Image courtesy of MS Museum of Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art will present New Symphony of Time, an ongoing exhibition of approximately 170 works drawn primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection that illuminates and expands the boundaries of Mississippi’s identity. The exhibition opens September 7, 2019, and remains on view with select artworks and wall text changing over time, enabling visitors to make new connections from different perspectives. The initial installation explores themes related to ancestry and memory; migration, movement, and home; shared humanity; the natural environment; and liberty for all.

The Museum’s collection of more than 6,000 objects is particularly strong in American art from circa 1865 to the present day and comprises paintings, prints and drawings, textiles, photographs, sculpture, and multi-media works. Prominent artists featured in New Symphony of Time include Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Albert Bierstadt, Elizabeth Catlett, Jeffrey Gibson, Titus Kaphar, Glenn Ligon, Deborah Luster, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Hank Willis Thomas. Mississippi artists include the state’s first native-born professional artist, James Tooley, Jr., and Richmond Barthé, McArthur Binion, Dusti Bongé, Marie Hull, Sam Gilliam, Gwendolyn A. Magee, George Ohr, and Eudora Welty.

To imagine a new way of engaging with art about Mississippi, Museum curators borrowed phrases from Margaret Walker Alexander’s epic poem “This Is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time” to organize the exhibition. Thematic areas evoke ancestral wisdom, the strength of sheer survival, and the power of imagination to create a more just, empathetic world. While each section follows a particular narrative thread, certain ideas resonate throughout, such as personal and collective memory, history and the connection to place, and the roles artists play in pursuit of civil rights and racial equity.

“This range of works and the thematic installation provide visitors with an alternate lens from which to consider the significant creative contributions of Mississippi artists and those inspired by the state. Together, they reveal aspects of a broader, American story through a diversity of voices and experiences,” said Museum Director Betsy Bradley. “By examining the past, we can help realize a more inclusive future for society. Margaret Walker Alexander’s opening lines epitomize this idea: ‘O Man, behold your destiny. Look on this life and know your future living; our former lives from these our present days now melded into one.’”

The opening week of New Symphony of Time also will mark a significant change to the Museum’s hours of operation. Beginning on Tuesday, September 10, the Museum will be open:

Tuesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday – Noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Monday

“As the reinstallation plan took shape, Museum staff also considered additional visitor services amenities we could introduce in our day-to-day operations that would make the Museum even more accessible to the community. Extending our evening hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays allows us to accommodate people whose work schedules or commutes from the outer-Jackson Metro area make it difficult for them to take advantage of the Museum’s exhibitions and offerings,” said Museum Director of Communications and Marketing Stacy Clark. “Our hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays will remain the same.”

See the lineup of opening weekend events

Walter Anderson’s Horn Island  |  Feature image: John McCrady “Rural Symposium.” Images: MMA