Mississippi Museum of Art—Jackson, MS

(Dec. 12, 2019)

Every job comes with a perk or two, and a perk of having a CDL as a teacher is the chance to drive various groups to different locations around central Mississippi.

The Beauty Right Under Your Nose

I’ve been around the world and seen some of the most famous pieces of art. From the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris to various Monet pieces (and my personal favorite the V&A Chandelier) in London.

I’ve seen masterpieces in New York City, flown to Atlanta to see paintings by Winston Churchill and have been wowed by modern and contemporary sculptures in Chicago.

I have no creative talents of my own with oils or pastels or watercolors, but I do have an eye and a brain capable of appreciating what I cannot create. I love seeing something come from nothing—a simple idea sparked in the mind of an artist.

The Mississippi Museum of Art is generally a place you send your kids on a field trip. In fact, that’s why I was there (bus drivin’ duty).

It’s that place where your neighbor’s sister’s kid got married or that building that you always pass and think…I should really go visit at some point.

Yes. Yes you should. And here’s why…

Nick Cave’s Modern Mixed Media Masterpieces Will Blow Your Mind

Before we move on to Nick Cave’s brilliance, let’s appreciate my minor attempt at using alliteration. Okay. That moment’s over.

Nick Cave is a multifaceted artist who has brought the colors of his world from his mind and in your face—literally.

He’s a performing artist, sculptor, dancer and all around creative guy from Fulton, Missouri. A good portion of his work is housed in the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, but right now, some of it is on loan to the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Where to start. His pieces are big.

From his Hustle Coat that is even embodied by the wallpaper it hangs in front of to the piece Rescue across the room (these two are two of his smaller pieces, by the way) to the impressive Wall Relief, it’s worth taking it all in.

Wall Relief is four massive panels with beads, metal birds, metal flowers and other sundry pieces collected from his family’s past that take on various mystical lives.

Standing on the opposite wall, you’re able to take it all in. And it’s overwhelming—that’s the point.

Once you make your way to each panel, you have to travel all over them. Layers of collected “stuff” criss-crosses the beautiful tapestries.

Personally, it reminded me of my grandmother’s life. Metal cardinals, a metal magnolia, glass beads and prism strands made me feel like it was a collection of the near century my grandmother lived.

And as awe inspiring as Wall Relief is, that wasn’t the half of it. Go around the corner and you’re attacked by his Architectural Forest. This massive hanging collection of strands of beads is filled with fantastic wonder. Walk around it and it changes into a new piece with every step.

We were told by the director that when it was installed, it was even amazing watching the tied strands be freed.

But Wait, There’s More…

The permanent pieces that make up the core of the gallery were being placed in new locations. And these pieces really are great at capturing the history and beauty of Mississippi.

From the beauty of the natural world to our sordid social past, the art certainly reflects our progress. I guess that’s one of the most amazing things about art: as fluid as our world is, the beauty can always be recorded by the people who lived it.

And don’t forget, portions of the museum are interactive. You can be part of the creative story of Mississippi’s art in quite the practical way leaving your own mark for fellow visitors to see.

For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art, you can visit their web site.

They’re open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11am to 7pm.

Weekends are Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm with Sunday hours from Noon to 5pm.

Admission is free, but donations are always welcomed through donations or even Membership.

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