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Announcement
September 1, 2016

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Douglas Bourgeois, American Address, 2006. Oil on panel, 20 x 16.75 inches. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist and Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana. © Douglas Bourgeois.

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University presents Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, an exhibition that questions and explores the complex and contested space of the American South. Presenting a wide range of perspectives, from both within and outside of the region, the exhibition creates a composite portrait of southern identity through the work of 60 artists. The art reflects upon and pulls apart the dynamic nature of the South’s social, political and cultural landscape. The exhibition includes work dating back to the 1950s, but primarily focuses on art produced within the past 30 years.

Southern Accent is an extensive exploration of southern identity through contemporary art,” said Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art, and co-curator of the exhibition. “The exhibition has been four years in the making, but the timing of ‘Southern Accent’ is especially meaningful now—in the wake of the Charleston and Orlando tragedies, and given the tense social climate during this presidential election year. We’re an art museum, so exhibitions are our platform for starting conversations. I hope Southern Accent can create a space to reimagine the South in new ways and reframe the way we think about the South in contemporary art. At its best, art can help give shape to cultural and social change, promote needed discourse and even help build community.”

William Faulkner once suggested that the South is not so much a “geographical place” as “emotional idea.” Southern Accent looks at the South as an open-ended question to be explored and expanded. The exhibition encompasses a broad spectrum of media and approaches, demonstrating that southernness is more of a shared sensibility than a consistent culture.

The exhibition also includes a curated music-listening library to reflect the South’s contribution to American music and provide a counterpoint to art in the exhibition.

Terry Adkins, Walter Inglis Anderson, Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Sanford Biggers, Willie Birch, Rachel Boillot, Douglas Bourgeois, Roger Brown, Beverly Buchanan, Diego Camposeco, Mel Chin, William Christenberry, Sonya Clark, Robert Colescott, William Cordova, Jerstin Crosby and Bill Thelen, Thornton Dial, Sam Durant, William Eggleston, Minnie Jones Evans, Ralph Fasanella, Skylar Fein, Howard Finster, Michael Galinsky, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Grant, Barkley L. Hendricks, James Herbert and R.E.M., Birney Imes, Jessica Ingram, George Jenne, Deborah Luster, Sally Mann, Kerry James Marshall, Henry Harrison Mayes, Richard Misrach, Jing Niu, Tameka Norris, Catherine Opie, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson, Fahamu Pecou, Tom Rankin, Dario Robleto, Jim Roche, James “JP” Scott, Amy Sherald, Xaviera Simmons, Mark Steinmetz, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Hank Willis Thomas, Burk Uzzle, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jeff Whetstone.

This exhibition is co-organized by Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum and Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

Southern Accent will travel to the Speed Art Museum, where it will be on viewApril 29 through August 20, 2017.

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Jennifer McCracken New and Jason New; Trent Carmichael; Katie Thorpe Kerr and Terrance I. R. Kerr; Caroline and Arthur Rogers; Ann Chanler and Andrew Scheman; Parker & Otis; Lisa Lowenthal Pruzan and Jonathan Pruzan; Kimball Richmond and Rodney Priddy; Sam Tsao; Gail Belvett; and Richard Tigner.

 

About the Nasher Museum
The Nasher Museum has celebrated its first decade as a major center for the arts on Duke University’s campus and in the surrounding Research Triangle area. The museum organizes and presents leading-edge exhibitions that travel to institutions worldwide. The growing collection includes some of today’s best contemporary art, with a rare focus on work by artists of African descent. Other major strengths include European medieval art, European and American paintings, Outsider art, classical antiquities, African art and ancient American art. More than 1 million people have visited the museum since it opened in 2005. For more information, visit www.nasher.duke.edu.

 

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art presented by Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

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