Davey Hawkins: Eagle Brand at the Nevada Museum of Art

A leader in the field of art and environment, the Nevada Museum of Art specializes in exhibitions around art and both virtual and natural environments. This upcoming March, the museum will highlight New York-based artist Davey Hawkins as part of its Emerging Artist Series. Hawkins explores the physical evidence of human industrial interventions with the natural world, while demonstrating “an acceptance of environmental degradation in the 21st century, and a desire to transform physical detritus into visual poetry” (NMA).

JoAnne Northrup, Director of Contemporary Art Initiatives at the NMA, discussed in conversation the importance of supporting emerging artists, asserting, “I want to get them before anyone else can!” The NMA is a proponent of sharing new ideas and paving the way for new artists to expand on their potential. “Davey Hawkins: Eagle Brand” is a series of installations closely aligned with the museum’s mission to “cultivate meaningful art and social experiences.”

Hawkins encountered glassy, electric blue and purple gem-like stones in a local stream in Wassaic, New York. He later learned that in 1863, Gail Borden - the first man to condense milk in the United States – built a factory on this stream to produce his Eagle Brand condensed milk, which supplied the Union Army throughout the civil war. Hawkins’ vibrant stones are vitrified slag, an industrial byproduct of smelting ore from Borden’s factory.

Davey Hawkins, Slag mined in Dutchess County, New York. Courtesy of the artist. Davey Hawkins, Slag mined in Dutchess County, New York. Courtesy of the artist.

For Hawkins’ first museum exhibition, he has invented landscapes made entirely out of hardened Eagle Brand condensed milk and the phenomenal stones from Wassaic to symbolize nature’s side effects and transformation from human interaction. Through Hawkins’ experimental vision, visitors will encounter the edgier side of the NMA’s innovative programs.

The Nevada Museum of Art aims to serve local and global audiences alike through its two-track exhibition model: a regional track presents broadly popular exhibitions on a regular basis, while a national and international track focuses on Art + Environment. As the only art museum in Nevada accredited by the American Association of Museums, the NMA seeks to provide a variety of accessible exhibitions and unique interdisciplinary programs. “Davey Hawkins: Eagle Brand” demonstrates how a regional institution such as the NMA is able to engage local and global culture. Hawkins successfully finds the identity of a space and turns it into a meaningful place. JoAnne Northrup believes that the NMA is a place where people can be blown away, and this upcoming exhibition is no exception.

Davey Hawkins: Eagle Brand” will run from March 22 through July 6, 2014 at the Nevada Museum of Art as part of the museum’s Emerging Artist Series.