Spotlight: Dusti Bongé

Posted on: February 27th, 2023

Spotlight: Dusti Bongé (1903 – 1993) 

March 23, 2023 – July 1, 2023 

Mobile Museum of Art presents Spotlight: Dusti Bongé, an exhibition presented by the American South Consortium exploring themes that speak to our nation’s shared histories and diverse regional identities.

The first of four Spotlight exhibitions from the American South Consortium, funded by a grant from the Art Bridges Foundation, will open March 23, 2023, at the Mobile Museum of Art. Featured will be paintings and works on paper by Mississippi’s first Modernist artist, Dusti Bongé. Bongé, born Eunice Lyle Swetman in 1903, lived and painted in Biloxi, Mississippi and exhibited her work in New York and New Orleans. She experimented with abstract art, surrealism, and abstract expressionism, for which she is most known. Bongé led an unorthodox life and career in relative obscurity. Her work is now receiving the recognition it deserves as equal to that of other well-known abstract expressionists, among them Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. 

The Mobile Museum of Art owns twenty-six Bongé works, five of which will be featured in the Spotlight exhibition. 

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Cohort Program. 

Support for this and all museum exhibitions and programs is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mobile County and the City of Mobile

The above video is used by courtesy of Mississippi Public Broadcasting 


Artwork featured in thumbnail: Dusti Bongé, American (1903 – 1993), Distillate of the Past (Fragment of the Past), 1958. Oil on canvas, 54″ x 42″. Gift of the Dusti Bongé Foundation.



E.O. WILSON: A Photographic Tribute by Alex Harris

Posted on: August 22nd, 2022

E.O. Wilson
A Photographic Tribute by Alex Harris

October 7, 2022 — present

Duke University professor and photographer Alex Harris approached famed naturalist and scientist, Edward O. Wilson, after reading Wilson’s evocation of his Southern childhood in The Naturalist and Anthill. Following their meeting, Harris and Wilson collaborated on a book about Wilson’s native world of Mobile, Alabama. The photographer and the naturalist joined forces to capture the rhythms of this storied Alabama Gulf region through Wilson’s lyrical words and Harris’s photographic images capturing the mood of Mobile’s radical transformation city as it adapted to the twenty-first century. Their book became a universal story, one that tells us where we all come from and why we are here, and was titled “Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City,” followed by an exhibition of the same title in 2012, presented at the Mobile Museum of Art.

Ten years after that first exhibition, a selection of Harris’s photographs and Wilson’s evocative quotations are presented once again in a tribute exhibition and program celebrating the work and life of E.O. Wilson (1929-2021).

E.O. Wilson Day in Mobile, introduced by Mobile writer and filmmaker, Ben Raines, will be presented at the Mobile Museum of Art on Friday, October 7, 2022, 5 – 7:30 pm; the program of speakers and filmed selections will be followed by a reception and exhibition opening in the museum gallery.

This program is sponsored by The Carolyn W. Saunders Foundation, with additional support from the following partnering organizations:

Alabama Coastal Foundation, Alabama School of Math and Science, The Audubon Society, City of Mobile, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Downtown Alliance, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, The Longleaf Alliance, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Botanical Gardens, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Mobile Baykeeper, Mobile County, Mobile Museum of Art, The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, Scenic98Coastal, Seamen’s Foundation, The Sierra Club, South Alabama Land Trust, University of South Alabama Biology Department

A Nest of One’s Own

Posted on: April 18th, 2022

A Nest of One’s Own

June 18, 2022 — present

Mobile Museum of Art proudly presents a site-specific art installation titled A Nest of One’s Own, created and installed by Alabama-native Dixon Stetler.

Stetler’s work combines recycled and discarded materials in new and innovative ways to address community and social issues of today. With a strong relationship with people and place, she can employ everything from Christmas lights, rope, Mardi Gras beads, hoses, and electrical wires, weaving what was once trash into new dreams and fantasies.

A Nest of One’s Own offers a safe haven when the world feels out of control,” Stetler says. “The fundamental drive to gather and assemble is a function of both nest building in nature and my artistic process. Inspired by what society deems as no longer useful, I collect recognizable materials from construction and industrial sites. Without altering the found materials, I present a new beginning for them. Dirty and scarred objects have a built-in history. They represent resilience, strength, and an unapologetic identity that is worthy of appreciation. The unsavory can be made more palatable — even comforting — when we have a shared experience with it. A Nest of One’s Own is a celebration of self soothing, a place for self reflection, and peace.”

This site-specific installation is made possible through the generous support of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Dr. G. Douglas Hungerford, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Mobile. Support for this, and all museum exhibitions and programs, is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Mobile. A Nest of One’s Own is on view from April 26, 2022 through April 2023.

Fantastical Forest

Posted on: February 3rd, 2022

Fantastical Forest

May 31, 2022 — present

Mobile Museum of Art is excited to announce that the Fantastical Forest is officially open for exploration. In the coming months, we’ll be offering timed tickets for you and your family to dig into this incredible installation. We’re currently taking reservations for May, so scurry down to the button below and book a time for your family today!

The Mobile Museum of Art presents Fantastical Forest, a new site-specific, interactive installation for children commissioned by MMofA and funded by area organizations. Designed by Mobile-based artist Lucy Gafford, this installation is the Museum’s second kid-and-family friendly project, and addresses themes of nature, ecology, and art. Gafford designed and conceived the installation, and enlisted the help of fellow artists Ben Kaiser and Vanessa Quintana, with audio design by The Company Retreat and Octopus Prime.

This exhibition, located in MMofA’s Education wing, is an enchanted forest teeming with friendly creatures, colorful birds and flowers, and secret nooks and crannies where delightful surprises await. Visitors can join the birds and creatures by climbing a treehouse and looking down on the lush forest floor below.

“We deeply appreciate the Mobile Museum of Art for entrusting us to create this large-scale installation,” Gafford says. “The many months of hard work that have gone into this project have been an incredible learning experience for everyone involved, and we foresee it making new opportunities for us as artists in the future. We hope you visit and experience the magic of the Fantastical Forest!”

Fantastical Forest is interwoven with Alabama’s State Board of Education standards: themes of ecology and the importance of the environment; math; geography; language arts; creative writing and visual arts.

MMofA gratefully acknowledges the support of the following for this installation: The Mary Josephine Larkins Charitable Foundation, The J.L. Bedsole Foundation, The Ben May Charitable Trust, The Rotary Club of Mobile, The C.D., Helen and Jeff Glaze Foundation, and The Moses Foundation. The educational video made for this project was directed by Joseph Brennan and is generously supported by Art Bridges. The artists responsible for this project are Lucy Gafford (lead concept and artwork) with assistance from Ben Kaiser and Vanessa Quintana. Audio design is by The Company Retreat and Octopus Prime, and sound is by Michael Francis. Support for this, and all museum exhibitions and programs, is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Mobile.

Content created for the installation

Generous support for this video provided by Art Bridges.

FOR CHILDREN: The Elements of Art and Design

Posted on: November 20th, 2019

FOR CHILDREN: The Elements of Art and Design

December 14, 2019 – ongoing

MMofA’s exhibition, FOR CHILDREN, is an exhibition organized by the Mobile Museum of Art specifically designed for kids!

The exhibition presents a maze of galleries for children to experience immersive, creative, and wacky visual environments. It is designed for fun, yet teaches kids the basic elements of creative art and design (Line, Texture, Color, Scale, and Shape), as well as relationships between science and art. The exhibition includes hands-on experiences and photo opportunities for parents and grandparents!

FOR CHILDREN 2020 features more immersive installations, interactive elements like a giant LITE BRITE, video projections, miniature environments designed by local artists, and different themed rooms.

FOR CHILDREN is generously sponsored by several foundations, businesses, and organizations in Mobile:

The Crampton Trust, established by Katharine Cochrane Crampton
Spire Energy
The Caring Foundation
ServisFirst Bank
Hand Arendall LLC

The exhibition is conceived and organized by Museum director Deborah Velders and designed by Don Bowden Architecture with additional design assistance from Star Design Graphics of Mobile.