Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art is the first contemporary art exhibition to question and explore in-depth the complex and contested space of the American South. One needs to look no further than literature, cuisine and music, to see evidence of the South’s profound influence on American culture, and consequently much of the world. This unprecedented exhibition investigates the many realities, fantasies and myths that have long captured the public’s imagination, and presents a wide range of perspectives to create a composite portrait of southern identity through contemporary art.
William Faulkner once described the South not as a “geographical place” but an “emotional idea.” Southern Accent looks at the South as an open-ended question and concept in itself. The exhibition encompasses a broad spectrum of media and approaches, demonstrating that southernness is more of a shared sensibility than any one definable culture or style. The exhibition primarily focuses on artwork from the past 35 years, but includes earlier work from the Civil Rights Era as important foundational and historical markers. The exhibition includes work by 60 artists as well as a curated music-listening library. No region in the United States has contributed more to American music than the South, and a music chronology that speaks to southern life provides an invaluable counterpoint to the artwork in the exhibition.
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.
This exhibition is co-organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 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 view April 29 – August 20, 2017.
Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art will be published by the Nasher Museum of Art and distributed by Duke University Press. The 276-page, fully illustrated color catalogue, edited by co-curators Trevor Schoonmaker and Miranda Lash, includes texts by Diego Camposeco, Mel Chin, Brittney Cooper, John T. Edge, William Fagaly, Carter Foster, Brendan Greaves, Harrison Haynes, Patterson Hood, Andrew Hibbard, Miranda Lash, Ada Limón, Ari Marcopoulos, Mark Anthony Neal, Catherine Opie, Fahamu Pecou, Richard J. Powell, Tom Rankin, Dario Robleto, Trevor Schoonmaker, Bradley Sumrall, Natasha Trethewey, Kara Walker, and Jeff Whetstone. The catalogue will also feature a selected music chronology and timeline of scholarship on southern art.
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.