Birmingham Museum of Art announces exciting 2022 season with new exhibits + events

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Expanding Darshan
The work of Manjari Sharma will be displayed at the Birmingham Museum of Art later this year. (Manjari Sharma)

The Birmingham Museum of Art is back! After slowly reincorporating in-person events to their calendar last year, the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) is heading into 2022 with a full slate of beloved programs and new exhibits. Keep reading to learn more about upcoming exhibits and programs at the BMA that you don’t want to miss.

Get excited for the Birmingham Museum of Art’s 2022 season

Birmingham Museum of Art
The Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden at the Birmingham Museum of Art. (Matthew Niblett / Bham Now)
  • Birmingham Museum of Art: 205.254.2565 | Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
  • Address: 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10AM to 5PM; Sunday, Noon to 5PM; Closed Monday
  • Price: General Admission is FREE

“For the first time since the pandemic began, we are thrilled to present a full slate of in-person programs and exhibitions for the spring / summer season, offering our visitors a deeper level of engagement and connection through art and culture. Our exhibitions range in topic and breadth from ancient Indian sculptures to a large and colorful contemporary installation portraying Birmingham legends. Our programming will offer intimate ArtBreaks in the galleries with experts, lectures by world-renowned artists, lively Heritage Festivals, and the return of our fun and famous Art On The Rocks. This season, we’ll also celebrate Magic City Fashion Week, Pride Month, and invite the community to an evening open house where they can get to know all of our many collections. The arts are thriving in Birmingham and we are ready to celebrate!”

Graham C. Boettcher, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art

Exhibitions

1. Expanding Darshan: Manjari Sharma, To See and Be Seen

  • When: March 19, 2022 to January 15, 2023
  • Where: Pizitz Galleries, Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Price: Free

In March, the Birmingham Museum of Art will unveil their newest exhibition, Expanding Darshan: Manjari Sharma, To See and Be Seen. This vivid exhibit will combine select masterworks from the Birmingham Museum of Art’s diverse historic collections with the work of Manjari Sharma, a Brooklyn-based photographer who was born and raised in Mumbai, India.

Through this incredible combination, Expanding Darshan will introduce viewers to significant deities in the Hindu pantheon and their relevance in both art and faith. The name of the exhibit refers to the Hindu concept of darshan—the reciprocal beholding of the divine.

“Darshan is a series consisting of photographically recreated, classical images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses that are pivotal to mythological stories in Hinduism. For centuries, the way that we have experienced darshans (metaphysical connection established upon sight) is via laying gaze upon a molded figure, a carved statue or an illustration that represents a likeness to avatars described in Hindu scripture. The goal was to turn multidimensional memories of sculptures and ornamental paintings of Hindu Gods, into two-dimensional photographs. This series of images invites the viewer to consider a photograph as means of spiritual engagement.”

Manjari Sharma

2. Ways of Seeing: Sports and Games 

BMA
(Birmingham Museum of Art)
  • When: May 10, 2022 to May 2023
  • Where: Bohorfoush Gallery, Birmingham Museum of Art

Did you know that the modern Marathon race was inspired by the legend of Pheidippides, an Athenian soldier who ran to Sparta (and back!) to request their help against the invading Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490BC? Or that the famous Lascaux cave paintings, created 17,000 years ago, depict wrestlers?

From ancient times to now, art has emphasized the important role that sports have played in societies across the globe. Just in time for the arrival of The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Ways of Seeing: Sports and Games will showcase the influential relationship between sports/games and art in an exhibition drawn from across the Birmingham Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

3. Wall to Wall: Rico Gatson, presented by PNC

RG
Artist Rico Gaston will be adding an abstract composition to the walls of the Birmingham Museum of Art! (Birmingham Museum of Art)
  • When: July 15, 2022 to July 2023
  • Where: Museum Lobby, Birmingham Museum of Art

In 2020, the Birmingham Museum of Art invited Alaska-based artist Merritt Johnson to transform the walls in the Museum lobby in the first Wall to Wall interactive exhibit series. This year, the Birmingham Museum of Art welcomes Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Rico Gaston as the second artist in the Wall to Wall series.

In the months before Art on the Rocks, Rico Gaston will begin adding a colorful, life-size image of an iconic Birmingham figure and an abstract composition to the walls of the Museum lobby, hoping to bring the energy from the Civil Rights movement into the present. During Art on the Rocks, the Museum’s signature program, guests will be able to paint alongside Rico to help him finish the exhibit.

Major Programs

BMA
(Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Fans of the Birmingham Museum of Art will be thrilled to see the return of several major programs in the 2022 season. The BMA’s major programs—such as Art After 5 and Art of the Rocks—attract diverse audiences, with hundreds of visitors attending each event. The best part? Aside from Art on the Rocks (for which a ticket purchase is required), all major programs at the BMA are offered to the community free of charge.

Mark your calendars for The (Spring) ReFRAME on Friday, March 18th! This community celebration, sponsored by Medical Properties Trust, kicks off the BMA’s spring season with a fun night at the Museum & highlights both the permanent collections and recently-opened exhibits, such as Expanding Darshan: Manjari Sharma, To See and Be Seen. BONUS: Hear from artist Manjari Sharma at a special, in-person lecture! Space is limited + registration is required.

Each quarter the Birmingham Museum of Art hosts a Heritage Festival sponsored by Medical Properties Trust. On Saturday, March 19th from 11AM-3PM, visit the BMA for the 11th Annual Holi Festival to see Indian dance performances, live music, participate in art-making actives and celebrate the arrival of Spring with the throwing of colors in the BMA’s parking lot!

Art After 5 is returning to the BMA! This bimonthly after-hours series features an evening of art, drinks, music and maker activities. In April, the BMA invites you into A Different World for this Art after 5. Inspired by the popular 90s sitcom of the same name, this Art after 5 celebrates retro attire through the lens of up cycled fashion. Bring your own repurposed outfit with the fashion of yesteryear to enjoy the night! While there, attend the fifth annual Recycled Runway fashion show presented by Bib & Tucker Sew-Op, dances to 90s hip-hop tunes and take part in art activities to embrace yourself in all the nostalgia you forgot you needed!

On Friday, July 15th, Art on the Rocks will make a glorious return to the BMA. For more than 15 years, this night of live music, artist performances, DJs, signature cocktails and more has been one of Birmingham’s most popular summer events. This year, the centerpiece of Art on the Rocks—an interactive community mural project—will utilize attendee’s talent to finish artist Rico Gaston’s exhibit!

BMA
2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year at the Birmingham Museum of Art! (BMA)

Want to stay up-to-date on these and other upcoming in-person and and virtual programs coming to the Birmingham Museum of Art? Be sure to follow the Birmingham Museum of Art on their website, on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn!

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Nathan Watson

Originally from Leiper's Fork, Tennessee. Birmingham-Southern '19.

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