For Immediate Release

May 24, 2012


Gifts of Art by Amherst College Alumni Artists
to Be Featured in 2013 Exhibition

AMHERST, Mass.-The Mead Art Museum announced today the acquisition of works by four Amherst College alumni: Elizabeth Hoak-Doering '88, Michael Huey '87, Michael Mazur '57 and Stephen Petegorsky '75. Conceptually and stylistically wide-ranging, the new drawings, photographs, and paintings will be featured in a large, yearlong exhibition of recent acquisitions planned for 2013.


"The Mead is committed to holding exceptional works by the college's most distinguished alumni artists, and these new additions certainly fit that bill," said Elizabeth Barker, the Mead's director and chief curator. "Since all of the acquisitions involve gifts to the museum from the artists, or from their surviving family members, we also extend our deep gratitude for their generosity. All of us at the museum look forward to sharing these compelling works with the public next year."


Originally from Philadelphia, Elizabeth Hoak-Doering gained a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from Amherst in 1988 and received graduate degrees from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and Boston University. She received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1996 to study sculpture and archaeology in Cyprus, her current place of residence, where she serves as assistant professor of art at the University of Nicosia. Her cross-disciplinary projects are realized in drawing, multimedia, sonic and kinetic installations and also in published academic papers. Among numerous European exhibitions of her work, she represented Cyprus at the 54th International Venice Biennale of Art in Venice, Italy, in 2011. Her Biennale installation extended the artist's ongoing investigation into the nature of artistic creation and authorship through experiments with compound pendulums. Through the use of motion detectors and tiny motors, visitors to Hoak-Doering's kinetic installation indirectly move pieces of furniture that are suspended from the ceiling. Animated by the visitor's presence, the hanging object searches for a resting point, creating a series of movements, unique to each object, which are recorded on a sheet of Mylar by an attached graphite pencil. One drawing that the Mead has acquired, Student Desk 22.IX., 2011 (pictured below), resulted from this process as it unfolded in Hoak-Doering's Venice installation. The artist donated a second, related drawing, Garden Chair 23.IX.2011, to the museum. A video recording of a 2011 public conversation with Hoak-Doering can be viewed on the Mead's web site.


A Michigan native, Michael Huey earned a bachelor of arts degree in German studies at Amherst in 1987 and has called Vienna, Austria, home since 1989. Known for his intimate photographs of objects-often photographic materials-that are overlooked, forgotten or abandoned, Huey has exhibited his work in venues in Vienna, Rome, London and New York. His photography constitutes a quasi-archeological engagement with the concept of the archive-groups of related objects that have been sorted and stored away, waiting to be rediscovered. The Mead's acquisition, Pompeii, 2008 (pictured below), is a monumental photograph depicting a large segment of a colorful mural from a Pompeian villa, dating to around 64 CE. Huey derived the image from a colorized photograph of the extensively reconstructed mural, taken by German photographer Giorgio Sommer in the 1870s, but Huey's appropriation enlarges Sommer's photographic composition to the mural's original scale. The Mead acquired Pompeii as a partial gift from the artist. The photograph will be added to the Mead's installation of new acquisitions in the fall, following its appearance in The Cleveland Museum of Art's spring 2013 exhibition The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection.


Among the best-known figures in contemporary art associated with Amherst College, Michael Mazur (1935-2009) graduated from Amherst with a bachelor of arts degree in fine arts in 1958. (Amherst considers Mazur to be a member of Class of 1957, with which he matriculated, although a transformative year of self-directed study spent in Florence, Italy, led the artist to receive his degree a year later than his classmates.) He attended graduate school in fine arts at Yale. Based in Cambridge, Mass., he was a prominent figure in the Boston, Provincetown and New York arts communities. A dedicated teacher and arts advocate, Mazur held instructional posts at the Rhode Island School of Design, Brandeis and Harvard. In 2004, Mazur returned to Amherst as Robert Frost Fellow. Prolific and widely exhibited, the stylistic, dexterous painter and printmaker devoted his 50-year career to a dynamic exploration of abstraction and figuration, an investigation he most often conducted by depicting nature. The Mead's newest acquisition, Autumn, 2000 (pictured below)-a gift from Gail Mazur, the artist's wife-attests to his mastery of gestural abstraction to suggest nature's colorful dynamism. At the Mead, Autumn joins another large Mazur painting, Brown Branching, 1993, and many prints, including Mazur's celebrated portfolio of etchings, L'Inferno Dante, 1999. The Mead held a retrospective exhibition of Mazur's work in 1997, and organized a memorial installation held in the college's the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall, in 2009.


Native New Yorker Stephen Petegorsky graduated from Amherst in 1975, having majored in fine arts, and later received a graduate degree in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. As an Amherst student, he received the Wise Prize for artistic excellence, and the Mead possesses examples of his award-winning student work. A resident of Florence, Mass., Petegorsky has taught and exhibited widely, particularly in New England. He is perhaps best known for his lush black-and-white photographs of the landscape throughout the Connecticut River Valley, examples of which the Mead also holds in its collection, and he is also an accomplished professional photographer of fine art. The nine color photographs that the Mead recently received as a gift from the artist relate to his work with The Polus Center for Social and Economic Development, with which he has volunteered since 1998. The Polus Center works around the world to improve the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries, particularly those who have lost limbs due to acts of war, landmines, accidents and diseases. The Mead's new group of photographs shows relief efforts in Nicaragua and Ethiopia. Petegorsky's photographs typically evoke feelings of hope amid distressing circumstances. For example, Domingo Vigil Walking Unidos Clinic, León, Nicaragua, 2001 (pictured below), shows a victim of a landmine waiting to be fitted with a new prosthetic leg at a clinic started by The Polus Center.  


Images Clockwise from Top Left:  

  • Elizabeth Hoak-Doering, American, active in Cyprus, born 1966, Student Desk 22.IX.2011, 2011, graphite on mylar, Museum Purchase
  • Michael Mazur, American, 1935-2009, Autumn, 2000, oil on canvas, AC 2012.31, Gift of Gail Mazur
  • Michael Huey, American, active in Austria, born 1964, Pompeii, 2008, c-print, diasec-mounted on aluminum, AC 2011.56, Partial Gift of the Artist (Class of 1987) and Partial Purchase with Funds donated by Peter O. Brown (Class of 1962) and Nancy Brown
  • Stephen Petegorsky, American, born 1954, Fernando Valle Samora, Walking Unidos Clinic, León, Nicaragua, 2000 (printed 2011), pigment inkjet print, AC 2011.45, Gift of the artist (Class of 1975)

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, spanning 5,000 years and encompassing the creative achievements of many world cultures. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. The museum and its gift shop-café are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, and until midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday during the academic term. For more information, please visit or call 413/542-2335.