Pabst Theater Group
Press Release

Pyrite Suns, Minerʼs Dollars, connects artist Aspen Mays to the collections at Milwaukee Public Museum.

The Pitch Project's upcoming exhibition, Pyrite Suns, Miner's Dollars, by Aspen Mays will open June 12, 2015

By - Apr 9th, 2015 09:00 am
Aspen Mays- Sun Ruins (2011) at Golden Gallery New York, NY. This is the installation view of The Sun 1957.

Aspen Mays- Sun Ruins (2011) at Golden Gallery New York, NY. This is the installation view of The Sun 1957.

The Pitch Project is pleased to announce that artist Aspen Mays (Los Angeles CA) will be a visiting artist at the Milwaukee Public Museum in preparation for her upcoming exhibition at The Pitch Project opening June 12. Pyrite Suns, Miner’s Dollars, will interweave Mays’ ideas and meditations on the sun, fool’s gold and value. Pyrite suns, also known as miner’s dollars or sun dollars, are found only in coal mines where the pressure of coal formation has flattened the pyrite into coin-like disks, most commonly mistaken for gold. A pyrite sun, named for the radial symmetry of its shape, appears to have beams growing outward from its center, which Mays likens to a drawing of the sun. Miner’s dollars were originally thought to have significant monetary value, but now are valued only for their beauty and their relative scarcity. They remain a fascination for Mays, “I love the thought of a sun that is found buried in the earth, in the blackness of a coal mine.”

The work in the exhibition is culled from Mays’ private collection of over 100 of these mineral specimens from a coal mine in Illinois; Mays will also be using images of the sun from the Yerkes Observatory archive. Pyrite Suns, Miner’s Dollars conflates the study and images of a false sun with those of the “real” one. Mays will be developing the installation for The Pitch Project with a visit to the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay WI and the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM). Her April visit will be the kickoff of an innovative partnership between The Pitch Project and MPM that will build a bridge for the public between contemporary art practices and the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. Mays will have access to Museum curators, collections and the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium.

“I’m incredibly excited to see MPM partner with Aspen Mays and The Pitch Project,” said Dennis Kois, President of the Milwaukee Public Museum. “I had the opportunity to show Aspen’s work at my previous institution (deCordova Art Museum), and imagined then what a natural she’d be to partner with a science museum. Art and natural history inform each other wonderfully, and I’m pleased we are in a position to help a talented artist and one of Milwaukee’s best young galleries.”

“We are pleased to work with the Milwaukee Public Museum and their inventive staff on our Aspen Mays exhibition,” Sonja Thomsen, co-Director of The Pitch Project. “What a great way to expose both Aspen and the public to the rich history of culture and research we have in this city. This cross-discipline institutional collaboration is something that we hope to build on here at The Pitch Project, giving visiting artists access to Milwaukee’s unique gems like MPM.”

Don’t miss out on Pyrite Suns, Minerʼs Dollars opening at The Pitch Project June 12th, 2015. Aspen Mays’ views of the sun(s) is a cause for a visit and return visit to behold the view.

Opening Reception: Friday, June 12 , 2015, 5–9 p.m. • Exhibition Runs June 12 – September 12, 2015 Gallery Hours: Thursday 4–8 p.m. & Friday–Sunday 12–5 p.m.

About the Artist

Aspen Mays (born 1980) was raised in Charleston, SC. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2004. Aspen uses her investigation on light, gravity, nature and astronomy to drive her works. Her solo exhibitions include Every leaf on a tree at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Sun Ruins at Golden Gallery, New York; and Ships that Pass in the Night at the Center for Ongoing Projects and Research (COR&P) in Columbus, OH. Mays was a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow in Santiago, Chile, where she spent time with astrophysicists using the world’s most advanced telescopes to look at the sky. Mays lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Columbus, OH where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Ohio State University.

About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rain forest and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater and Planetarium. The museum houses more than 4.5 million objects and hosts nearly half a million visitors each year. The MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public.

About The Pitch Project

The Pitch Project Gallery & Artists Studios is a platform for exhibiting contemporary global practices in Milwaukee’s Historic Walker’s Point Neighborhood. The Pitch Project hosts diverse exhibitions, artist talks, screenings, and events.

For More Information and view work of past and future exhibitions of The Pitch Project, you can visit; www.thepitchproject.org, or contact the gallery at info@thepitchproject.org.

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