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NMU’s DeVos Art Museum seeks color, co-habitation with environment

November 7, 2008
By MIRIAM MOELLER, Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - The DeVos Art Museum is looking for your old Autumn Ridge, Midnight Song or Ivory Tower.

The museum is currently collecting old latex paint - in any color, no matter how oddly named - for the art exhibit "Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art," scheduled to open in January.

"I think this show in particular is not about how we can create new things, it's talking about distribution of resources and larger social issues that are tied to the environment," said Melissa Matuscak, director and curator for the DeVos at Northern Michigan University.

Article Photos

Melissa Matuscak, director and curator for the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University, shows off old donated latex paint that will be used for a project in the upcoming show “Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art.” (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)

Thirteen artists will display work that has been recycled or offers awareness of environmental and social problems. The traveling show is curated by the director of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and has toured across the country, Matuscak said. Marquette is the show's last stop.

The paint project is one of the show's community projects, designed to raise awareness of recycling and community spirit.

Unwanted paint from area will be collected from area residents through Dec. 14. After that, a sample of each donated paint color will be created, Matuscak said. Then all the paints will be mixed together to be applied to one of the walls in the DeVos.

The paint sample swatches - much like the ones found in a paint store - will be displayed on the wall.

"One of the gallery walls gets painted and that represents the community as one," Matuscak said. "Each paint tag gets hung over the color to represent the individual. The art part is the creative idea that the artist came up with that can be transferred to every community."

Besides the paint project, Michael Rakowitz's inflatable shelter for the homeless - made out of recycled materials - will be part of the show.

"He befriended some homeless people," Matuscak said. "He wanted to come up with something like a portable housing made out of recycled materials with an arm that hooks up to hot air vents from buildings."

Another artists' group called Free Soil came up with a display that demonstrates to consumers how far the food that they eat has travelled and its impact on the environment.

"I think people sometimes don't realize that their carbon footprint is affected by the food they buy," Matuscak said. "I think the issues brought up in the show are really relevant globally, but they're also relevant locally."

The show will run from Jan. 19 through March 30.

Old latex paint can be dropped off every weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. at the DeVos.

Today, Saturday and on Nov.14 and 15 from noon until 5 p.m., it can be dropped off at the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum.

Paint can also be dropped off at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center Nov. 21, 22, 28 and 29 from noon until 5 p.m.

For more information, call 227-1481.



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