Thor’s Hammer

SEPTEMBER 21, 2019 - NOVEMBER 16, 2019
John Magnan

Thor’s Hammer is a socio-political exhibit based on Marvel Comics imagery. Each sculpture reimagines an aspect of Marvel Comics in the context of current issues. Diverse in form, material and color, the exhibit presents the familiar fantasy imagery, but with a twist. The art can be viewed and enjoyed at two levels. Fans of Marvel comics and movies will recognize the work on its face, but upon looking deeper will discover something more, with each piece provoking thought about some aspect of today’s society.

Marvel made a business of examining the human condition using the vehicle of comics and cinema. Thor’s Hammer follows in that tradition. Using various subtle image twists and different materials and forms, the exhibit reminds us that today’s socio-political challenges are interrelated and intertwine. Taken as a whole, the art questions whether the fabric of democracy can survive the pull and tug of these disparate struggles.

Thor’s Hammer is post-post-modern. Located between irony and new-earnestness, it encourages the viewer to emotionally experience the feelings and circumstances behind each sculpture. By using popular imagery of the day hopefully more people will visit the exhibit and think more deeply about the issues it addresses.


Top Left: Hammer of Justice (wood, leather, steel)
Top Middle: Dr. Doom (cast coal dust, fabric on wood)
Top Right: Gun-Fu (wood, aluminum tube)
Bottom Left: Death Throws (wood, metal washers and clips)
Bottom Middle: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (wood)
Bottom Right: Captains of America (steel, aluminum)


 John Magnan is a Massachusetts artist creating one-of-a-kind sculptures on commission and in pursuit of his own creative goals, Thor’s Hammer is his third solo exhibit. His first, body image | body essence, raised awareness of ovarian cancer and is now on permanent exhibit at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. His second, Strangers in Class, addressed issues of economic inequality. Altogether they traveled to 30 cities around the country.

In addition to his traveling exhibits, John created several permanent public sculpture installations in hospital, corporate and urban settings. Most recently he completed a national project with Eli Lilly and Co., creating three public sculptures to honor of clinical trial participants. John has been twice featured on CBS News Sunday Morning.

After a successful program management career John returned to school, completing the Post-Bacc program at Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, preparing him to earn his MFA in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Art Education

MFA, Sculpture, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, MA 1999
Post-Baccalaureate Sculpture Studies, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD 1995-1996
BS, Mathematics, Niagara University, Niagara University, NY 1967

Solo Exhibitions 2000-present

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (multiple shows)
Gadsden Community College, Gadsden, AL
Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
Carnegie Art Center, Decatur, AL
California State University, Sacramento, CA
Cooperstown Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY (multiple shows)
Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV
Boston Museum of Science, Boston, MALas Olas Art Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI
Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY
Sage Moon Gallery, Charlottesville, VA
Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, Madison, GA
National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, DC
Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg, SC
ArtWorks!, New Bedford, MA
American United Life Insurance Company Headquarters, Indianapolis, IA
University of Miami, Miami, FL

Selected Corporate Installations, Permanent Public and Private Collections

Cancer Support Community of Central Indiana, Indianapolis, IN
Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC
Wake Forest Biotech Place, Winston-Salem, NC
Buzzards Bay Coalition, New Bedford, MA (two permanent public
Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Fiber Optic Center, Inc., New Bedford, MA
Norman and Nora Stevens, Storrs, CT
“A Gathering of Spoons Collection,” Storrs, CT
Anthony Mason, CBS New Correspondent, New York, NY
Nancy and Bill Schneider, Annapolis, MD
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay Center, New Bedford, MA
Hon. Philip M. Freedman, Montclair, NJ
David Behrens, New York, NY
John and Laurie Bullard, Dartmouth, MA
Albert Lees, Mattapoisett, MA
Springborn Products, Inc., Wareham, MA
The Tauri Group, Alexandria, VA
Neal Weiss and Margie Waite, Dartmouth, MA
Stephen Macedo, Grand Rapids, MI
University of Connecticut, Homer Babbidge Library, Storrs, CT
Roger S. Pocze, MD, Dartmouth, MA
Kelly and Paul Wester, Beltsville, MD
SouthCoast Hospital Group, St. Luke’s Hospital, New Bedford, MA
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Robert C. Young Pavilion, Philadelphia, PA
Arlene & Paul Skversky, Longboat Key, FL
David and Sharon Ware, East Hartford, CT
Bruce and Sandra Blevins, Red Lodge, MT
Kirk Whiting & Kathleen Hilton, New Bedford, MA
Janet Pittman, Camarillo, CA
Michael Meyer & Gina Barreca, Storrs, CT
Richard and Georgette Daniels, Covington, GA
Bill and Sara King, New Bedford, MA
Janet Haynes, Grand Rapids, MI
Ellen Rasnick, Worcester, MA
Jeff Saenger, San Antonio, TX
Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care, Fairhaven, MA

Selected Group Exhibitions1995-present

Philadelphia Athenaeum, Philadelphia, PA, “Philagrafika” (2010 and 2012)
The Academy of the Arts, Easton, MD, “Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition”
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, “Shelter”
Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA, “National Prize Show”
ArtWorks!, New Bedford, MA, “ArtWorks! 2000 Juried Exhibition”
Canton Artist’s Guild, Canton, CT, “Open Show”
Rhode Island Convention CenterProvidence, RI, “Fine Furnishings Show” (invited)
Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, PA, “2nd Hoyt Nat’l ScuptureExhibition”
Gallery on the Circle, Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD, “Annual Juried Exhibition”
Gallery X, New Bedford, MA, “Sex at the X,” “Juried Exhibition”
New England Sculptors Association, Boston, MA, “Defining Sculpture”
Lasell College, Newton, MA, “Shelter”
Pyramid Art Center, Silver Spring, MD, “Shelter”
Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, “Shelter”
Ridgefield Gallery Juried Exhibition; Ridgefield, CT, “Annual Juried Exhibition”