The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX) celebrates autumn’s arrival with two new exhibitions.

“Deliberately Distorted: The Pottery of George E. Ohr” and “The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster” by Mississippi folk artist O.W. “Pappy” Kitchens will be featured at the downtown Meridian through early 2021.

“Deliberately Distorted” opens Saturday, Oct. 3, and features more than 40 never seen before pieces by Mississippi legend and a charter member of The MAX Hall of Fame George E. Ohr, known as the “Madd Potter of Biloxi.”

At The MAX 'Deliberately Distorted,' 'Saga of Red Eye the Rooster' museum's newest exhibitions

Pottery by George E. Ohr

Described as “eccentric, brilliant and a century ahead of his time,” Ohr created thousands of extraordinary pottery he affectionally called his “mud babies” that smashed the staid conventions of his craft. “No two alike,” he said proudly.

On his wheel, Ohr shaped ceramic vessels of a thin-walled delicacy and grace that few can duplicate. He crumpled and twisted the clay before adding homemade glazes in extravagantly bright colors and sometimes left them unglazed as he saw the beauty in both.

Today, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art describes Ohr as “arguably America’s quintessential art potter.” Of his pitchers, vases and other vessels, The Met says, “In form and decoration, they are essentially abstract expressionism — almost 50 years before that movement was founded.”

“Deliberately Distorted The Pottery of George E. Ohr” will be featured at The MAX until Jan. 10, 2021. The exhibit is free with museum admission.

Painter and writer William Dunlap presents “The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster,” an exhibition featuring the work of Mississippi folk artist O.W. “Pappy” Kitchens.

At The MAX 'Deliberately Distorted,' 'Saga of Red Eye the Rooster' museum's newest exhibitions

Pappy Kitchens parable “After the Storm.”

Kitchens, a Crystal Springs native, began painting at age 68. A self-proclaimed folk artist, he used to say, “I paint about folks, what folks see and what folks do.”

“The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster” chronicles Red Eye’s life after he was found by a little boy named Henry. Red Eye encounters almost all the seven deadly sins including violence, lust, and greed and heroically fought them all until he succumbs to his own fatal flaw.

“Always a fine storyteller of the Southern tradition, Mr. Kitchens often ruminated on the problems of the world and spoke in parables,” Dunlap told an interviewer from Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger newspaper in 2019. “The official art world at the time did not embrace the narrative, but that did not stop ‘Pappy’ Kitchens.”

Dunlap, a Mississippi native, painter, author, and Kitchens’ son-in-law, helped launch Kitchens’ artistic career. Dunlap’s book, “Pappy Kitchens and the Saga of Red Eye the Rooster,” will be available in the Museum Store for purchase.

At The MAX 'Deliberately Distorted,' 'Saga of Red Eye the Rooster' museum's newest exhibitions

Submitted photos

“Pappy Kitchens” book cover.

“The Saga of Red Eye the Rooster” will be on display through March 7, 2021.

The Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX) is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is located at 2155 Front St. in the heart of downtown Meridian.

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About The MAX

The MAX showcases Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience in one immersive destination. Here, visitors of all ages explore the global impact of Mississippians on music, literature, art, entertainment and cuisine. The MAX honors our state’s creative legacy and inspires the next generation of creators through a unique experience of interactive exhibits. Come discover the Mississippi roots of some of the world’s greatest arts and entertainment icons — like Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, B.B. King, Faith Hill, Sela Ward and Kermit the Frog, just to name a few.