That's a Wrap: Post-Exhibiton Review of "Tie Up, Draw Down" at the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (Asheville, NC)

The shuttle and the loom.

The weft and warp threads.

The tying up and drawing down of simple strands.

 

Working in unison, they perform a humble ode to humanity. Their movements accumulate to form the most basic textiles that have assured our species’ survival for millennia, the literal fabrics of our lives.

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The Year A Performing Arts Festival Ventured into Visual Art— and Hit It Out of the Park

1977: Pulitzer Prize winner Gian Carlos Menotti begins a Charleston tradition: Spoleto Festival USA.  The performing arts festival, conceived as a companion festival to the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, brings international talent to Charleston, South Carolina, a city that has boasted a rich artistic heritage for centuries on end. 

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Conversation Cut Short: What the Proposed NEA Elimination Means to Online Arts Voices

At some point between the turbulent ascent and the in-flight beverages, Rainey Knudson struck up a conversation with her neighbor, an amicable gentleman who worked as a defense contractor. Knudson introduced herself as the founder of Glasstire, a small Houston based arts publication, and mentioned that she was headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with leaders from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

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Arden Cone
Exhibition Trend: Identity Crisis in the Southern States

Hiding behind the stereotype of the die-hard, conservative, grits-eating hillbilly, there is the real American Southerner, one who struggles with a clouded and troubled regional identity. For some time (and good reason), art institutions hadn’t even attempted to explore the South’s ongoing identity crisis: get it wrong, and you’re in for some trouble. Southerners, after all, are defensive about their identity, and rightfully so. It’s not the judgmental labels from outsiders that really get to us, however. It’s the South’s original sin that has burned us for centuries: slavery. We want to be a proud people, but our legacy nearly strips us of this right.

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Arden Cone
The South Outside the Region: Kara Walker at the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Ecstasy of St. Kara, on view for the first time at the Cleveland Museum of Art, consists of new works on paper by Kara Walker. Though the artist has garnered international acclaim, with honors from the MacArthur Foundation, Time magazine, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, her works generally portray life in a smaller locale, a region we call the American South. 

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The Nasher Museum of Art: "Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art," on View until January 8, 2017

She watched us create and destroy ourselves. She watched our riches ebb, flow, and evaporate to nothing when Reconstruction beset our Southern city. She stood taller than the Confederate monuments we raised and prouder than the Dixie flags we flew. Angel Oak, as she is called, is live oak who is centuries older than the city that owns her, and centuries wiser than the slaveholder for whom she is named.

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Seana Reilly at Whitespace in Atlanta through October 15, 2016

I suspected that the gallery had once been a carriage house. It had been. The interior bore the marks of one, but a faint smell of automotive grease touched the air, suggesting the possibility that the building’s use had changed when a new era arrived. Whatever forgotten paraphernalia the building held between then and now, I’m sure it held on to them tight, like a secret, for decades on end...

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"Material Issue" at Louisville's Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

After a year of renovations to its historic downtown Louisville building, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) has filled its exhibition spaces once more. Its inaugural exhibition, featuring forty-one works by thirteen artists, is on view until September 25th, 2016. “Material Issue,” as its title suggests, favors works that treat their own materiality—or lack thereof, as the case may be—as a way of exploring topics as diverse as race, the environment, eroticism, and perceptions of wealth.

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The Things We Carry: Contemporary Southern Art at the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC

When I moved above the Mason Dixon line, I came forewarned: there would be culture shock. But as I settled into Boston’s pace of life, I never found the stereotype I had drawn for myself. (I’m sure there are plenty of unapproachable, inhospitable, Yankee-talking fools out there, but I haven’t run into one). The shock that I found was subtler. It had no disturbing accent, for it was unspoken. It was an absence in conversation, and it surrounded the issue of race.

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Arthur Kern Retrospective at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Arthur Kern certainly didn’t go pounding at anyone’s door for a museum retrospective. An inward, reclusive sculptor, Kern had spent the past twenty years so far out of the public eye he was rumored to have died. Fortunately he was alive and talent has a way of making itself known. Kern’s sculptures are on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art until July 17th, 2016.

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