Fine Art Tourist: Poetry and Art

Fine Art Tourist:OTR 8.0: Mississippi Museum of Art: New Symphony of Time

Jason Bouldin (1965) Portrait of Medgar Wiley Evers, 2013, Oil on canvas
Hystercine Rankin (1929-2010) Baptism in Crow Creek, 1996, quilted fabric, with appliqué and embroidery

After several days in Vicksburg, immersing ourselves in Civil War and Mississippi River history (see post – ctsprinterlife: OTR 8.0: Mississippi Part Three), we decided to head east to visit Jackson, before continuing our journey south along the Mississippi River.

Our timing turned out to be impeccable as MMOA was just opening a new exhibit entitled New Symphony of Time. The exhibit is ongoing and part of the permanent collection of the MMOA. The exhibit consists of 170 works by noted artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Bierstadt and Benny Andrews. Additionally, the exhibit includes many works by talented Mississippi artists.

msmuseumart.org

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) A Scene in the Rockies, Lake Silva Plans, not dated, Oil on canvas

New Symphony of Time expands and illuminates the boundaries of Mississippi’s narrative. Exploring the themes of ancestry and memory; migration, movement, and home; shared humanity; the natural environment; and liberty for all, the exhibition is inspired by Margaret Walker’s epic poem, “This is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time.” (Above paragraph is taken from the curator notes.) The poem is interspersed in the post below.

Throughout the exhibit certain ideas resonate: personal and collective memory, history and the connection to place, as well as the roles artists play in pursuit of civil rights and racial equality.

Helene Canizaro (1911-1997) Stafford Springs, 1974, Oil on canvas
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) The old Maple Tree, Lake George, 1926, Oil on canvas
Mildred Nungester Wolfe (1912-2009) The Old Studio, 1957, Oil on canvas
         This is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time by  ---  Margaret Walker
O Man, behold your destiny,
Look on this life
and know our future living
our former lives from these our present days
now melded into one.
Hale Woodruff (1900-1980) Mississippi Wilderness, c. 1944, Oil on canvas
Queens of the Nile,
Gods of our Genesis,
Parade of Centuries
behold the rising sun.
The dying Western sky
with yawning gates of death,
from decadence and dissonance
destroying false and fair,
worlds of our galaxies,
our waning moons and suns
look on this living hell
and see the rising sun.
Theora Hamblett (1895-1977) Walking, Meditating in the Woods,1963, Oil on canvas
This my century
I saw it grow
from darkness into dawn.
I watched the molten lava pour
from red volcanic skies;
Islands and Mountains heave
into the sea
Move Man into the spiraled axis turn
and saw six suns and sunsets rise and burn.
Karl Wolfe (1903-1984) Xanadu (View from Studio Window), c. 1960s, Oil on board
Osiris, Isis, black and beautiful gods,
When came your spectacle
of rythmed life and death?
You gods of love
on pyres of sacrifice
our human hearts become
old hearthstones of our tribal birth and flame:
the hammer and the forge,
the anvil and the fire,
the righteous sparks go wild
like rockets in the sky.
The fireworks overhead
flame red and blue and gold
against on darkened sky.
O living man behold
your destined hands control
the flowered earth ablaze,
alive, each golden flower unfold.
John McCrady (1911-1968) Rural Symposium, 1964, Acrylic on board
Now see our marching dead
The tyrants too, have fled.
The broken bones and blood
Have melted in the flood.
Clementine Hunter (1886-1988) Untitled, 1980, oil on canvas board
Cinque.
O man magnificent.
The gods endowed you well.
Prince of our innocence
The stars move round your head.
You stride the earth to tell
your sons and daughters young
from island, sea, and land-
a continental span-
how men are made of gods
and born to rule the world.
In majesty with monumental hands
you bridge the Universe
and centuries of desert sands.
Bequeath to us your handsome dignity
and lordly noble trust.
George Morland (1763-1804) Execrable Human Traffick, 1789, Oil on canvas
Gods of compassion, rise
In mortal human form.
The splendor of your eyes
Streaks lightening through the storm.
Noah Saterstrom (1974) Road to Shubuta, 2016, Oil on canvas
This is my century-
Black synthesis of Time:
The Freudian slip
The Marxian mind
Kierkaardian Leap of Faith
and Du Bois' prophecy: the color line.
These are the comrades of Einstein,
the dawning of another Age,
new symphony of Time.
New liberties arise;
from Freedom's flag unfold;
the right to live and be
both stronger and more wise.
Each child, a prophet's eyes;
each place, a priestess stone.
This Beast no man denies
the godly-human throne.
Each generation cries
to touch divinity
and open up the sunlit splitting skies.
Ruth Miller (1949) The Evocation and Capture of Aphrodite, 2014, hand-embroidered wool
I have had a good time singing
the songs of my fathers
the melodies of my mothers
the plaintive minor notes of my grandmothers.
I heard the drums of Africa
and I made the music of Spain.
I gave rythym to the world
and called it syncopation.
All the Calypso brothers
have dance music in my head
and all my beautiful jazzy greats
like old Satchmo,
the Duke, the Count, the Duchess, the King
the Queen, Prince, and Princesses
they were the sons and daughters of royalty
in my dynasty.
I am a black shoeshine boy
made immortal by Barthe
and I am a black mother
running from slavery.
Ernest Crichlow (1914-2005) Underground III,1990, Oil on canvas
Look on my bronzed and black-red-mahogany face
and know me well.
For I am the seed of the earth,
the broken body of the Son of God,
and the Spirit of the Universe.
Drink wine in my memory
and pour water on stones
singing Libation songs.
I came out of the sun
and I swam rivers of blood
to touch the moon.
I will not flinch before the holocaust
for I am a deathless soul,
immortal, black, and free.

The MMOA started as a state art association in 1911 and has grown in size and stature. Today the museum collection includes 5800 works and contains works by notable artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Henri, Georgia O’Keeffe and George Bellows.

The museum and the community are clearly demonstrating a commitment to confronting the legacy of racism in Mississippi and to moving forward to help foster a better present and future. Our hats off to the organization and community.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of OTR with Maria and Stephen.

Be seeing you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s