Muskegon Museum of Art highlights 100+ years of collecting in major exhibition

The Muskegon Museum of Art has reopened with Shaping the Future, Celebrating the Past, an exhibition that highlights and explores the various facets of its internationally recognized permanent collection in all of its galleries through the summer and fall of 2020. Each gallery in the museum features a different theme with displays of works representing various facets of the collection. Visitors will see the MMA’s most recognized masterworks along with more rarely seen objects that define over 100 years of collecting, begun in 1910.

The Shows

GLASS: Treasures from the Permanent Collection anchors the Shaping the Future, Celebrating the Past exhibition with a dramatic and colorful display of the MMA’s decade-spanning collection of studio glass in L.C. and Margaret Walker Gallery. Works by many of the artists that defined the studio glass movement, including Dale Chihuly, Harvey Littleton, and Marvin Lipofsky, join works made by today’s new masters. Collections of vintage Tiffany and Steuben lamps and glasswork and pieces from the pioneering days of contemporary studio glass give visitors a glimpse into the changing technologies and interests that have shaped the glass movement. GLASS also celebrates the legacy of C. Corcoran “Corky” Tuttle and her husband Robert Tuttle, who introduced the museum and its supporters to studio glass and helped guide collecting. Through Corky, the MMA has hosted internationally recognized glass artists Dante Marioni, Stephen Rolfe Powell, Benjamin Moore, Debora Moore, Sonja Blomdahl, Nancy Callan, and many others represented by our collection and featured in this show.

Pictures of the Best Kind presents the MMA’s most recognized and renowned treasures in the Bettye Clark Cannon Gallery to showcase the strengths of the museum’s past and the ongoing acquisitions that build upon its legacy and shape its future. Since 1905, through funds donated by Charles H. Hackley and the gifts of benefactors that followed him, the museum has acquired works of art by contemporary and historic artists alike, bringing to West Michigan a wide array of artistic expression. Visitors will see artworks by famed artists such as Edward Hopper, John Steuart Curry, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Winslow Homer, James A. M. Whistler, Robert Henri, Reginald Marsh, Arthur B. Davies, John Sloan, Roger Brown, Elizabeth Catlett, Deborah Butterfield, and Hughie Lee-Smith.

From Dürer to Rembrandt: Five Centuries of Art and Faith, in the Theodore and Joan Operhall Gallery, displays works from the earliest days of printmaking in 15th-century Germany and 17th-century Holland that chronicle the significant influence of faith on the advancement of art. Prints by luminaries such as Albrecht Dürer, Martin Schongauer, Hendrik Goltzius, and Rembrandt are on display, along with Lucas Cranach the Elder’s portraits of Martin Luther and Katharina Van Bora and Joos van Cleve’s 16th-century St. Jerome in Penitence. Paintings by Dutch, German, and Swedish artists inspired by these traditions, portraying both secular and religious subject matter, are also on display.

Graphic: 19th- and 20th-Century Prints and Watercolors highlights some of the best works from the MMA’s extensive holdings of works on paper in the Theodore and Joan Operhall Gallery. This exhibition features the works of important artists and provides our guests with an overview of the history and innovations that characterize the field of printmaking from its golden age in late 19th- and early 20th-century Europe to the etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and screen prints of today. Prints include those by Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, John Steuart Curry, Françoise Gilot, Alexander Calder, John Sloan, Isabel Bishop, and Mary Cassatt. Watercolors by Thomas Hart Benton and Charles Burchfield as well as those of contemporary Michigan and Midwest artists are also on display.

The Artist’s Lens: 20th- and 21st-Century Photography, in the Alcoa Foundation/Ernest and Marjorie Cooper Gallery, shows the important role photography has played in the MMA’s exhibition and collecting history. A selection of images that define the photography holdings are displayed, including pieces from the 1946 Muskegon Camera Club collection, iconic prints from renowned photographers, modern West Michigan subjects, and the works of contemporary artists from around the U.S. A selection of prints and ephemera from Edward Curtis’s photographic masterpiece The North American Indian is also featured.

The Arts of Japan, in L.C. and Margaret Walker Gallery B, features pieces from our historic and modern Japanese print collection and examples of Japanese ceramics and highlights from the George Hilt Collection of Sumida ware, a rare group of objects made in pre-WWII Japan. World traveling residents of early 20th-century Muskegon returned from their journeys with art from around the world, most notably fine decorative objects from Japan and China. These pieces made their way into the museum’s collection, inspiring an interest in Japanese woodblock prints. In addition to a collection of vintage prints by masters such as Utagawa Hiroshige, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Utagawa Kunisada begun in the 1920s, the museum has acquired, by gift and purchase, prints by modern and contemporary Japanese artists.

A Living Legacy: Modern and Contemporary Art, in the Michael and Kay Olthoff/Thelma and Paul Wiener Gallery, highlights the MMA’s ongoing commitment to display and purchase work by living artists. The featured paintings and sculpture showcase a wide range of styles and inspirations, from abstraction to contemporary realism. Senior Curator Art Martin comments, “In continuing to collect contemporary pieces, the MMA is an active participant in an international conversation about art and art making, bringing new perspectives and voices to our audiences and keeping a living record of what moves and informs us as a culture.”


GLASS: Treasures from the Permanent Collection
DTE Energy Foundation
Fifth Third Bank
Northern Trust
Hines Corp.
Don & Nancy Crandall
Tim & Anne Erickson
Floyd & Caron Farmer
Patricia Flynn
Steven & Caroline Mayberry
Garry & Charlotte Olson
Vance & Deborah Smith

Pictures of the Best Kind
PNC Bank

The Arts of Japan
The Hilt Foundation
Michael & Pat Wade

Additional Support Provided by
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, with the National Endowment for the Arts
Michigan Humanities Council with the National Endowment for the Humanities

Visitor Information
The Muskegon Museum of Art is located at 296 W. Webster Ave. in downtown Muskegon. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and closed Mondays. Visit for up-to-date information.