A PASSION FOR THE PAST: New Acquisitions from the Schoenknecht-Paul Collection

Posted on: October 7th, 2015


New Acquisitions from the Schoenknecht~Paul Collection
PART I : The Americans

November 13, 2015 – June 12, 2016

Beginning in the 1980s the Mobile Museum of Art began seriously collecting works of contemporary studio craft: ceramic, glass, and wood. Focus exhibitions were organized and toured. All this came about in recognition of the fact that since the 1960s the crafts experienced a great burst of creative excellence in America and worldwide. To some it was a birth, in truth it was more of a rebirth. There was a past and what was needed at the museum were the objects from the past to give a context to the present. Into the breach stepped collectors Charles G. Schoenknecht and Ward A. Paul of Grand Rapids, Michigan, long time donors to the museum who had for some 40 years been assembling a collection of decorative arts, both American and European. Following several visits to Mobile, they too saw the gap and offered a curatorially selected body of works as a gift to the Mobile community. This first presentation focuses on the American artists working in ceramic, glass, and metal.

American Art: 1945 to the Present

Posted on: October 6th, 2015

American Art: 1945 to the Present

from the Collection

November 13, 2015 – Ongoing

This exhibition expands a theme introduced in the museum’s first floor exhibition, 150 Years of American Art (ca. 1795- 1945). While that exhibition provides a visual narrative of emerging American identity as seen through art, this exhibition features art and decorative arts created since World War II, as American art emerged as a major force in the global art world.

As the center of the art world shifted from Paris to New York, American artists separated themselves from the European past and its traditions. American art works became larger in both scale and theme, more gestural and abstract, as artists forged a new American artistic vocabulary.  MMofA possesses many works in its collection that represent major American artists whose contributions to the history of art are significant.  Many of these works have seldom been on view (if at all).  This major installation includes both nationally and regionally recognized artists.

This exhibition also includes American Master Crafts 1945-Present (from the collection): West vs. East: Developments in Contemporary Ceramics (curated by Susie Bowman, The Kiln, Fairhope) and GLASS: Versatility/Virtuosity (curated by Rene Culler, Glass Program of the University of South Alabama), as well as an exhibition of American Photography: 1945-Present (from the Collection).

Outsider Art from the Collection of MMofA

Posted on: August 6th, 2015

August 7, 2015 – January 3, 2016

This exhibition presents a selection of works by contemporary self-taught Southern artists whose creative drive produced expressive works of considerable imagination.  Paintings, sculpture, and furniture are included.

Outsider Art from the Collection of MMofA was organized in conjunction with Alabama Contemporary Art Center’s exhibition, History Refused to Die.

Charles Smith: Black Hands/I AM

Posted on: June 3rd, 2015

June 5 – October 11, 2015

Looking back at a 40 year career in clay, the exhibition examines Mobile native Charles Smith’s expressive ideas about color, shape, and ornament.  He was included in the Alabama Public Television 2009 program Alabama Craft Tradition and Innovation.

The New Landscape

Posted on: June 1st, 2015

June 5 – October 11, 2015

The landscape has been a subject matter for painting since the beginning of time, and it continues to inspire artists today. Front & Center at the Mobile Museum of Art will showcase a few of the talented regional artists that represent both the beauty and complexity of the world around us.


Luke Allsbrook
Susan Downing-White    [View Studio Visit]
John Folsom    [View Studio Visit]
George Taylor
Jeff Rich

The Art and Design of Mardi Gras

Posted on: May 3rd, 2015

The Art and Design of Mardi Gras

November 8, 2014 – May 3, 2015

Organized in partnership with the History Museum of Mobile and the Mobile Carnival Museum


NO CHILD’S PLAY: Children in the Holocaust

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015

NO CHILD’S PLAY: Children in the Holocaust

March 2, 2018 – July 1, 2018

No Child’s Play is part of the Yad Vashem Art Museum in Jerusalem, and derives its name from an excerpt from Janusz Korczak’s “Rules of Life”, A Childhood of Dignity. An estimated one and a half million children perished in the Holocaust, and only a few thousand survived. This exhibition opens a window into the world of children during the Shoah. It does not focus on history, statistics, or descriptions of the physical violence and horror of the Holocaust. Instead, images of the toys, games, artwork, diaries and poems displayed in the panel images highlight some of the personal stories of the children, and provide a glimpse into their lives during the Holocaust. The exhibition tells the story of survival – the struggle of these children to hold onto life. It describes their attempts to maintain their childhood and youth by creating a different reality from that surrounding them. In many cases, it was the children who gave their parents the encouragement and hope to continue their desperate daily fight for survival.

Yad Vashem began collecting the toys and games of the children of the Holocaust in April of 1997. The panels document their stories and the resiliency of children even in the face of surrounding, horrific circumstances.

WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s Treme

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014

WELL SUITED: The Costumes of Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s® Treme

Organized by the Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC

November 8, 2014 – May 3 2015

Well Suited includes costumes designed by Wilmington, North Carolina native Alonzo V. Wilson for HBO’s award-winning series Treme. The exhibition emphasizes fourteen exquisitely crafted Mardi Gras Indian suits from the series,  and also includes Mardi Gras costumes from select characters, as well as design sketches, film excerpts, video interviews with cast and costumers and behind-the-scenes photography. This exhibition coincides with The Art and Design of Mardi Gras exhibition.

Stephan Wanger & Bead Town

Posted on: September 3rd, 2014

Stephan Wanger & Bead Town

November 8, 2014 – May 3, 2015

Stephan Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling dazzling mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Working in a photo-realistic style, Stephan recreates iconic Louisiana images to make the innate beauty and unique culture of this area available to the world.

In preparation for the formal construction of each piece, beads are meticulously sorted by size down to the exact millimeter and perfect shade, creating a detailed and varied palette much like a painter would prepare hues for painting. The resulting play of light and color recalls several Post-Impressionistic artists’ works while adding a new dimension of glitter and shine through the use of metallic, plastic and luminescent beads. The illusion of three-dimensional space is often created through the use of perspective but also the variety of sizes of the beads he uses to create actual dimension adds an element of bas-relief. The finished works are stunning to regard both from a distance and upon close inspection of the highly detailed craftsmanship.

In December of 2013, Stephan Wanger completed a Guinness World Record for the World’s largest mosaic called “Une Rue Principale en Louisiane” (A Main Street in Louisiana), a 8’H x 48’W large mural.

A manifestation of Mr. Wanger’s stylistic and environmental goal is the use of recycled materials for his pieces. Not only does he collect discarded beads throughout Mardi Gras in an effort to clean post-parade debris, but he regularly visits salvage yards to gather additional materials for his work. Through his art, Wanger hopes to inspire his audience to recycle and to create, and encourage appreciation for the unique culture and natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer. This labor of love is called Bead Town.

Wanger’s work was shown in our Front & Center Gallery as part of our 50th anniversary exhibition, The Art and Design of Mardi Gras.


Posted on: July 16th, 2014

August 8 – October 5, 2014

Regional contemporary artists show unlimited possibilities in their works with paper in our Front & Center and Back Room Gallery. Everything from the traditional to the unusual.

Artists included in this exhibition are:

  • Aaron McNamee
  • Dan Tague
  • Raine Bedsole
  • Hannah Chalew
  • Jason Guynes
  • Keith Perelli
  • Michael Pajon
  • Monique McFarland
  • Nall
  • Nancy Dahlstrom
  • Nikki Rosato
  • Paper Frank
  • Pinkney Herbert
  • Robert Lansden