“Grave Matters - Art of Memory and Mourning”

Loveland Art Museum, Loveland, CO - May 27th - August 13th, 2006
Left) Alabaster Head of St. John the Baptist - Maltwood Art Museum &
Gallery, Victoria, BC Canada

(Right) Headstone and Madonna photos Laurie Zuckerman
Earlier this Spring I talked with Janice Currier (the curator of the Loveland Art Museum) about an exhibition that they were doing starting in May that
focuses on how different cultures construct art and sculpture that deal with death and ceremonies around death. The exhibition will focus on many
different cultures; Indonesian, African, Meso-American, Chinese, Peruvian and Greco-Roman grave goods, and will also include photographs, paintings
and modern art.

Initially the only culture represented from Africa in the exhibition was Egypt, but we discussed how other cultures in Africa had very interesting objects that
were used in burial/funeral ceremonies, as well as objects that were used as reliquary figures.

We met and discussed it further, and she looked at a few objects that I had in my collection that dealt with this theme, and I’m happy to say that more
cultures from Africa will now be represented in this exhibition, I will have a group of 5 objects on display.

The primary focus of this exhibition is education, and the goal is to develop an awareness of how different cultures around the world deal with death and
the art forms that accompany it, from the usual gravestones that we are commonly used to seeing, to masks and statues and sculptures that were used as
commemorative or protective figures for the dead.
Below is an excerpt from The Coloradoan Newspaper of Ft Collins Colorado from a write up that was done on the exhibition:

A dying art
'Grave Matters' exhibit tells a history of how the dead are remembered

"Death doesn't have to be morbid.

It can be colorful, candid and even comedic at times.

"(In Mexico) people make death their friend because it's close to you all the time," said Janice Currier, curator of exhibits for the Loveland Museum/Gallery
as she installed pieces for the museum's upcoming show, Grave Matters: The Art of Memory and Mourning.

Currier hopes that when people see the more than 100 photos, drawings, paintings and 3-D installations they won't be offended. The museum isn't
making light of death, but examining the way people around the globe have used death and mourning as inspiration over the centuries.

"Death is sad, but art related to death can be quite beautiful and vibrant. There is a real sense of joyousness in many of these pieces," she said.

"People hear that the title of the exhibit is "Grave Matters" and they think everything will be black and gray," said Tom Katsimpalis, the museum's curator
of interpretation.

The first thing audiences will see when they walk into the exhibit will be the overwhelming array of oranges, yellows, reds and golds of Laurie Zuckerman's
installation "Forbidden Fruit.""

Directly to the left of that installation is a group of African objects, some brightly painted and some adorned with colorful beads and feathers.

"While the exhibit focuses on the beauty of memorials, it doesn't shy away from controversy.

Included in "Grave Matters" are grave issues, like war and politics as well as the beauty in funerary masks, alters and medieval and religious art. Protests
of the Vietnam and Iraqi wars are included in the exhibit as are photos commemorating veterans and icons related to the holocaust.

This exhibit has been Currier's dream for a long time.

It began several years ago with the desire to bring the Head of St. John the Baptist to Loveland. His Attending Saints, too.

Not their actual heads obviously, but a carved and gilded alabaster tablet, "Head of St. John the Baptist With Attending Saints."

Owned by the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery in Victoria, British Columbia, the tablet was first used as an altar piece and is one of the finest examples
of medieval art in North America, Currier said.

It gave her the idea to try to put together an exhibit based on altars and funerary art, but it quickly avalanched into something much more. While the
theme of death remained, the exhibit took on social, political and cultural aspects.

"I thought, 'I won't live long enough to show all of these,' " she joked. "

Originally published May 25, 2006

Below are a few photos I took at the opening of the exhibition.
From left to right: Senufo Kponyungo mask (Ivory Coast), Bali elephant mask (Grasslands, Cameroon), Kota mbulu ngulu reliquary figure (Gabon),
Hongwe bwete reliquary figure (Gabon), Bamileke beaded elephant mask with horse tail beaded fly whisk and red feather headdress (Cameroon).

The objects were displayed right as you walked into the gallery, right across from a
huge shrine that took up almost an entire wall.
There were some Egyptian and Pre-Columbian  objects loaned by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, a group of modern works were
displayed by Denver artist
Jerry Vigil, there were memory jugs which were very interesting, various shrines and lots of photographs of cemeteries,
roadside memorials, war memorials and much more. It is a very interesting exhibition!

I will be adding more photos of other objects in the exhibition soon, as well as more information about the exhibition as well.
‘Grave Matters’ comes to Loveland Art Museum and Gallery

By Phyllis Walbye
The Daily Reporter-Herald

Death is certainly a grave matter, but some artists and writers decide not to give in to its gravity.
Certainly not Woody Allen, who said: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work ... I want to achieve it through not dying.”

And — “It is impossible to experience one's death objectively and still carry a tune.”

And most tellingly — “Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering — and it’s all over much too soon.”

The Loveland Museum and Gallery and various contributing artists consider perspectives on death in an exhibition titled “Grave Matters: Art of Memory
and Mourning.”

The exhibition opens Saturday at the Loveland Museum and Gallery and will run through Aug. 13. The public is invited to an opening reception 1-3 p.m.
Saturday May 27th featuring Tombstone Pizza as refreshments.

The “Grave Matters” exhibition includes art and select objects and photographs from local, regional and international sites regarding commemorations for
the dead.

Information about the exhibit states that it “reveals the diversity existing in cultural traditions and perspectives of death and rituals of remembrance.”

Items featured in “Grave Matters” include photographs of cemeteries by Laurie Zuckerman, Mark Levick, Ed Harris and David Habben; a Day of the Dead
altar and smaller altars created by Zuckerman; and collected memory jugs and Victorian ephemera.

There are Egyptian, Meso-American, Chinese, Peruvian, African and Greco-Roman grave goods; an alabaster carving of St. John’s head created as an
off-shoot of the Medieval English tomb industry; and a Holocaust portfolio by Martin Mendelsberg.

Included are Day of the Dead and santeros imagery by Jerry Vigil and ceremonial hangings from Sarawak, Kalamantan.

Art pieces include drawings and paintings by Valentin Okorokov, Rita Derjue and Iliana Barbu.

Showing concurrently with “Grave Matters” is an exhibition of photographs of Colorado cemeteries by Loveland writer and photographer Kenneth Jessen.

‘Grave Matters’ programs are offered

Several special programs and workshops will be presented in conjunction with “Grave Matters: Art of Memory and Mourning.”

Kenneth Jessen will present a slide program titled “Colorado Cemeteries” at the Loveland Museum and Gallery at 2 p.m. June 4. Admission is free.

The program “Loveland’s Lakeside Cemetery” will be presented by Ed Fisher at 7 p.m. June 8; admission is free.

“Day of the Dead Traditions and Altar Making” will be presented by Laurie Zuckerman at 1 p.m. June 11.

A Tour of Loveland’s Lakeside Cemetery with Ed Fisher will be at 10 a.m. June 24; call the museum for information.

Laurie Zuckerman will present workshops 12:30-3:30 p.m. June 25 and July 16 featuring the creation of “Memory Jugs.” Call the museum for information
about fees and registration.

“World Cemeteries” will be presented by Kenneth Jessen at 2 p.m. July 9; admission is free.

Youth activities and events will also be offered. Call the Loveland Museum and Gallery at 962-2410 for information.

Visiting the museum:
Disabled people needing reasonable accommodation to attend an exhibition or event at the Loveland Museum and Gallery may call at 962-2410 or TDD
962-2833 for information on assistance. Call as far in advance as possible.

The Loveland Museum and Gallery is at Fifth and Lincoln in downtown Loveland. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through
Friday; Thursday evening until 9 p.m.; 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday; and noon until 4 p.m. Sunday.

The museum is closed on Mondays and national holidays. For more information about exhibitions and events, call 962-2410.
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