Current Exhibitions

Selections from the Permanent Collection

On view: 29-Aug-2017 24-Feb-2018

Selections from the Permanent Collection

The Butler’s Gallery features a small selection of art from our permanent collection. In April the Masur Museum’s permanent collection sustained major smoke damage as a result of a fire in our permanent collection storage facility. Some of the work on view was involved in the fire and was conserved by staff. Other works on view were in the process of being acquired by the museum when the fire occurred. Read the labels to learn more about individual works of art. If you would like to learn more about the fire and art conservation, please be sure to visit on a Tuesday or Thursday to see our art conservation exhibition titled The Lab.

Caroline Youngblood: Becoming the Butterfly

On view: 29-Sep-2017 27-Oct-2017

Caroline Youngblood: Becoming the Butterfly

Youngblood uses Northeast Louisiana’s landscape and old family photographs as inspiration for her artistic practice. She reclaims her roots by creating stunning oil paintings using these two types of source images. Her reclamation project mirrors her coming of age as a young artist with that of her family pursuing the American dream in the Delta in the past. She approaches her work with a reverence that is palpable. The visceral nature of her work is fitting being as you are witnessing her becoming something new when spending time with her paintings. 

Marcus Journey: Missionary

On view: 29-Aug-2017 27-Oct-2017

Marcus Journey: Missionary

Marcus Journey’s video installation is one part documentary and one part self-portrait. When Journey, a practicing Mormon, moved to Shreveport, Louisiana from the West, he felt out of place. During this time he met young Mormon missionaries who were also acclimating to the South. Sensing they were kindred spirits he became friends with many of the missionaries during their time in Louisiana. Friendship quickly turned into collaboration with Journey documenting these young men as they completed an important rite of passage in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Then, as a critical foil, he spent time with a disillusioned non-practicing Mormon for whom the mission and Mormon lifestyle was not rewarding. Journey’s Mormon identity lies somewhere in between these two parts of himself. His faith is an important part of his life and he questions it to renew his convictions and evaluate his relationships with others.

Developing Thoughts on Small Worlds

On view: 29-Aug-2017 27-Oct-2017

Lacey Stinson: Developing Thoughts on Small Worlds

Stinson’s fine oil paintings explore the many ways in which individuals create their own worlds, and often cut themselves off from others. His anthropomorphic landscapes are particularly interesting when thinking about how people perceive the world because they are incomplete. The in-progress nature of this work is fitting when thinking about this idea because perceptions are always changing. Ultimately Stinson’s are inherently positive because their intrinsic beauty mirrors humans’ indomitable optimism in the face of hardship and struggle.

Alt-Ex: Escapism: Places & Spaces

On view: 01-Sep-2017 28-Feb-2018

 Escapism: Places & Spaces

(On view at the Monroe Regional Airport Gallery)

Rodrecas Davis is an Associate Professor of Art at Grambling State University. Escapism: Places & Spaces is a small series of work the Masur Museum of Art commissioned for his exhibition at The Gallery at Monroe Regional Airport.  Davis’ rich visual language deals with themes of travel, escape, and black identity using, African folk tales, Hip Hop, Jazz, and other references. His bold color palette and crisp silhouettes create an empowering energy that invites visitors and travelers at the airport to consider their motivations for travelling, as well as their worth.   

Rodrecas Davis: Artist Statement

The works created for the show have multiple points of origin: a consideration of the actual physics of flight, an African folktale and the literary work of Toni Morrison.

In the strictest sense, fight is about breaking the bonds of gravity in order to claim a semblance of freedom. This came to mind when planning pieces to best inhabit an airport. Flight and freedom, in a contemporary sense, are class-based activities. These threads are also woven into narrative of the African Diaspora. Via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, a folktale with origins in the Igbo people speaks of the people who could fly. It’s a throughline in several feature films dealing with the effects of African slavery. As told in Virginia Hamilton’s The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales,

“They say the people could fly. Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. And they would walk up on the air like climbin’ up on a gate. And they flew like blackbirds over the fields. Black, shiny wings flappin’ against the blue up there.”

This version is reiterated in Haile Gerima’s Sankofa. In Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, the alternate telling centers on enslaved Africans claiming their liberty and walking across the water back to Africa. In both instances, it is the power of faith and self-actualization that allows one to “fly free”. This literal, and figurative flight is represented by the recurring birds in the works The King - Fego (Fly Upwards), The Queen - Fego (Fly Upwards), The Group - Ijeoma (Farewell), and The Flock - Fenaba (Fly Home). Seven birds, and seven steps to heaven.

The companion pieces created for this show (Stamps Paid) are based, in part, on a character from Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The character Stamp Paid resonates with me for two reasons. 1) He chose his name, as act of self determination and freedom, and 2) his purpose was to act as a ‘liberation agent’; he ferried souls along the Underground Railroad into a new existence. Whenever I receive a piece of metered postage, I always think of that character and how the stamps on packages are also manifestations of a type of boundless freedom. In particular, the stamps used in these works feature images of people of African and Indigenous descent that were pioneering liberation agents in their own right. Their personage is the foundation for the elevation of many.

Lastly, while all of the works are influenced by music, the title of the exhibition is a contraction of two specific songs; one by James Brown and the other by Jazz musician Donald Byrd. Both recordings are staples in Hip Hop culture, itself a type of liberation agent, and both deal with self-actualization and migration as a means of catalyzing change and claiming power. It is those notions I hope to convey in these works. Looking onward, and upward, and finding oneself elevated.

Down here on the ground, Watching sparrows fly...

-“Down Here on the Ground”  (Lyrics by Lou Rawls)


About the Alt Ex Program:

We are rolling out a public art initiative with the goal of putting more great arts entertainment and education front and center in Northeast Louisiana. Called Alt-Ex, short for Alternative Exhibitions, the initiative will feature pop up exhibitions, small-scale public art projects, and off-site artist demonstrations. The first Alt-Ex project is currently on view at the Outside Gallery adjacent to Art Alley downtown. Follow the Masur Museum of Art on Instagram @masurmuseum and on Facebook @masurmuseumofart for more information.




Alt-Ex: Entre Nosotros (Between Us) Variation II

On view: 03-Aug-2017 28-Sep-2017

Entre Nosotros (Between Us) Variation II

(On view at the Upstairs Gallery, Downtown Monroe, LA)

An ecotone is a region of transition between two biological communities. Beaches are an excellent example of this and Lionel Cruet’s installation Entre Nosotros uses this natural phenomenon to build layer after layer of rich metaphors. Cruet takes the idea of an ecotone one step further. He conflates this ecological concept with sociological and historical themes related to the Caribbean landscape. His simulated beach includes sea stars, dramatic lighting, the sound of surf mixed with dissonant ambient sounds, and a fractured, flashing sunrise, as well as the tactile qualities of sand. Each of these elements set the stage for a variety of free associations because, of course, each response to Entre Nosotros is unique.

Within this work many ideas, including some that are contradictory, invisibly wash over one another like waves lapping on a beach. The title translated into English as “Between Us,” implies an exchange between artist and viewers, and viewers with one another. The exchange of ideas within the poetic world of Entre Nosotros mirror those in the “real” world, but call into question the physical location of ideas. Where do they reside? How do competing ideas interact? When you enter Cruet’s work, you must ask yourself what it represents. Are the flashing negative images of a rising sun an inverse of what you understand his work to be? Is it possible to be more aware of a landscape when you are not physically present?

Entre Nosotros is a symbolic representation of home, a response against imperialism, an idealized tropical escape, and more. This installation is connected to myriad ideas and places, the geographic displacement and philosophical abstraction of which can only be felt, in a shifting sense, as your “location”.

Benjamin M. Hickey, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions

Cultural context: Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guttari, Juan Downey, Hélio Oiticica, Julia de Burgos, and Édouard Glissant, Dell Upton, Kelby Ouchley, Rosalind Krauss, and Michael Fried.

Lionel Cruet was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and received his Bachelor in Fine Arts from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas en Puerto Rico and a Masters in Fine Arts from CUNY - The City College of New York. He was the recipient of the Juan Downey Audiovisual Award in 2013 at the 11th Media Arts Biennale at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile. In 2015 he had a solo show, Lionel Cruet: In Between, Real and Digital at the Bronx River Art Center in New York. Cruet’s work was featured in several notable group exhibitions including: SuperReal: Alternative Realities in Photography and Video at El Museo del Barrio in New York; Colonial Comfort at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico; and the Sound Art Fair (Feria de arte sonoro) at Sala de las Artes, Universidad de Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico. His work is currently on view at The Bronx Museum of Arts’ AIM Biennale. Mind Magazine, POSTmatter, and designboom have covered his artistic practice recently. His work utilizes performance and audiovisual components to deal with ideas related to geopolitics, the natural world, and technology.

For more information about Lionel Cruet please visit lionelcruet.com. Like Lionel Cruet on Facebook @lcruet and on Instagram @lionelcruet and @lionelcruetstudio.


About the Alt-Ex Program:

We are rolling out a public art initiative with the goal of putting more great arts entertainment and education front and center in Northeast Louisiana. Called Alt-Ex, short for Alternative Exhibitions, the initiative will feature pop up exhibitions, small-scale public art projects, and off-site artist demonstrations. The first Alt-Ex project is currently on view at the Outside Gallery adjacent to Art Alley downtown. Follow the Masur Museum of Art on Instagram @masurmuseum and on Facebook @masurmuseumofart for more information.


Alt-Ex: Will Work for Food

On view: 03-Aug-2017 20-Sep-2017

Will Work For Food 

(On view at the Outside Gallery, Downtown Monroe, LA)

The Outside Gallery has a growing reputation for large, bold installations. In an unexpected way, Jenny Ellerbe’s Will Work For Food might be the boldest. Ellerbe chose to exhibit only two small works of art as a call to arms to protect one our greatest natural resources. Bees. Without these insects, we would have virtually no food, but we take them for granted everyday. We rely on bees while never really considering how thechemicals we use impact them. If you miss the images on view, you have made Ellerbe’s point. We, bees and humans, are in this together. We must work for our food! Outside Gallery, Art Alley (N. 2nd Street) and the railroad tracks, Monroe, LA. Like the Outside Gallery on Facebook @outsidegallery and on Instagram @outsidegallery318.

Below is a poem that inspired Ellerbe’s installation:

Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now 

Most likely, you think we hated the elephant, the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction. 

It must seem like we sought to leave you nothing but benzene, mercury, the stomachs of seagulls rippled with jet fuel and plastic.

You probably doubt that we were capable of joy, but I assure you we were.

We still had the night sky back then, and like our ancestors, we admired its illuminated doodles of scorpion outlines and upside-down ladles. 

Absolutely, there were some forests left! Absolutely, we still had some lakes! 

I’m saying, it wasn’t all lead paint and sulfur dioxide. There were bees back then, and they pollinated a euphoria of flowers so we might contemplate the great mysteries and finally ask, “Hey guys, what’s transcendence?”

And then all the bees were dead.

-Matthew Olzmann

About the Alt Ex Program:

We are rolling out a public art initiative with the goal of putting more great arts entertainment and education front and center in Northeast Louisiana. Called Alt-Ex, short for Alternative Exhibitions, the initiative will feature pop up exhibitions, small-scale public art projects, and off-site artist demonstrations. The first Alt-Ex project is currently on view at the Outside Gallery adjacent to Art Alley downtown. Follow the Masur Museum of Art on Instagram @masurmuseum and on Facebook @masurmuseumofart for more information.