Montclair Art Museum

Montclair, NJ



The People's Choice: Favorites from the Montclair Art Museum Permanent Collection


The Montclair Art Museum presents a unique exhibition, The People's Choice: Favorites from the Permanent Collection, composed entirely of artworks chosen from its website by members, neighbors, and friends of the Museum. The exhibition opens February 13, 2000. The People's Choice features more than 70 works selected for their special, personal significance by 103 people of all ages and walks of life. Statements explaining their choices will accompany the display of the artwork.

The Montclair Art Museum, founded in 1914, has a national and international reputation for its unique collection of American art and Native American artifacts which includes more than 15,000 objects, over 600 of which represent the development of American painting from the mid-18th century to the present, as well as Native American artifacts from every region of the United States. Drawn exclusively from this collection, The People's Choice features well-known and beloved works by Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Asher B. Durand, Louise Nevelson, Hale Woodruff, Robert Henri, Romare Bearden, Dan Namingha and many others.

Ellen Harris, Executive Director of The Montclair Art Museum, conceived of the exhibition. "In The People's Choice exhibition, our community has an exciting vehicle for expressing their interests, and communicating what they personally find beautiful or stirring about art. Their preferences and motivations are as fascinating as the breadth of images on display in the exhibition."

The exhibition was organized by Twig Johnson, MAM's Curator of Native American Art. "We invited a diverse group of people to help us 'curate' this exhibition by searching MAM's Permanent Collection on our website, submitting the titles of their favorite works, and describing the reasons for their choice." According to Ms. Johnson, "Organizing The People's Choice has been exciting because its focus has been the personal, individual aspect of art. From the wealth of choices submitted, it's clear that art is personally provocative--images evoke different emotions in people."

Bryan White, Renaissance School Student, Montclair, said "The title of my favorite painting is called War Shirt. I think it represents all of the wars and the bloodshed of all the soldiers who fought in the wars. This particular painting catches my eye because I am interested in all the wars throughout our country's time." George Abrams, Seneca Nation of Indians, Director of The Yager Museum, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY added: "Jaune's ongoing work and life long commitment to American Indian interests, to my mind, is reflected in her dedication to the education of her viewers in the long history of art expressions from the prehistoric to the contemporary. Each of these expressions can be found in her work, such as the War Shirt. The dynamic, contemporary, and reflective quality embodies not only the artist herself, but also engages the viewer directly in the multifarious cultural and historical elements that are found in the present culture of today's American Indian people." (left: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Salish/Cree/Shoshone, b. 1940), War Shirt, 1992, Oil and mixed media collage on canvas diptych, Museum purchase; funds provided by Tamar and Emil Weiss and prior gifts of Roland B. Swart, 1993.27A-B)

Henry Seltzer, Renaissance School Student, Montclair, said "I chose this work [ Monument Rock, Mouth of Echo Canyon ]because it depicts many aspects of art. Positive and negative space is used in this photograph to allow the viewer to center on the large rock that is centered within the image area. Lighting is used to show powerful shadows of the hills and of the rock. It is also interesting how the sky is lighter around the rock. Furthermore, it is amazing that a rock of that size could appear on the side of a hill." (left: Andrew Russell (1830-1902), Monument Rock, Mouth of Echo Canyon, 1867-68, Albumen print, 11 15/16 x 9 1/4 inches, Museum purchase; Acquisition Fund, 1997.14.1)

"Asking people within our community to 'curate' an art exhibition has given us an opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous diversity of our constituency," notes Gail Stavitsky, MAM's Chief Curator. "It's fascinating to see the tremendous scope of choices in The People's Choice. Clearly, individual appreciation of the visual arts is a cohesive and compelling theme for a diverse museum exhibition."

MAM's website, debuted in 1998 as a showcase for images from the Museum's Permanent Collection. This database now contains more than 200 images, from 17th century portraits to contemporary Native American baskets and ceramics. Internet users can peruse MAM's Permanent Collection, as well as keep abreast of its current and future exhibitions, consult programming and educational calendars, purchase gifts and catalogues from the Museum Store, and even enroll as MAM members and Art Studio students. The website is linked to many arts and entertainment websites, as well as art education sites, and has been featured in regional and national publications surveying museum websites.


Rev. 2/6/00

Read more about the Montclair Art Museum in Resource Library Magazine.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 12/23/10

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