New Summer Exhibits at Mulvane Art Museum

Masks made out of corn husks from the mask collection.

Currently on display at the Mulvane Art Museum are two exhibits that are unique in their own way. The first exhibit featured, “The Face and The Mask,” is on display from June 22 to September 22. The second exhibit, called “Tools in Motion: Works from the Hechinger Collection” is here from June 22 to August 18.

“The Face and The Mask” features collections from Marc Lahr and Chris and John Grandmontagne. Masks speak to us of different cultures, artistic expressions, and our experience as human beings. The masks that are displayed are made of various types of mixed media, from straw to metal to wood.

The word “mask” derives from the French “masque” which signifies a “covering to hide or guard the face,” and the medieval Latin word “masca,” that signifies “mask, specter, nightmare.” Masks are usually worn on the face, but they also cover the whole head (known as a helmet mask), or the face of the mask may be placed on top of the head to look up to the heavens, the world of the spirits, or it can be positioned elsewhere on the body. The oldest known extant mask was made of stone as a funerary mask in the Near-Eastern region that is today’s Jordan and dates to about 9000 to 7000 BCE. It may be seen in the little known Musee de la Bible et de la Terre Sainte in Paris.

“Tools in Motion: Works from the Hechinger Collection,” is a light-hearted exhibition of artwork inspired by tools and hardware. John Hechinger, Sr., owner of a hardware-store empire, began collecting art in 1978 to foster a creative environment within his company. The artwork inspired the company’s livelihood and helped inspire his employees to take pride in what they do.

Hechinger’s collection started with artist Jim Dine in 1966. Some of Dine’s works are also on display. Dine, like Hechinger, founded a hardware store. Works from this exhibit are on both floors in the Mulvane Art Museum. Tools can be used as a work of art as well as for their intended use. “Tools in Motion” gives using everyday tools a whole new way of artistic inspiration.

There will be an opening reception on June 28 from 5-8 p.m. in the Mulvane Art Museum and is free to the public.