Missoula Museum of Art reopens after air conditioning repairs with major exhibits | Arts & Theater

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The Missoula Art Museum reopens its galleries on Saturday after a three-week closure while its air conditioning system was repaired.

The museum will be back to normal hours, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free entry.

To honor the late Missoula Mayor John Engen, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer, MAM is displaying a contemplative portrait of him by Montana painter Megan Moore in the lobby.

The closure delayed the opening to the public of a major exhibit, “New Monuments,” by Raven Halfmoon. The ceramic sculptor, from the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma, was a longtime artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for Ceramic Arts in Helena, among other places in the state.

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She constructed three large-scale sculptures: two female heads and one atop a horse.

“I see (the sculptures as) many sides of me,” Halfmoon said in the statement. “But they also represent multiple generations – my great-great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, my cousins, my ancestors and what they created.”

She built them piece by piece from the ground with coils of clay. Senior curator Brandon Reintjes said one weighed around a thousand pounds. They are decorated with letters, including his name, which confront contemporary issues, including racism, according to the statement, as well as images related to his legacy.

“It’s ambitious work. The scale is amazing and the way it hits you when you walk into the room,” he said.

His work has been featured in Monthly ceramics and reached in mainstream outlets like vogue after gallery exhibitions in New York. Reintjes said nationally she was getting some well-deserved attention and they were excited to show off the work she had done in Montana.

The MAM is working to bring Halfmoon to Missoula for a dedicated opening and reception. The art will remain on view until December 31.

Elsewhere in the building, Marilyn Lysohir of Moscow, Idaho, has an exhibit opening Sept. 2 called “The Dark Side of Glare,” which includes a massive ceramic sculpture of a World War II ship, as well as paintings, mixed media and audio of interviews with veterans.

Other current exhibitions include “Re-Imagining Landscape” (until October 15). The MAM has borrowed a work entitled “Sunflower” from the famous painter James Lavadour (Walla Walla/Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla). They paired the piece, five oils on panel depicting smoky, ocher mountainsides, including one lacerated by fire, with landscape works from the museum’s permanent collection that take less conventional views of the natural world. Artists include the late Montana painter Russell Chatham, as well as Kristi Hager, Walter Hook, Sheila Miles, Bill Stockton and many more.

Upstairs until September 10, you can see “The World is Round,” by photographer Todd Forsgren, who teaches at Rocky Mountain College in Billings and runs a gallery there. His works span styles, media, years, with playful and thoughtful experiments that explore what photography can do and look like.

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