TRAVERSE CITY — The Dennos Museum in Traverse City will host two exhibits this summer focusing on the Black experience in America, including the work of an artist who lives in town.
He partnered with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts to mount the “Resilience” exhibit, which features several African-American artists like Elizabeth Catlett and Romare Bearden.
This will be shown alongside works by local artist Rufus Snoddy and his ‘Disappearing Man’ series to complete five new art exhibitions this summer at Dennos.
“It deals with a lot of these same kinds of stories and narratives based on his personal life, but also what’s happening in the social and socio-political world around us today,” said Jason Dake, deputy director of museum programs at Northwestern Michigan College. and learning.
Dake said a few exhibits have been in the works for a while, particularly “Resilience,” but others are new additions to the schedule.
The Dennos welcomed Snoddy, an artist from Los Angeles and Texas who now has his studios in Traverse City, back in the fall in a series of virtual zoom chats with local artists.
Snoddy hosted a talk and talked a lot about his new series, “Disappearing Man.”
“When we told him about this body of work, it sounded like something we might want to host,” Dake said. “So at first we just said, ‘Hey, we’d like to see this soon as an exhibition. What is your timeline on this? »
He said Snoddy’s paintings have a sculptural quality.
“They hang on the wall, but they’re really sculptural pieces and they’re shaped canvases and things like that,” Dake said. “It’s not just your average square or rectangular painting guy.”
An exhibition with Tom Parrish, “An American in Venice”, will feature major paintings from the artist’s time in Venice.
Dake said Parrish’s exhibit came from a connection with former museum director Eugene Jenneman. Parrish died in 2018, but he and his wife were friends of the museum and of Jenneman.
Most of Parrish’s works are between 5 and 6 feet tall.
“Inspired by the shimmering canals and architectural beauty of Italy’s Serenissima (the ancient serene), his stylized realistic paintings are constructed from blocks of rugged modernist color,” reads a description. “The shimmer of flowing water, the depths of captivating linear views, and the classicism of craftsmanship are core elements of Parish’s timeless imagery.”
Russell Prather’s exhibition, “And the Heart Is Glad With One Thing After Another” is a mixture of two-dimensional and three-dimensional images in what is mostly an abstract form.
In the description of Prather’s art, the museum stated that the artist uses layers with transparent and translucent supports.
“He creates these layers using both additive and subtractive methods: painting a tinted acrylic medium onto sheets of clear polyester film or cutting shapes from screen sheets of other materials,” a description reads. “He then lines these layers up on metal rods and suspends them from the ceiling, or stretches them over aluminum screen frames that he mounts on light boxes that rest on the floor.”
All but one of the exhibits open June 6 and run through August 15.
Whoever doesn’t, “Voices and Votes” will open on July 3.
“Voices and Votes” is the only exhibit this summer that isn’t primarily an art exhibit. This will be a landmark exhibit that takes a look at voting and democracy in America commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
“Voices and Votes” is a traveling exhibit based on a major Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History exhibit titled “American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.”
The Dennos were granted Smithsonian affiliate status, but Dake said the Voices and Votes exhibit had nothing to do with it.
Between the five exhibits, Dake said visitors will find something to hold their attention.
“It’s really cool because we have a mix of portraits, landscapes and abstract work and covering different cultures and social issues,” Dake said.
More summer programming
Dake said the Dennos does not plan to hold an opening ceremony or reception for the opening of the exhibits, but that does not rule out the possibility of meeting the artists, either in person or virtually. He said to keep an eye out for chances to meet and speak with Prather and Snoddy.
Regarding Dennos’ summer concert series, Dake said the museum was trying to put something in place but could not release details yet.
He said it looked like concerts could resume no later than early 2022.