'Museum of Wonder' at the Wiregrass Museum of Art explores the power of placeMatt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Jul 06 2017 8:32 AM
DOTHAN, Ala. - July 6, 2017- The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) announces the opening of "Museum of Wonder," an exhibition by self-taught artist, storyteller and collector of oddities, Butch Anthony. The Museum of Wonder, housed in a log cabin built by Anthony in Seale, Alabama, will temporarily relocate to WMA's galleries from July 21 through September 30. The exhibition will also include a mobile drive-thru museum. This re-creation of the artist's self-described "World's First Drive Thru Art and Antique Gallery," located just off of U.S. Highway 431 in Seale and constructed from shipping containers, will be housed in an Airstream trailer in WMA's parking lot and available to visitors 24 hours a day.
The town of Seale, Butch Anthony's home for most of his life, will play a prominent role in the exhibition. In recognition of Alabama's 2017 bicentennial celebration theme, "Discovering Our Places," "Museum of Wonder" will explore the importance of an artist's environment and how it shapes the process of art-making.
"Seale, Alabama, is central to this exhibition and explores the role that 'place' plays in determining the meaning and context of art. The exhibition looks at Butch Anthony's art, as well as the space around it," said WMA Director and Curator Dana-Marie Lemmer.
"There is a lot to look at," said Lemmer. "Visitors will be confronted with different types of imagery that is very similar to the Museum of Wonder in Seale. It's a fun conversation to have, too, thinking about how the physical space has changed from a log cabin to a gallery setting. The work is the same, but the way visitors interact with the work is a little different now."
century portraits he finds in antique stores or yard sales and paints over with skeletons and mythical creatures.
During the month leading up to the opening of "Museum of Wonder," a campaign of digital billboards featuring the "Intertwangled" photographs of nine Wiregrass residents, Butch Anthony, and fellow artist and Seale resident, John Henry Toney, will be displayed at four locations around Dothan.
Butch Anthony's work has been featured in numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad including The Columbus Museum (Columbus, Ga.), Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum, (LaGrange, Ga.), Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment (Huntsville, Ala.) and Black Rat Projects (London).
In 2014, Anthony had a solo exhibition titled "Vita Post Mortum" at the Akron Art Museum (Akron, Ohio). His work is in the permanent collections of the Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, Ala.), The Columbus Museum, the Akron Art Museum and Wiregrass Museum of Art.
"Museum of Wonder" will open to the public on the evening of Thursday, July 20, at WMA's Art After Hours, an event held quarterly to mark new exhibition openings. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free for museum members and $5 for the general public. An exhibition catalog published by the Wiregrass Museum of Art is forthcoming and will be available at the museum.
"Museum of Wonder" has been made possible by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in celebration of the bicentennial of Alabama's statehood and by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama.