Harmon and Harriet Kelley are San Antonio, Texas-based collectors of African American art. Over the last thirty years, the Kelleys have assembled one of the most comprehensive holdings of works by African American artists from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Loans from their collection are frequently exhibited in museums throughout the country. The Colby Museum is honored to have twelve works from the Kelley Collection on display in our galleries.

A collection guide listing the works and their locations is available at the Museum welcome desk. Each piece can be distinguished by this insignia on the label:

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SEED-O-MATIC

September 2, 2019 - May 8, 2020

Using the SEED-O-MATIC is straightforward: all you need is 60 cents for seeds, 50 cents for soil, and a makeshift planter. Once you’ve planted one of the five seed varieties available in this analog vending machine, leave it on your windowsill and water it according to the instructions on the envelope. In two or three months, your greens will be ready to eat. As simple as it is to operate, SEED-O-MATIC provides a point of entry into complex issues of food justice. The work was designed in 2013 by artists Emma Dorothy Conley and Halley Roberts in concert with the Center for Genomic Gastronomy (CGG), an artist-led organization working internationally to “imagine a more just, biodiverse, and beautiful food system.” Brought to campus and sighted in Cotter Union by the Colby Museum, the machine will be at Colby through May 2020.

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River Works: Whistler and the Industrial Thames

August 6, 2019 - May 10, 2020

Gourley Gallery

The artist James McNeill Whistler closely observed the commercial activity of the River Thames, and his depictions of the waterway reveal an economic network that intertwined empire, industry, and environment. River Works examines this network and places Whistler’s art within the industrial-imperial system of the nineteenth century—a system whose legacies continue to inform our world today.

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Occupy Colby is part of the Brooklyn Rail’s ongoing exhibition Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale That Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, featuring artists engaging with political and social concerns. This second iteration of the project focuses solely on environmental issues and particularly on climate change. Among the participating artists are Lauren Bon, Mel Chin, Justin Brice Guariglia, and Meg Webster.

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Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry

July 20, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Upper Jette Galleries

Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry is an exhibition of contemporary art of the First Nations people of what is now Maine and Maritime Canada. Collectively known as the Wabanaki, the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki, our people have lived in and paddled through our homeland for thousands of years. Basketmakers, canoe makers, carvers, painters, and beadworkers, the artists in this exhibition carry the beauty of their ancestors and culture into the future.

Wíwənikan…the beauty we carry is guest curated by Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot basketmaker and beadworker; and Kathleen Mundell, director of Cultural Resources. Curatorial advisors Gretchen Faulkner, director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, and Theresa Secord, a Penobscot basketmaker, consulted on the exhibition. In addition, the curators collaborated with a team of community advisors: James Francis (Penobscot), Suzanne Greenlaw (Maliseet), Brenda Moore Mitchell (Passamaquoddy), Jennifer Pictou (Micmac), and Frances Soctomah (Passamaquoddy). Julia Gray served as project manager.

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Alex Katz/Moby Dick

June 25, 2019 - March 1, 2020

The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz

While he was a student at the Cooper Union, Alex Katz enrolled in a class on illustration. The artist had first read Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick around the age of 13, and he found himself returning to the text in connection with assignments for this course.

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