Upcoming Exhibitions

Rocks, Paper, Memory: 
Wendy Artin’s Watercolor Paintings of Ancient Sculptures
June 5–July 26, 2015

Artin imagde

An American artist who lives in Rome, Wendy Artin has been working for over a decade on a series of watercolor paintings of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and related subjects. This exhibition will feature a selection of her paintings, not only images of ancient sculptures and landscapes but also contemporary life studies. The paintings will be set in dialogue with objects drawn from the Kelsey's collections, including works of Greek art inspired by Egyptian precedents and examples of the same figure types seen in Artin's work (such as Aphrodite rising from the sea).

Wendy Artin is one of a long line of artists who draw inspiration from antiquity. Indeed, this tradition has very ancient precedents, such as the Roman practice of making marble “copies” of famous Greek bronze statues. Artin’s visually stunning paintings offer fresh and arresting ways of looking at ancient sculptures and buildings.


Image: Wendy Artin, Phrygian Cap (Parthenon north frieze slab XXXVII), 2010, watercolor on cotton Khadi paper, 103 x 130 cm


Passionate Curiosities: 
Collecting in Egypt & the Near East, 1880s–1950s
August 28–November 29, 2015

toddWhat circumstances formed the artifact-biographies of the collected objects we see in museum display cases? Passionate Curiosities, curated by Margaret Root, invites visitors to meet some of the remarkable people—from eminent scientists to missionaries, from consuls to entrepreneurs, from scholars to swash-buckling adventurers—who forged the Egyptian and Near Eastern collections of the Kelsey Museum between the 1880s and the 1950s. 

The featured notables all have ties to the State of Michigan and often to the University itself. They include Samuel A. Goudsmit, co-discoverer of the spin of the electron in 1925; Harriet Conner, an unsung missionary in 1880s Cairo; Henry Gillman, American consul in Jerusalem in the 1880s; Dr. David Askren, an American physician living in Egypt who facilitated massive purchases for Professor Francis W. Kelsey; and A. M. Todd of Kalamazoo, a chemist, global entrepreneur, and utopian thinker who marketed his distilled mint products across the world at the turn of the last century. One famous dealer these figures worked with was the Lion of Cairo, Maurice Nahman.

On view will be some rarely displayed artifacts acquired through the efforts of these collectors, including large decorated Coptic tunics from Egypt and a volume from the Kelsey’s rare complete edition of the Napoleonic Description de l'Égypte. Wonderful vintage photographs help open up the fascinating backstories of some of the Museum’s most popular artifacts. Come discover who brought the Kelsey’s child mummy home from Egypt in the 1880s and who gave us the coffin of Djehutymose in 1906!