Photo: Ansel Adams (1902–1984), Burro Mesa, Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Texas, gelatin silver print, 1976, copyright The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Ansel Adams: A Legacy

October 7 2011 - April 15 2012

Missoula Art Museum is proud to host this definitive exhibition by one of America’s most legendary photographers: Ansel Adams (1902–1984). The exhibition Ansel Adams: A Legacy consists of over 130 gelatin silver prints by the artist whom many consider an American master. Ansel Adams: A Legacy is a perfect fit for the programming at MAM, whose mission “strives to engage artists and audience in the creative exploration of contemporary art relevant to our community, state, and region.”

The exhibition has proven to be extremely well attended, drawing over 10,000 visitors in the first eight weeks. Many of these visitors are setting foot in MAM for the first time, and many are surprised that the museum has hosted an artist of such national prominence and importance. They soon discover that hosting such exhibitions has been our programmatic practice since the origins of the institution. This practice of presenting an eclectic mix of exhibits to inform the dialogue around contemporary art of the region is critical planning the schedule.

The Ansel Adams exhibition has been a perfect fit for MAM’s mission and message. Ansel Adams's poetic vision of nature is a symbol of the junction between art and environmentalism, a notion close to home in Montana. Adams has married his craft with an intense love for the environment and his deeply rooted expressions are appreciated by our visitors. The exhibition has been a boon for attendance and has expanded MAM’s educational programming with lectures, films, tours, and classes.

This private collection of Ansel Adams photographs is on loan courtesy of Thomas J. and Lynn M. Meredith. We are grateful for their faithful support and applaud their advocacy for education and their commitment to continue to celebrate the legacy of this photographer. The exhibition served as the core education program for the Fifth Grade Art Experience, which has brought in over 1,500 fifth graders from Missoula and beyond. In its 25th year, this program is generously co-sponsored by the Art Associates of Missoula.

The selection of the Ansel Adams exhibit has solidified the institution and its courage to take risks, step up educational challenges, and proudly believe in the role of contemporary arts in our lives.

MAM will never be an institution steeped in any one particular philosophy, practice, or person. It is independent. The hunger for culture by the museum leadership has been ceaseless and the vision for the museum to play a part in the cultural fabric of Missoula remains at the core of its identity.

Major sponsor: Sierra Club

Producing sponsor: First Security Bank

Media sponsor: The Missoulian

Educational sponsor: Rocky Mountain School of Photography