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What I learned from #istandwithMOCA

What I learned from #istandwithMOCA

November 21, 2016 // by Jaime DeSimone

When you begin a new position, there is always a learning curve. I particularly remember my first month on staff at MOCA Jacksonville--November 2014--a month now ingrained in our institutional history. One night we celebrated and toasted Angela Strassheim in recognition of her new body of work on view as part of the Project Atrium series. Then a few days later, our steadfast team underwent criticism for a particular object on display. It's not worth recapping these details, but what is worth sharing is how I learned more about what MOCA represents during a forty-eight-hour period than I ever could have expected.

Angela Strassheim Project Atrium Talks with Visitor b
Angela Strassheim discusses her Project Atrium exhibition with a visitor in November 2014. Image courtesy of Thomas Hager.

Under the fearless leadership of then-Director Marcelle Polednik, MOCA Jacksonville remained committed to its mission like never before--to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time. Not only did the Museum uphold its mission, but it took a strong position on the freedom of expression.

Now nearly two years later, these sentiments are part of the fabric of MOCA Jacksonville and will continue to be. Today, I still “stand with MOCA” and installed a selection of works as a tribute and small yet visible gesture. On view in the second-floor North galleries, you are greeted by Strassheim's photographs, familiar faces in works by Jenny Morgan and Kevin Peterson (once on view in Get Real), and new acquisitions by the late photographer Christina Hope. At first glance, one will immediately notice all of the works portray images of women--some with children, others as portraits, and some reclining. For me, however, these objects can be read as a contribution to and extension of the past conversation about freedom of expression--about the “advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time.” The works offer a glimpse at how five artists depict their subject in a variety of ways that remain relevant today.

It could be just me, but the power and spirit of #istandwithMOCA comes back to life whenever I'm in this gallery. It is our hope that you'll continue to stand with us now and forever.

RSVP for to attend the free #istandwithMOCA Day on Saturday, November 26.

istandwithMOCA Gallery Angela Strassheim Christina Hope
Photographs by Angela Strassheim and Christina Hope appear in the Permanent Collection. Image courtesy of Doug Eng.

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