machine

​For the longest time, Max was nameless, naught but another ubiquitous white cargo van traveling to and fro, here and there, treading the same old roads.

But one day, Max discovered modern art. He became captivated by Pollock’s twisting cosmos of paint. Rothko and O’Keeffe moved him. de Kooning jolted him. Calder delighted him. Most of all, Max was overcome with an urge to become something new, to break free from outside conventions and preconceptions just like the artists had.

He got a new style. He no longer was lost in the crowd. He was unique. And he decided that he wanted to travel new roads. He recruited two Museum staffers to accompany him on his quest to find the stories of how Mississippians innovate and trail blaze and explore. Max dares to differ. Do you?

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Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 by MMA

Modern Chat

By Guest Contributor Shalina Chatlani, Jackson, MS native and Junior at Georgetown University

Freshman year of college is characterized by awkward two-minute conversations, concerns of identity, and sentiments of being overwhelmed. Meeting new people is often a struggle, particularly when the most common question asked is “where are you from?”—a seemingly innocent inquiry that could actually make a person feel fairly uncomfortable. Having lived in Washington, D.C. now for nearly three years, I’ve become accustomed to the same old responses, even from my closest friends at a liberal college, on my being from Jackson, Mississippi. Those responses include, “Jesus, it must be terrible there!”; “Oh my god, isn’t it so racist?”; “Oh, the state with the worst education.”

Sitting now in a lazy leather chair at my favorite coffee shop, a 1960’s themed space, peppered with Warhol-esque pop art of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and B.B. King, I could say with relative ease, “Well, I don’t mind it.” The truth is that Mississippi does have a host of issues. There are still huge problems with...

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Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by MMA

Modern Kicks

​Sure, there are those old notions about how folks in Mississippi don’t wear shoes. And then there’s the modern Mississippi sneaker. Classic, meet contemporary.

These shoes were painted by Mississippi artists for one of the Museum’s Third Thursday Museum After Hours pop up exhibitions.

Artist: Ginger Williams-Cook

Artist: Tony Davenport

Artist: Tony DiFatta

Artist: Adrienne Domnick

Artist: Jessica Maffia

Artist: William Dunlap

Artist: William Goodman

Artist: Krystal...

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Posted on Monday, March 21, 2016 by MMA

The Brit Abroad: Mapping a Modern Mississippi

This series, ‘The Brit Abroad’, is authored by Anik Kurkjian, our in-house native Brit who is currently working with the Museum. Enjoy the turns of phrase, outsider thoughts, and alternate syntax and spelling from across the pond!

No. 1 Mid March: Looking forward to your nominations

by Anik Kurkjian

I am honoured to have been asked to write a blog by my co-conspirator, Julian Rankin, of <Mapping a Modern Mississippi> here at Mississippi Museum of Art. Blogging as an English expat about a country that isn’t mine, in a state that I could never possibly understand,feels slightly wrong – I feel I have no right to an opinion. Although that may be, I have come to realise that, with my ignorance, is a unique perspective attached to it, which only an outsider can have – one that is untainted by the past of a place (N.B. not ignorant). One could argue that I may see Mississippi through pink tinted spectacles....

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Posted on Saturday, March 19, 2016 by MMA

New Thinking About the Modern Delta

This story is part of the Mapping a Modern Mississippi Initiative.

“We had more … to share than just cotton fields.”

Bill Crump - Chairman, Greenwood-Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation

“There are probably more good stories in Mississippi than any other state in the union, and we need to be about the business of telling them.”

Allan Hammons - President, Hammons and Associates, Greenwood

“The thing that I think we should do in the delta particularly is to just look at ourselves as a communities and find out what makes us unique people are drawn to the authentic.

“Mississippi is an amazing place. And we have a wealth of culture. I just think it’s time that we gather it all up and get with it and show it to the world.”

Carol Daily - Viking Hospitality Group

Video originally published by the Mississippi Creative Economy.

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Posted on Monday, March 14, 2016 by MMA

Playing Possum with Tattoo Artist Matt Stebly

​Artist Matt Stebly, owner of Twisted Anchor Tattoo in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is known both throughout and beyond the state for his and his team’s work with ink and needle. And while there still is a chasm - albeit a shrinking one - between the public perception of tattoos and that of fine art, Stebly’s work, and his lineage, bring those disparate conversations ever closer. Not only do his designs find themselves equally at home on skin or canvas (evidenced by the paintings in his shop - which he does with tattoo ink - and the numerous posters that bear his layouts - four years running for the Biloxi Seafood Festival), but he can also trace his artistic path back to a family of artists that preceded him, which includes the celebrated Walter Anderson, who was Stebly’s great-grandfather. (The Anderson family circuitry accounts for an immense creative sprawl on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; see: Shearwater Pottery, Chris Stebly, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.)

detail of Walter Anderson heron...

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Posted on Sunday, March 13, 2016 by MMA

Introducing a Modern Mississippi

By Julian Rankin

I’d like to tell you about an idea we had called Mapping a Modern Mississippi. But where to start? Let’s look to perhaps the most obvious source of Mississippi wisdom, William Faulkner, who was a modern thinker and doer in his own right. He pioneered his own distinct literary form in the mid 20th century just as the country’s visual artists were breaking new ground in the era of American Modernism. “I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about,” Faulkner often tells us, “and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.”

(That quote, in fact, adorns the walls in the galleries of The Mississippi Story, the Museum’s ongoing - and free - exhibition of art from the permanent collection.)

So in Faulkner fashion, we’ll start with ourselves at the Museum. The nation for the Mapping a Modern Mississippi project is in many ways not new at all. People have long been fascinated with Mississippi’s wellspring of cultural...

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Posted on Friday, March 4, 2016 by MMA

Hack the Museum

Photo from MuseumHack.com.

Last weekend, two Museum staffers traveled to New York City for a three day intensive boot camp with Museum Hack, a company whose calling card is irreverent tours at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What began with rogue tours of the museum has now grown into a respected - although still playful and avant garde - leader in engaging museum experiences. Museum Hack also now regularly provides tours of the nearby American Museum of Natural History, just across Central Park from The Met, and has expanded to Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

Julian Rankin with Museum Hack’s Dustin Growick.

At the boot camp, Director of Engagement and Learning daniel johnson and Marketing Director Julian Rankin experienced the tours firsthand. Who knew that Jackie Kennedy played an instrumental role in acquiring and preserving the complete Egyptian Temple of Dendur? The massive structure is housed inside The Met, surrounded by a canal representing the Nile River, flanked by a wall of clear glass that makes it...

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Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 by MMA