Sep 262013
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Primary Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Primary Association, The Children’s Friend

A story told by Mahonri’s dear childhood friend Lee Greene Richards:

“I had gathered up a few choice pieces of wood which had fallen from the top of our old high posted fence. Hon (Mahonri) and I had bought a fifty cent set of wood carving tools, purchased at the Z.C.M.I. One day we decided to try our skill at wood carving. I remember very distinctly that the head Hon carved was of Julius Caesar; and when we had done our stuff, I took some gold bronze and painted them. Hon hurried home to show his mother his creation, which he had copied from a picture we found in a book. His mother gave it the place of honor, on the mantle in the parlor. One day a man called at the Young home to try and sell a subscription for an illustrated encyclopedia of useful household information. He noticed the gold bust on the mantle and picked it up and turned it around to study it from several angles. He inquired who had made it and, when told her son only eleven had carved it, the man was thrilled. “He is a genius,” were the man’s words. When Hon’s mother told him what the man had said, this pleased him. Hon was not slow to pass the good news to his companions. The story spread and soon the children were jokingly calling Mahonri Young “The Genius.”

Excerpt taken from “A Song of Joys: The Biography of Mahonri Mackintosh Young.”

Young’s work is currently on display in the Shaping America exhibitionShop Mahonri Young books and prints at the MOA Store.

Sep 112013

Royal Nebeker Studio

“Royal Nebeker is a highly regarded Oregon narrative painter and teacher.  During his academic tenure, he was the Director of The Art Institute on the Oregon Coast, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Clatsop Community College where he served as Art Department Chair for many years.

Born in San Francisco in 1945 to a Norwegian mother and Danish/Swiss father, Nebeker has always been fascinated with Norwegian art and culture. He studied in California at the Claremont College and Otis Art Institute, earned an MFA degree from Brigham Young University in 1970 and completed a post graduate degree, equivalent to an MFA from the National School of Fine Arts in Oslo, Norway in 1972.

Throughout his career, Nebeker has focused on the human figure.  His work is strongly influenced by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, the German Expressionists, and by the Vienna Seccessionist artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and others.

As an artist, Nebeker creates highly personalized narratives that are based on dreams and memories, often embellished with words and notations that help tell the story and drive his narrative.  Some of his works are based on personal events in the artist’s life, while other works are based on literature. Through powerful, evocative, and enigmatic imagery, Nebeker paints what art historian Stephen C. McGough has called a reflective journey of his (the artist’s) life, exploring such universal themes as hope, fear, joy, anguish, sexuality, spirituality, power, vulnerability, and the dynamics of personal relationships.”

Excerpt found in “Royal Nebeker: Dreams and Allusions” by Richard A. West.

Come to the BYU Museum of Art to see the exhibition, Royal Nebeker: An Artist’s Journey, in its final week.  The artist, Royal Nebeker will be speaking on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm in the Museum of Art Auditorium about his work.


May 242013
Edward Burtynsky, Manufacturing #17

Edward Burtynsky, Manufacturing #17

The Canadian photographer Edward Burtysnky transforms typical landscape photography into aesthetically-pleasing drama with an underlying, provoking environmental agenda. His images address issues of overpopulation and overproduction without making conclusions for the viewer. This ambiguity in his photographs is what makes his art instigating and exciting—it is up to the viewer to interpret the works, which in turn reveals much about their character.

In an interview with the Nevada Museum of Art ( about his series of oil field photographs spanning from California to the Middle East, Burtynsky spoke about his experiences photographing the marble quarries in Vermont. He was desperate to photograph a specific section of the quarry, and also wanted a donation of marble to make countertops in his home. Burtynsky proposed a trade: the marble and photography rights for several of his photographs printed on a generous scale. They agreed, and he rolled out several prints to show them. Burtynsky received an uncomfortable silence. Upon inquiring for a response, they laughed. “Why would anybody want one of these?” the director asked, and the rest of the workers laughed even more. The pictures of the quarry that Burtysnky showed them were, in fact, the zones in which the brilliant marble had been exhausted. To them, they were a horrible reminder that their business could no longer eradicate money from those areas, and they disliked the images because of this. About this situation, Burtynsky said, “Humans can really reveal themselves through what they choose to see as the most important or meaningful detail in an image.”

Come to the BYU Museum of Art to see the exhibition, Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime through November 18, 2013. A catalog of Burtynsky’s photographs, Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, is available for purchase in the MOA Store.


Feb 072013
Annie Poon Installation at BYU Museum of Art

Annie Poon Installation at BYU Museum of Art

American Award-winning artist Annie Poon has shown her playful and provocative stop-motion animation, sculptures, cartoons, and installations extensively through venues from Nickelodeon to the MOMA. As a Mormon artist, Poon is also known for her stimulating religious works. She draws much of her inspiration from her family relationships, particularly her childhood:

“As high school drew to a close, the family’s finances began to rise closer towards those of the royals. The home soon populated with fake antique furniture.  Real antique furniture followed and the last time I went home I found gilded oil paintings of the Virgin Mary on the bathroom walls.  Mom had gone all the way to Cuzco to pick them out.  Now at 60, She conducts bilingual tours at the local art museums.  She keeps incredibly fit playing tennis every day followed by voracious reading about the royals.  In her dotage her reading has even expanded to include royal mistresses and court portrait artists.  I think she finally lives in the splendor she always dreamed of.  When I call on the phone she almost always concludes our talk saying something to the effect of, ‘Well Annie I’ve really got to get in the tub! I’m almost finished reading ‘La Infanta Eulalia of Spain’ or ‘I’ve got to go, Enrique is building me a rack for my spools of thread.’ Somehow in adulthood my bewilderment and resentment of these strange customs has melted into a magical crush for a way of life that is more beautiful than reality could ever be.”

Excerpt taken from Poon’s personal blog,

Come see Annie Poon’s installation featuring her Die Wicked Die series in the Museum of Art’s We Could Be Heroes: The Mythology of Monsters and Heroes in Contemporary Art exhibit through April 6, 2013.

Jan 312013
Image from Green Box Homes Blog

Image from Green Box Homes Blog

In 1935, from a small house nestled in the quiet upstate New York city of Rochester, two lifelong friends revolutionized the way the world saw color. Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr. had experimented for seventeen years attempting to improve the quality of color film after continual disappointment in the film they saw used in moving pictures. Their efforts resulted in a new technology they called Kodachrome film. Both men were accomplished musicians with respective celebrated careers—Godowsky a concert violinist and Mannes a concert pianist. Godowsky married Francis Gershwin (the sister of George), and the Godowsky home became a local center of art and music. The story goes that while working in the darkness in their lab, the two musicians measured film development times by whistling the last movement of Brahms’ C-minor Symphony.

Forty years later, photographer Alex Webb, raised in upstate New York, switched from using black and white to color film. After decades of artistic success photographing around the world, Webb and his wife, Rachel Norris Webb, decided to return to their home state and pay homage to those founding legacies of film, Mannes and Godowsky. Due to the popularity of digital photography, Kodak’s production of the once-famous Kodachrome film was discontinued in 2009. Alex Webb shot the last of his remaining personal collection of Kodachrome—which he used exclusively for 30 years—on the streets of Rochester, New York and at the home of Leopold Godowsky.


Come to First Fridays at the MOA: The Vibrant Caribbean. Friday, February 1, 2013 from 7 to 10pm. Enjoy and evening of art, music, and food inspired by Alex Webb’s captivating images of Caribbean life at the BYU Museum of Art’s current exhibition Alex Webb: The Suffering of Light: Thirty Years of Photographs.

Jan 292013
andy warhol with camera

© Time Inc.

During his brief stint at the University of Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol often missed class, although his desires to learn and explore were insatiable. He spent many evenings with his friend Philip Pearlstein, talking late into the night as they discussed class material and completed the assignment for the following day. Warhol’s influential teacher Robert Lepper used the term “social flux” to describe a society in which the domestic home environment was considered to be the most central. His students examined human behavior in short stories, observed how clothing can reveal status and personality, and examined their own histories and environments. Lepper taught the Socratic view that success is dependent on self-knowledge. Warhol’s exploration with the everyday eventually sparked the framework for his conceptual Pop art.  When asked in 1963 by critic G. R. Swenson why he painted soup cans, Warhol replied, “I used to drink it, I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years.”