UM Museum Readies Major Exhibition Honoring Kate Freeman Clark

Curators hope to broaden awareness of painter's works and raise support for conservation

University Museum workers hang a portrait for the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The largest exhibit in more than two decades featuring works by acclaimed Mississippi painter Kate Freeman Clark is set to debut March 28 at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark” includes more than 70 paintings from the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery and several artifacts from the Marshall County Historical Museum to illustrate different times and aspects of the artist’s life.

The exhibition was developed by Guest Curators James G. Thomas Jr., associate director for publications at the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Annette Trefzer, UM associate professor of English.

“The fact that there was an accomplished and prolific female artist in our neighborhood whose name I had never heard before was the magnet that drew me first to the Holly Springs museum,” said Trefzer, also owner of Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley.

“And visiting there, I was overwhelmed by the quality and depth of her work: hundreds of canvases of landscapes, portraits and still lifes reside in the little museum. What a treasure and what a story!”

The exhibition is a major event for the University Museum and for art lovers across north Mississippi, said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“The University Museum is honored and thrilled to have developed this major exhibition of the work of Kate Freeman Clark, in partnership with our guest curators, the Holly Springs lending institutions and our donors who so graciously provided the required funding,” Saarnio said.

“The compelling story of this exceptional artist and the beauty of her work will captivate audiences and inspire a renewed appreciation for one of Mississippi’s artistic treasures.”

A colorful garden scene from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

A Holly Springs native, Clark spent many years in New York City, where she studied under teacher, mentor and well-known American impressionist William Merritt Chase. She produced hundreds of paintings and had major exhibits at the Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Carnegie Institute, New York School of Art, National Academy of Design and the Society of American Artists.

After 27 years of painting and following the deaths of Chase and her mother and grandmother, Clark stored her entire collection in a New York City warehouse in 1923 and returned to Holly Springs, where she remained until her death in 1957. She left her collection and estate to the city.

“I was first drawn to Kate Freeman Clark’s fascinating life story, and as I examined her vast body of work, she became all the more intriguing to me,” Thomas said. “How could a person with such great talent and obvious drive to create, and who had achieved a not inconsiderable measure of success, suddenly abandon her passion?”

An opening reception is set for 6 p.m. March 28 in conjunction with the Oxford Arts Crawl. The city’s double-decker busses will stop at the museum every 20 minutes for guest convenience. The event is free and open to the public.

A landscape from the ‘Lasting Impressions: Restoring Kate Freeman Clark’ exhibit, set to open March 28 at the University Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“The main concept of our show is to highlight her work as that of a woman artist,” Trefzer said. “We also want to show the variety of work in terms of styles, themes and media that she created as a student. We call the show ‘Lasting Impressions’ because we want the viewer to confront her ‘impressions’ of the world around her, a domestic life largely dominated by her mother and grandmother, and her love of the landscapes, both cultivated and natural, that she painted.”

Only a fraction of Clark’s paintings have been exhibited for many years, so the exhibit represents a rare opportunity for art lovers to view the works, Thomas said.

Both Thomas and Trefzer expressed special thanks to Walter Webb, director of the gallery in Holly Springs, for his assistance in developing the exhibit. They also hope the showing will boost support for continued conservation of the artist’s works, Trefzer said.

“These canvases have lasted more than 120 years, and we hope that with ongoing restoration efforts, more of them will be preserved for the future,” she said. “This is why we are also showing unrestored work. We want to make the public aware of this woman’s tremendously accomplished work so worth preserving and of her unique story that should be included in books of art history.”

A panel discussion on “The Art of Kate Freeman Clark” is slated for 1:30 p.m. March 30 at the museum, as part of the Oxford Conference for the Book. A reception will follow the discussion.

Panelists include writer, editor and scholar Carolyn Brown, who published award-winning biographies of Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker, as well as “The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark” (University Press of Mississippi, 2017). She will sign copies of the book at the reception.

Other panelists are Thomas, Trefzer and Beth Batton, an art historian and executive director of The Oaks House Museum in Jackson.

Funding for the exhibition was provided by Lester and Susan Fant III, Tim and Lisa Liddy, David B. Person, the Bank of Holly Springs, Ellis Stubbs State Farm Insurance, First State Bank and Tyson Drugs Inc.

The museum, at Fifth Street and University Avenue, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Asian Art Expert to Discuss Significance of UM Museum Photo Exhibit

Angela Howard to lecture Tuesday on Dunhuang exhibit

The inside of a cave in Dunhuang, China, displays intricate paintings and a Buddha statue. Photo courtesy Angela Howard

OXFORD, Miss. – An expert on the Buddhist art of China will discuss what we can learn about the evolution of religion and culture of Central Asia through photographs of the intricate cave paintings of Dunhuang, China, during a lecture Tuesday (March 21) at the University of Mississippi Museum.

Angela Howard, professor of Asian art at Rutgers University, will speak at 5 p.m. in the museum’s Speaker’s Gallery. The event, held in conjunction with the museum’s “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo,” is free and open to the public.

“The University Museum is very pleased to offer this lecture by such a distinguished international scholar,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director. “Professor Howard’s teaching spans Chinese and Japanese art and has focused primarily on the development of Buddhist art in China, making her a perfect speaker to accompany this exceptional Silk Road photography exhibition.”

The exhibit features photographs taken of the caves in the 1940s by the Los. The nearly 500 caves are in the northwestern area of China, along the ancient Silk Road, and are a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. Each one features intricately painted artwork, dating to between the fourth and 14th centuries.

Joshua Howard, UM Croft associate professor of history and international studies and Angela Howard’s son, approached the museum staff about partnering for this event in conjunction with the exhibit of the Los’ photographs.

“Dr. Angela Howard is an authority on the Buddhist art of China and Central Asia, and she happens to be my mother,” Joshua Howard said. “When the University Museum was able to borrow the photographic exhibit on Dunhuang caves, which was facilitated by my mother’s contacts at Princeton University, I reached out to my mother to present a talk.

“Dunhuang is very much on her mind these days as she’ll also be teaching an on-site workshop there this summer sponsored by the Woodenfish Foundation.”

Angela Howard specializes in the Buddhist art of China and Central Asia and has studied the culture and area extensively. She said she plans to discuss “how the photos of the Dunhuang caves’ architecture and paintings enable us to reconstruct the type of Buddhism practiced at Dunhuang, a Chinese transformation of Indian and Central Asian traditions.”

The “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” exhibit is on display through April 29.

The museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information about museum exhibits and events, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

UM Museum Hosts Family Activity Day

Event takes children on a journey to China

Children and their families create works of art inspired by museum exhibits at Family Activity Day. Photo Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum will host “On the Silk Road” Family Activity Day from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (Feb. 11).

The free event is based on the new photography exhibit “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo.” Children of all ages and their families are invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year and learn about the Year of the Rooster through activities that involve traveling along the Silk Road trade routes through interactive projects. Pre-registration is not required.

“We are thrilled to share the museum’s current exhibition, ‘Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo,’ with families in this interactive family day,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “At first glance, this exhibit may not seem as accessible to our youngest of learners, so this family day will aim to bring Chinese New Year and the many traditions and traded goods of the Silk Road to life for all ages.” 

Families can follow trade route maps to visit Guangzhou, China, stop at the exhibit in Dunhuang, create peacock fans in Goa, India, and make blue-and-white wares in Venice, Italy.

Children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the drop-in event, and snacks will be provided.

For more information, contact McCauley at esdean@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7073.

 

 

 

 

UM Museum Opens Photography Exhibit of Buddhist Caves

Images from China illustrate artistic and architectural achievements

The exhibit ‘Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo’ is open at the UM Museum. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Photographs of the intricately painted Mogao and Yulin Caves in Dunhuang, China are on exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” features photographs taken of the caves by the Los in the 1940s. The nearly 500 caves containing artwork are in the northwestern area of China along the ancient Silk Road and are a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. The caves, which served as spaces for meditation and worship, were painted between the fourth and 14th centuries.

The exhibit opened Jan. 10 in conjunction with the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, held on the UM campus Jan. 13-15. The free exhibit runs through April 29, and an opening reception is set for 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31.

Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history and international studies and a Chinese historian, proposed this exhibit to the University Museum.

“These photographs have high artistic value,” Howard said. “James and Lucy Lo used natural light and often placed mirrors in the caves to create special lighting effects and create a sense of the caves’ spirituality.

“James Lo also experimented with his photo angles; for instance, shooting a 50-foot reclining Buddha from the vantage point of the head of the statue rather than from the feet looking toward the head. The result is a more intimate and serene shot of the Buddha. Other landscape photos they took give a sense of the harsh but beautiful desert terrain the caves inhabit.”

The collection of 31 black-and-white photographs is from the Lo Archive and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University. The Mogao and Yulin caves illustrate artistic and architectural achievements, as well as provide an intimate look at the history of Buddhism and other religions of the region.

Museum officials were excited about the opportunity to open the exhibit to conference attendees, said Robert Saarnio, museum director. The conference included workshops, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings of Asian poetry and literature, history, language, art, philosophy and politics.

“These are exactly the kinds of multidisciplinary and cross-campus partnerships that the museum seeks to foster and welcome, wherein great art and artifact content can be exhibited in such close correspondence to curricular, research and teaching endeavors,” Saarnio said.

The museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Rowan Oak Attracts Visitors from 58 Countries

Faulkner's work still appeals to readers worldwide

Rowan Oak was visited by people from 58 different countries over the last 12 months. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Rowan Oak was visited by people from every state and 58 countries over the last 12 months. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Rowan Oak is a destination known around the world, as guests from 58 different countries visited the estate of Nobel-prize winning author William Faulkner over the last 12 months.

The home and 33-acre grounds are part of the University of Mississippi Museum. After a review of the guestbook from December 2015 to this month, museum staff discovered visitors from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 58 countries stopped by the preserved home of Faulkner.

“William Faulkner’s work is read throughout the world, so Rowan Oak’s visitors reflect his global influence,” said Bill Griffith, Rowan Oak curator.

The countries represented include Argentina, Cambodia, Israel, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

“We’re exceptionally proud of the fact that the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses attract such demographically diverse audiences, and the compilation of the number of foreign countries represented in the Rowan Oak visitor count is such strong evidence of its appeal internationally,” said Robert Saarnio, University Museum director.

“With collections and exhibitions representing several millennia of world cultural and artistic heritage, the museum also appeals to wide-ranging visitor interests, backgrounds and points of origin.”

Rowan Oak will be open to the public through the holiday season from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays, closing Dec. 22 to Jan. 2.

UM Museum Unveils 2016 Holiday Keepsake Ornament

Ole Miss powder blue helmet celebrates throwback colors

The UM Museum’s 2016 Ole Miss Powder Blue Helmet keepsake is now available for purchase. Submitted Photo

The UM Museum’s 2016 Ole Miss Powder Blue Helmet keepsake is now available for purchase. Submitted photo. 

OXFORD, Miss. – For the 16th year, the University of Mississippi Museum is offering a new keepsake ornament for the holidays. This year’s design features the Ole Miss powder blue football helmet.

“As with our 2012 Walk of Champions gateway design, we celebrate the traditions of Ole Miss athletics and campus life in these ornaments, and we’re grateful to have such collegial partners in athletics as we develop these keepsakes,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director. 

The team wore the color until 1977 and then again from 1983 to ’94. The nostalgic color is often associated with the “golden age” of Ole Miss football, having been worn by notable players such as Billy Brewer, Jake Gibbs and Archie Manning.

In 2014, the university renamed Coliseum Drive in honor of Chucky Mullins. In addition to this commemoration, the powder blue helmet, which Mullins wore, saw its second revival on the field.

“The powder blue helmet has a long history with the Ole Miss Rebels football,” said Melanie Munns, the museum’s antiquities collections manager. “While the University of Mississippi chose Yale’s navy and Harvard’s crimson as its official colors, the powder blue has become a signature color of the team.

“Legend attributes the first iteration in 1948 as an accident in production, which Coach Johnny Vaught chose to embrace.”

The Ole Miss Powder Blue Helmet commemorative ornament is available for $25, plus tax.

Collectible ornaments from previous years include the Old Skipwith House, Brandt Memory House, Ventress Hall, Lafayette County Courthouse, Oxford City Hall, the Ole Miss Women’s Basketball Jersey, Theora Hamblett House, Theora Hamblett’s “Christmas Trees,” Walk of Champions, Oxford’s Double Decker Bus and the Herakles Neck Amphora. These ornaments retail for $20, plus tax.

The keepsake ornaments can be purchased in the Museum Shop or by phone with a credit card by calling 662-915-7073. Orders must be placed by Dec. 14 if needed by the holiday and require a $7 shipping and handling fee.

Museum members and Friends of the Museum receive a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the museum store.

The University Museum is at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Holiday Hours for the Museum Shop are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Museum visiting hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For information about events and exhibits, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7073.

‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ Santa’s Workshop Among UM Christmas Events

Annual Gingerbread Village also open through Dec. 16 at Ford Center

The UM Museum and the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host several upcoming holiday events including the Gingerbread Village and Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The UM Museum and the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host several upcoming holiday events including the Gingerbread Village and Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Mississippi Museum have a whole bagful of family-friendly activities slated for December to encourage the Oxford and Ole Miss communities to embrace the holiday spirit.

The Ford Center’s seventh annual Gingerbread Village opens Dec. 1 and is free to the public. More than 30 gingerbread houses designed and assembled by local groups, including Holli’s Sweet Tooth, Willie Price Lab School, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and local Girl Scout troops, will be on display.

The village will be open 1 to 5 p.m. daily and during performances through Dec. 16. A full schedule is available here.

On Saturday (Dec. 3), the Ford Center hosts “Miracle on 34th Street” at 3 p.m. The holiday musical tale by Valentine Davies, based on the 1947 movie, tells the story of Kris Kringle filling in for Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The performance brings the Christmas spirit to life with songs such as “I Believe in Miracles,” “Macy’s Madrigals” and “Just Imagine.”

“The Ford Center is creating a festive mood and offering hot chocolate in concessions for this holiday show,” said Julia Aubrey, Ford Center director.

“Santa’s helpers will be on hand to brighten your afternoon as you enjoy a lovely story and its music. And don’t miss a chance to drop in on the Gingerbread Village before or after the show.”

Tickets are $34 for the balcony level, $40 for the mezzanine and tier 2 boxes, and $46 for the orchestra, parterre and tier 1 boxes. Tickets can be purchased online or at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union. Ole Miss faculty, staff and retirees are eligible for a 10 percent discount. UM student tickets are $20 for orchestra/parterre and $13 for mezzanine/balcony.

Also Saturday, the University Museum is partnering with the Ford Center for its Santa’s Workshop Family Activity Day. Families can bring children to the free drop-in session from 9 a.m. to noon to create seasonal art, eat holiday snacks and visit the Gingerbread Village via sleigh, provided by The Flying Tuks.

“Santa’s Workshop is an event we look forward to each year as we find new ways to connect our collections with the holiday season,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “Last year we had over 400 in attendance, so this year we are looking forward to engaging audiences in new ways to maximize all areas of the museum building.”

The free event is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and the Ignite Ole Miss Campaign. No pre-registration is required. For more information, contact the museum at 662-915-7073.

While the village display and Family Activity Day are free, visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items as a donation to benefit the Oxford Food Pantry and the Ole Miss Food Bank.

UM Food Day Celebration Features Day of Service, Pop-Up Market, More

Events scheduled throughout October to educate and get community involved

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OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day, a nationwide celebration that focuses on the importance of improving American diets and food policies, throughout October.

Food Day events commence with a composting workshop hosted by Sustainable Oxford at 6 p.m. Monday (Oct. 3) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.

Campus events kick off on Thursday (Oct. 6) with the Office of Sustainability’s sixth annual Food Day Festival on the Union Plaza, highlighting food-related resources in Oxford. Set for noon-3:30 p.m., the festival features a farmers market, food samples, educational displays and other activities.

“Through Food Day, the Office of Sustainability aims to engage more people in a topic that involves us all: how we are fed,” said Kendall McDonald, sustainability fellow in the Office of Sustainability. “By empowering university members to be local food heroes through education and service learning, we believe a just, inclusive and resilient food system is possible.”

This year, Food Day will incorporate a service component through the Food Day of Service, a half-day event on Oct. 22. During Food Day of Service, volunteers will complete projects affiliated with local school and community gardens and the UM Compost Program.

Food Day of Service volunteer sites include gardens at the Boys and Girls Club, Oxford School District and Lafayette County Schools, plus the Oxford Community Garden and the UM Compost Program site. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. in the Ole Miss Student Union ballroom for a kickoff ceremony before traveling to the sites. Register to join Food Day of Service here.

On Oct. 25, the Office of Sustainability will host a screening of the film “Food Chains,” followed by a guided discussion led by Catarina Passidomo, UM assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology. The screening is set for 7 p.m. at Shelter on Van Buren.

The film examines the human cost of America’s food system through the lens of tomato pickers in southern Florida, who work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., earning just $40 a day – a price dictated by large supermarkets.

“Many of us don’t have a good understanding of labor abuses in the food system or an appreciation for the people whose labor remains relatively invisible,” Passidomo said. “I hope that people will come away from the film with a better and deeper understanding of the politics and processes that underlie our contemporary food system.”

On Oct. 26, a pop-up farmers market in the parking lot of the Oxford Intermediate School will wrap up Food Day activities. The market runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

This year’s Food Day celebration also incorporates educational events for community children, including an activity Oct. 15 at the UM Museum’s Family Activity Day and a scavenger hunt activity for children affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club that will take place during the pop-up farmers market.

“Studies show that introducing children to the process of healthy foods will increase their consumption of these foods,” said Denae Bradley, AmeriCorps VISTA in the Office of Sustainability. “During the pop-up market, children at the Boys and Girls Club will participate in a scavenger hunt, where they will engage with local vendors by asking them questions about their product, as well as try new foods that they may have never tasted before.”

The Food Day activities are organized by the UM Office of Sustainability in partnership with Sustainable Oxford. To learn more about sustainability at UM, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.

Symposium to Highlight Eggleston Exhibit at UM Museum

Panel discussions to examine photographer's influence and experiences

Eggleston’s work is now on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.

Eggleston’s work is on display at the UM Museum in the exhibit ‘The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston.’

OXFORD, Miss – “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston” presented by the University of Mississippi Museum features 36 works from the fine art photographer in an exclusive exhibition of the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition, sponsored by Friends of the Museum, runs through Jan. 14, 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

To further highlight Eggleston’s remarkable color and black-and-white photographs, the museum will host a symposium Oct. 7 at UM’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, featuring notable panelists across different disciplines.

“The University of Mississippi Museum and the Friends of the Museum are exceptionally pleased to present this convening of distinguished panelists and scholars, offering an exploration of the career and influence of the extraordinary William Eggleston,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director.

The first panel at 10 a.m. will feature William Ferris, Maude Schuyler Clay and Megan Abbott, with Lisa Howorth as moderator. The second panel, at 2 p.m., with Ferris as moderator, will feature Emily Ballew Neff, Richard McCabe and Kris Belden-Adams.

The morning panel will approach Eggleston and his work from a perspective of those who have known him personally and have been significantly influenced by his images, Saarnio said.

“Enriched by anecdotes and personal reflections, the panel’s content will include consideration of formative influences and experiences, career highlights and the longitudinal development of an artist, as evidenced by this particular life in visual art and image-making,” he said.

“The afternoon panel will focus on the body of work across Eggleston’s career, with content including the influence of the work on the field of photography, its influence on other artistic and creative fields, the evolution of critical reception to Eggleston, how the work has had shifting meaning over time, and the meaning of the work today to contemporary audiences and contemporary practitioners.”

Howorth, a native of Washington, D.C., has called Oxford home since 1972. She and husband Richard Howorth opened Square Books in Oxford in 1979. After earning master’s degrees in library science and art history, she worked at Ole Miss as a reference librarian and an associate professor of art and Southern studies. She is editor of “The South: A Treasury of Art and Literature” and other books on Southern culture, writes for Garden & Gun and Oxford American magazines, and published “Flying Shoes,” a novel, in 2014.

Ferris is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and a history professor at the University of North Carolina. He is also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at UM, where he served as a faculty member for 18 years. A longtime friend of William Eggleston and a collector of his work, Ferris donated all pieces that are on display at the UM Museum. He has written or edited 10 books and will sign his new photography book, “The South in Color,” inspired by Eggleston, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at Square Books

Acclaimed photographer, first cousin and Eggleston protege Clay served as a consulting adviser for the exhibition. In 2015, Clay’s own photography collection of portraits titled “Mississippi History” was produced by German photo book publisher Steidl. The publisher discovered her photographs while working with Eggleston on the multivolume set “Chrome” (2011) and “Los Alamos Revisited” (2012). Clay was the 2015 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Visual Arts.

Detroit native and author Abbott also guest curated the exhibition. As the former John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence, she has drawn her own inspiration from Eggleston’s work. Abbott is an Edgar Award-winning author for her novels “Queenpin,” “The Song Is You,” “Die a Little,” “Bury Me Deep,” “The End of Everything” and “Dare Me.” Her latest novel, “The Fever,” was chosen as one of the best books of the summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the best books of the year by several media outlets.

Neff , executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum, spent nearly 20 years as curator of American painting and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, where she organized numerous major exhibitions. Neff also served as director and chief curator of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

McCabe, curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, has curated more than 30 exhibitions and is also a photographer whose work has been the subject of several exhibitions. He has also taught photography courses at Xavier University in New Orleans, the Pratt Institute in New York, Montclair State Institute in New Jersey and Fairfield University in Connecticut.

Belden-Adams, an assistant professor of art and art history at UM, earned a doctorate in modern and contemporary art history, specializing in the history of photography, at the City University of New York. Additionally, she earned an master’s degree in art history, theory and criticism from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Belden-Adams is the editor of the book “Photography and Failure” (2017). Her scholarly work in art history and photography has been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many journals.

UM Museum Exhibit Features Work of William Eggleston

Renowned photographer acclaimed for transforming ordinary scenes into fine art

William Eggleston's photographs will be on display at the UM Museum Sept. 13 to Jan. 17.

William Eggleston’s photographs will be on display at the UM Museum Sept. 13 to Jan. 17.

OXFORD, Miss. – Through the eye of photographer William Eggleston, nothing is ordinary, despite his photographs’ apparent depiction of ordinary things and ordinary people doing ordinary things.

Eggleston once said, “I am at war with the obvious,” a phrase curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art thought apt enough to use as the title for a 2013 exhibit of his photographs from their permanent collection.

The University of Mississippi Museum presents “The Beautiful Mysterious: The Extraordinary Gaze of William Eggleston,” an exhibit of 36 color and black-and-white photographs from the museum’s own remarkable permanent collection, including some never before exhibited.

The exhibit, sponsored by Friends of the Museum, opens Sept. 13 and runs through Jan. 14, 2017. The public is invited to an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

Eggleston, a Memphis native, acquired his first camera in 1957 at age 18. During his time studying art at Ole Miss, his interest in photography grew. He soon began to experiment with color negative film. Today, Eggleston is a world-renowned innovator of color photography, transforming ordinary scenes into fine art.

The University Museum owes its collection of Eggleston photographs to the generosity of Bill Ferris, scholar, author and founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, who personally donated them all. Ferris, a photographer and longtime friend of Eggleston, describes him as “the greatest living color photographer.”

“He is the Picasso or Faulkner of what he does,” Ferris said. “This exhibit at the museum allows everyone to know his work, which is part of the legacy of Ole Miss.”

Michael Glover, art critic for the British newspaper The Independent, agrees. His review of the 2013 opening of the permanent Eggleston installation at the Tate Modern was headlined, “Genius in colour: Why William Eggleston is the world’s greatest photographer.”

Greatest or not, art critics agree that Eggleston’s work has shaped art photography since 1976, when the Museum of Modern Art presented “William Eggleston’s Guide,” its first-ever solo exhibition of color photographs

Since that watershed exhibit, Eggleston’s work has influenced art photography and even filmmaking. Film directors citing his influence include John Huston, Gus Van Sant and David Lynch.

It was Lynch who brought Eggleston to the attention of this exhibit’s guest curator, Megan Abbott, the university’s 2013-14 John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence and an Edgar Award-winner.

Abbott has drawn her own inspiration from his photos for many of her novels. She helped choose the pieces for the exhibit, which capture scenes from more than two decades.

“To me, his photographs evoke entire worlds, not worlds we merely see, but worlds we feel, smell, touch,” she said. “When you look long enough at his photographs, like the gorgeous, lonely blue parking lot chosen as one of the exhibit’s central images, you get lost in it. You’re in another place.”

Acclaimed photographer, first cousin and Eggleston protege Maude Schulyer Clay served as consulting adviser for the exhibit. Last year, German photo book publisher Steidl produced a collection of Clay’s portraits titled “Mississippi History.” Steidl discovered her photographs while working with Eggleston on the multi-volume set “Chrome (2011) and “Los Alamos Revisited (2012).

In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a symposium Oct. 7 at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, with discussion panels at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The morning panel will include Megan Abbott, Bill Ferris and Maude Schuyler Clay, and will be moderated by author Lisa Howorth. The afternoon panel will feature Emily B. Neff, executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum; Richard McCabe, curator of photography at the Ogden Museum of Art; and UM art historian Kris Belden-Adams.

The University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, go to http://museum.olemiss.edu/  or follow the museum on Twitter and Instagram at @ummuseum and on Facebook.