After months of planning and preparationfresh paint, new carpet and lights, interior construction, and rearranging and hanging hundreds of works of artthe Morris Museum of Art
reopened. This is the first time since the Morris opened in 1992 that its renowned permanent collection has been completely reinstalled.
The museums staff has done an outstanding, outstanding job under great pressure and in a very short span of time. They have completely transformed the permanent collection galleries at the Morris, commented William S. Morris III, the museums founder and chairman.
The museum is nearing its eighteenth birthday, which we will celebrate in September 2010, and, in anticipation of that, this seemed an ideal time to expose the community to the richness and breadth of the museums collections, said Morris Museum director Kevin Grogan. The Morriss permanent collection has nearly doubled in size over the past eight years to approximately 5,000 objects. While, over the years, it has been possible to integrate some of the newly acquired works of art into the ongoing display of the permanent collection, it just hasnt been possible to display them all. It isnt now, either, but many more paintings than have ever been seen before are on display now, and the rearranged works of art really sing to each other.
The galleries highlight such previously unseen work as Charleston portraits by Samuel F. B. Morse, still-life paintings by Elliott Daingerfield and Isabel Cohen, and landscape paintings that represent an expanded view of the geography and topography of the South. A completely new gallery, Southerners at Play, that features paintings depicting horse racing, quail hunting, playing baseball, and shooting marbles, as well as a greatly expanded selection of contemporary art, that includes work by internationally-renowned contemporary artist Jasper Johns, Columbus, Georgia-native William Bo Bartlett, and famed Gullah artist Jonathan Green are particular highlights.
In addition to its reopened galleries, the museum is premiering a special exhibition, Regional Dialect: American Scene Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection. As museum director Kevin Grogan has noted, It is very special indeeda selection of more than fifty works of art by some of the most influential artists who worked outside the major art centers between the world wars. Though their styles differ, they shared a common commitment to the portrayal of American lifeeverything from Depression-era sharecroppers in the rural south to monuments of industry in the upper Midwest. We are very pleased to welcome Susan and John Horseman to Augusta and to share their collection with a large, eager, interested, audience.