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'A Tale of Two Collections' exhibition opens at the Mississippi Museum of Art
Benny Andrews (1930-2006), Critical Moment, 1998. textile, thread, paint, canvas, 37 x 26 in. Gift of the Benny Andrews Foundation. Tougaloo College Art Collections. 2018.095.

JACKSON, MISS.- The Mississippi Museum of Art and Tougaloo College present A Tale of Two Collections, the third joint exhibition in its Arts and Civil Rights Initiative, a partnership between the Museum and the College that leverages the art collections of both institutions to foster community dialogue and interpretation about civil rights issues, past and present.

A Tale of Two Collections was organized by Dr. Redell Hearn, Curator of Art and Civil Rights for the Museum and the College.

“This exhibition offers one chapter in the visual story of how the Museum and the College have maintained a decades-long relationship centered on sharing their art collections,” said Dr. Hearn.

By showcasing works from eight artists held in both collections—Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Marie Hull, Hale Woodruff, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Benny Andrews, and Thomas Eloby, along with two of the earliest working artists representing each collection, Robert Seldon Duncanson and Heppie EnEarl Wicks—the exhibition highlights works that are complementary in artist, and in some cases subject matter, despite being acquired during a period of time when the boundaries that separated segments of the local art community along lines of race were clearly defined and vehemently maintained—the 1960s.

“The Museum and the Tougaloo Art Collections have been collaborators since the Museum's opening in 1978. The Museum exhibited works on paper from the College’s collection in its then new downtown museum location in its first year of operations and worked with Tougaloo to tour its collection to various communities statewide. While this exhibition calls attention to the practice of building separate art collections for separate audiences in segregated cities like Jackson during the 20th century, it also demonstrates the power and potential of sharing collections and building shared communities of visitors in the 21st century and in the future,” said Museum Director Betsy Bradley.

“We are very excited about the opening of A Tale of Two Collections. It is our opportunity to build on the long-standing partnership between the College and the Museum, which is an important part of Tougaloo's rich history, and introduce the collections to the larger community. We plan to continue to use our art collection as a teaching tool, a way of building community and engaging more people in the significance of art in our lives. We expect to sponsor similar exhibitions in the future,” said Tougaloo College President Beverly W. Hogan.

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