Monday, March 5, 2018
Distinguished Southern photographer Sally Mann is having a major retrospective show of her work at National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, up now through May 28th, 2018.
This is too important an event for Southern photography for me to let it slip by unnoticed.
For a review of this show by Grace Hale, writing in Southern Cultures, go here.
This show signals Mann's acceptance as among the most distinguished of living American artists
The show contains some 110 of Mann's photographs, ranging over her entire career. Here is what the National Gallery says about the show:
"For more than forty years, Sally Mann (American, born 1951) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavor.
"What unites this broad body of work is that it is all bred of a place, the American South. A native of Lexington, Virginia, Mann has long written about what it means to live in the South and be identified as a southerner.
"Using her deep love of her native land and her knowledge of its fraught history, she asks provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.
"Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings considers how Mann’s relationship with this land has shaped her work and how the legacy of the South—as both homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground—continues to permeate American identity.
"Organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains—and including many works not previously published or publicly shown, the exhibition is the first major survey of the artist’s work to travel internationally.
"The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays that explore the development of Mann’s art; her family photographs; the landscape as repository of personal, cultural, and racial memory; and her debt to 19th-century photographers and techniques."
Mann's show will travel after it closes in DC to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., then to venues in Los Angeles, Houston, Paris and Atlanta.
This is a not-to-be-missed show for all of us, and for anyone interested in Southern photography.
Here is a review of this show, from the Washington Post.
Friday, January 12, 2018
The Southern Photographer (aka John N. Wall, see image above) is taking a sabbatical. Professional work demands are crowding in while the subject of Southern photography continues to expand in scope and variety.
As some of you know, I have a day job as a professor of English literature at NC State University.
We've been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to recreate through digital modeling the look and sound of worship in St Paul's Cathedral in London in the 1620's. We are recreating a part of London that was totally destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Here is a preliminary example of the kind of thing we are trying to produce.
You can see more if you go here: vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu
Our grant runs out at the end of this year, and there is till much to do. I'm not doing anyone any favors by trying to fit in work on this blog along with trying to meet deadlines with this multi-year project.
So, after 8 years, 833 blog entries, 163 loyal followers, and 530,676 pageviews, we take a pause.
Durham-based photographer Titus Brooks Heagins (see image above) and Asheville-based photographer Ralph Burns (see image below) have work in a group show called Created by Light -- Photographs from North Carolina Collections, now up through February 11th, 2018 at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC.
Heagins and Burns will discuss their work at a gathering at CAM Wilmington on Sunday, January 14th, 2018, at 2:00 pm. The discussion will be monitored by Jennifer Dasal, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh.
This exhibition explores the photography collections of eight North Carolina institutions, including the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill; the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville; the Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington; the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, Raleigh; the Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville; the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham; the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; the Mint Museum, Charlotte; and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The over 100 works included in the exhibition range from 1887 to 2016 with pioneers of the medium including Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Hine, Robert Maplethorpe, Edward Muybridge, Andres Serrano, Mickalene Thomas, Lorna Simpson and Alfred Stieglitz.
North Carolina photographers with work in this show, in addition to Burns and Heagins, include Diego Camposeco, Carolyn DeMerritt, Taj Forer, Cathryn Griffin, George Masa, Elizabeth Matheson, John Menapace, Susan Harbage Page and Caroline Vaughan.
Definitely worth a visit to Wilmington!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
In the words of Paul Simon, "I have reason to believe we all shall be received in Graceland."*
Best wishes for a joyous Holiday season to Southern photographers and Southern photography fans everywhere.
Thank you for your interest in The Southern Photographer, and especially for your kind words of support for this blog during the past year.
I know I'm a bit behind right now in chronicling the world of fine art photography in the American South.
Nevertheless, the Southern Photographer must now take a short break, while yr humble blogger attends to other professional and personal responsibilities.
We look forward to resuming our chronicle after the 1st of January 2018.
In the meanwhile, remember that Christmas is a season, not just a day, and the season of Christmas is 12 days long.
So its Christmas from the eve of December 25th of 2017 all the way through until Twelfth Night, January 5th, 2018.
*Graceland, the home of Elvis, who became famous by appropriating the music of Arthur Crudup and Big Mama Thornton. They wrote the music, and he made the money.
But what he spent it on was this tacky McMansion in Memphis.
That's one of the things I believe about the South -- it can set you free and break your heart, all at the same time.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Friday, December 8, 2017
Mark your calendars now for October 19th, 2018, to attend the opening of SOUTHBOUND: Photographs of and about the New South, at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, in downtown Charleston.
This will be an exceptional -- and exceptionally important -- group show, featuring the work of 56 photographers who are either Southerners or who have had, in the words of the show's organizers, "a sustained engagement with the South."
Each of the photographers will be represented by four photographs, for a total of 220 photographs in the joint show.
The goal of this show, according to co-curators Mark Sloan and Mark Long, is "to engage with and unsettle assumed narratives about this contested region by providing fresh perspectives for understanding the complex admixture of history, geography, and culture that constitutes today’s New South."
Sloan, the Director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and Long, a professor of political science at the College of Charleston, envision this show as embracing "the conundrum of its name."
They go on: "To be southbound is to journey to a place in flux, radically transformed over recent decades, yet also to the place where the past resonates most insistently in the United States. To be southbound is also to confront the weight of preconceived notions about this place, thick with stereotypes, encoded in the artistic, literary, and media records."
They suggest the scope of their plans and the range of their ambition, thus:
"The history of the American South is among the most storied of any region in the world. As a result of the vitality of its culture and the diversity of its inhabitants—to say nothing about the salience of photography in the U.S.—the region has also come to be among the most photographed.
"Through the exhibition, video, remappings, website, and catalogue—separately and in tandem—the Southbound project charts new courses to expanded imaginings for the twenty-first century South."There are so many aspects to this show -- and it is so important -- that I'll need several blog posts to cover all the details.
For now, however, please note that you can find out more about the show here. A list of all the photographers is here. Plans for the show's catalogue is here.
If you go here and scroll down until you see the heading Exhibition Prospectus, you can find more details about the show, including your opportunities for supporting the show, and the overall project.
These opportunities include the chance to receive a print of an image by four of the show's photographers, or to schedule a personal portrait shoot with Atlanta's master portraitist Jerry Siegel.
This show will travel after its run in Charleston concludes in March of 2019. If you have influence with a gallery or museum or other exhibition space, go here as well to learn about how to book it.
I'm happy to say that the first sites for the show after Charleston include NC State University's own Gregg Museum of Art and Design, here in Raleigh, and Duke University's Power Plant Gallery, in Durham, sites that will share the show from September 5th - December 29th, 2019.