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Oxford Included in Mapping a Modern Mississippi Initiative

Oxford is pleased to be a part of Mapping a Modern Mississippi, a statewide grassroots storytelling and community-building initiative organized by the Mississippi Museum of Art that highlights the best and brightest across all sectors of Mississippi life, business, and creative economy.

Director of Visit Oxford, Mary Allyn Hedges
Director of Visit Oxford, Mary Allyn Hedges

Director of Visit Oxford, Mary Allyn Hedges, said, “I believe Oxford is a great fit for a project like this. We are excited about the partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Art and felt it was the perfect addition to the event we are already partnering with Thacker Mountain Radio and Visit Mississippi. Thacker Mountain Radio really embodies all Oxford is know for including our rich literary, artistic and musical heritage which really fits into the mission of Mapping a Modern Mississippi.”

Mapping a Modern Mississippi takes its inspiration from the Museum’s upcoming unprecedented exhibitions of modern art, which features groundbreaking work by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mark Rothko, and more than fifty others. The work of these iconic 20th century artists will be on view together in the state for the very first time from April 9 – October 30, 2016 in When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection, the Museum’s fifteenth presentation in The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series.

These iconic artists of American modernism ignited an aesthetic revolution in the post-war decades that changed the art world forever. In short, they dared to differ. The Museum is embracing the modern ethos of risk-taking and innovation embodied by these artists of the past and applying it to a contemporary Mississippi, finding and mapping the people and places all across the state who are themselves contributing their creativity, vision, and fearless entrepreneurship to the formation of Mississippi’s future.

“We at the Museum are perpetually in awe of the drive and passion of creative Mississippians,” said Julian Rankin of the Mississippi Museum of Art. “As we prepared to welcome the work of these legendary modern artists, we were inspired to celebrate our own great contemporary innovators, experimenters, and trailblazers.”

Visit Oxford is partnering with Thacker Mountain Radio and Visit Mississippi to host a special edition of the live radio show on Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre. In addition, Mapping a Modern Mississippi will be there conducting interviews from modern Mississippians plus Max the Modern Machine van will be parked in front of the Lyric.


Mapping a Modern Mississippi

Mapping a Modern Mississippi has its virtual home on the Museum’s website at www.msmuseumart.org. There, users both discover the stories of state and explore an interactive map of modern places, as well as nominate other sites and people and submit their own stories of daring to differ. Through photographs, video, and narrative, the modern pulse of Mississippi – embodied by its creative people – is celebrated and articulated. The stories of musicians and chefs are told alongside those of visionary CEOs and Mississippi rappers and urban farmers and small business owners.

Meet Max, the Modern Machine
Meet Max, the Modern Machine

Previously existing stories and information from folklorists and documentarians and historians is honored and shared under the Modern Mississippi umbrella, supplemented with new and untold stories produced by the Museum. The bulk of the stories, however, come not from the direct efforts of the Museum, but from individuals in cities, towns, and regions across Mississippi, who have the most authentic perspective on how their local heroes and heroines defy expectations and make the state inimitable and unique. Businesses, organizations, and places who are nominated by the public will be virtually mapped and promoted on the online platform, becoming part of a self-guided tour through Mississippi’s crowd-sourced collection of cool and unique locations. These modern Mississippi communities are encouraged to embrace their modern designation and partner with the Museum to further the conversation about Mississippi excellence.

While the Initiative’s interactive platform and archive is housed online, the interactions and story-gathering also occur in physical space – on Mississippi main streets, at farmer’s markets and festivals, on lonely country roads. Facilitating this field work are Museum staffers who will be touring the state at various times over the next seven months, transported in a redecorated and rejuvenated late-model GMC van dubbed Max the Modern Machine. On these excursions, Museum story-collectors will be further engaging communities and encouraging the statewide conversation about Mississippi’s thriving cultural and creative ecology.


Exhibition Overview

Drawing from the collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art, When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection surveys the development of modern art in the U.S., from representational modes in the early years of the twentieth century through the Abstract Expressionist revolution at mid-century.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George by Early Moonrise (1930)

The exhibition begins with works by artists who built upon European precedents, including paintings such as Max Weber’s La Parisienne (1907), with sinuous lines inspired by Matisse, and Joseph Stella’s Gas Tank, Pittsburgh (American Landscape) (1918), which freely samples from Cubism and Futurism to depict the vibrancy of an American city. Georgia O’Keeffe, in her Lake George by Early Moonrise (1930), and Arthur Dove, exploring shape and color in his Holbrook’s Bridge to the Northwest (1938), are inspired by organic forms in the American landscape, while industry is celebrated in paintings such as Ralston Crawford’s At the Dock (1941) and Charles Sheeler’s The Web (1955), a conceptual view of industrial structures. The collection’s masterworks of Abstract Expressionism include Jackson Pollock’s Number 8, 1949, an exemplary “drip” painting, and Willem de Kooning’s Marilyn Monroe (1954), the only named figure in the artist’s groundbreaking Woman series.

Forrest Bess' Before Man (1952-1953)
Forrest Bess’ Before Man (1952-1953)

Neuberger selected each work for the collection himself, taking artists and artworks on their individual merits, a fact evidenced by the notable diversity of the artists he supported. Works by exceptional masters such as Marsden Hartley, represented by the iconic Fishermen’s Last Supper, Nova Scotia (1940–41), and Horace Pippin, represented by a classic Cabin in the Cotton (1944), as well as significant sculptures by Harry Bertoia, Alexander Calder, David Smith, and others, are among numerous highlights.

When Modern Was Contemporary also exhibits rarely seen archival material, including contributions made by artists to albums presented to Neuberger for his fiftieth and seventy-fifth birthdays and original receipts for purchases of artworks, offering unique views into the development of the collection, the artist-patron relationship, and the workings of the art world.

Helen Frankenthaler's Mount Sinai (1956)
Helen Frankenthaler’s Mount Sinai (1956)

Following the presentation at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, the exhibition travels to the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, (December 2, 2016–January 29, 2017); Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, (February 26–May 21, 2017); Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, New Mexico, (September 30–December 31, 2017).

The exhibition will be highlighted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #Neuberger and during its run in Mississippi with #BeModernMS.

Courtesy Neuberger Museum of Art
Courtesy Neuberger Museum of Art

About the Curator

Tracy Fitzpatrick is director of the Neuberger Museum of Art and an Associate Professor of Art History at Purchase College, SUNY.  She is responsible for the Museum’s first in-depth study of the Roy R. Neuberger collection.  Fitzpatrick has written, curated, and taught widely on American art of the twentieth century.

The fully illustrated publication is the first comprehensive catalogue of the Roy R. Neuberger collection. Both a companion to the exhibition and a valuable resource for scholars, it includes an essay by Tracy Fitzpatrick, large illustrations and detailed scholarly entries for works in the exhibition, and a selected checklist of the Neuberger Collection. An illustrated brochure offering visitors an overview of the exhibition, published by the American Federation of Arts, will also be available.


The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY.

Neuberger Berman is the national tour sponsor of When Modern Was Contemporary. Additional support is provided by the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. In-kind support is provided by Christie’s. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Generous support for the original presentation and the accompanying catalogue was provided by Helen Stambler Neuberger and Jim Neuberger. Sotheby’s has provided in-kind support to the Neuberger Museum.

This presentation made possible through the generous support of: the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation and Trustmark. Additional support is provided by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Mississippi Media, the city of Jackson, the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Mississippi Arts Commission.

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s mission is to “engage Mississippians in the visual arts.” The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art’s exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit www.msmuseumart.org.

The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

All artistic pictures from the Mississippi Museum of Art’s website: www.msmuseumart.org.

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