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.