Complexity of Culture
Jun 5, 2020
Like many people and institutions, we have struggled to come to grips with the horrific events that took place in Minneapolis, as well as the aftershock reverberating in various parts of the nation. To try to make sense of the insensible, we have turned to what we know best to express our sorrow, support, and solitude with equality seekers.
Since inception, the Museum has strived to present exhibitions, educational programs, and community events that explore the broad and complex nature of our society as a whole. We humbly accept the charge to show concepts that keep culture alive while attesting new prejudices by remaining vigilant in the pursuit of responding to the constantly changing state of the world.
Museums are not neutral places. We are about honoring diversity, equality, inclusion, and most importantly, respect. The AMST culture goes beyond our building and collections. Our members, visitors, and staff are integral in creating an open dialogue with the community to engage in meaningful, multifaceted conversation through visual representation.
Blakely Thomas Dadson, 1978, Pollination, 2006, 32” x 77”, Oil on panel, Gift of Mr. Charles Kaffie, Corpus Christi, Texas
From AMST’s permanent collection, Blakely Thomas Dadson’s “Pollination” is an expression of the artist’s continuous exploration of commodity. On one level, monetary worth is transferred between people. On another level, what is represented on Dadson’s tender — cultural information embedded in recognizable imagery — is also exchanged.
In a constant exchange of commodities, both monetary and cultural, our nation is failing to value all human life equally. As reiterated through George Floyd’s death, the systematic devaluing and disregard for Black lives must be acknowledged in order to spark change.
Dadson’s work will be on view in the Singer Gallery beginning June 2nd as a part of an exhibition entitled The Urban Sea: Selections from the Permanent Collection.
Sharon Kopriva, American b. 1948, Seeds of Change, 2008, Mixed media on paper, 30” x 23.5”, Donated to the Permanent Collection from the Collection of Andrew Robinson and David Stone, Houston, TX
Seeds of Peace was created to be part of a traveling group exhibition commemorating the 40-year anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The show traveled across the nation and to Spain during its original run in 2003. The Art Museum of South Texas owns one of the 12 original prints that Kopriva created with the assistance of printmaker Dan Allison. This portrait expresses King’s grounding in the ideals of the U.S. Constitution, which is collaged into the fabric of his jacket. To add unique life to each print Kopriva hand-painted the white doves that emerge from King’s head. These doves represent the impact that Martin Luther King Jr. had beyond his life, as each dove symbolizes the individuals carrying out his legacy of striving for peaceful change. President Barack Obama, who is quoted on a nearby wall, can be seen as one of these doves, as can the hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country and world peacefully protesting for change.
Kopriva states that this series of prints is one of her most important works as it allows her the chance to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact in his lifetime and beyond. The pursuit of equality for Black Americans is ongoing and this work encourages the viewer to consider the influences of past leaders and how they themselves can continue striving for important change.