Friday, August 28, 2015

Burk Uzzle at the Nasher, the Ackland, and the NC Museum of Art

North Carolina native and Distinguished Southern Photographer Burk Uzzle will be honored next year by concurrent exhibitions of his work in museums at every corner of North Carolina's Research Triangle.

Work from Uzzle's long and distinguished career will be on view concurrently at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham concurrently from late spring through the summer of 2016. 

Each museum is focusing on a different aspect of work from Uzzle’s career. 

This truly extraordinary tribute will honor one of the South's -- and the nation's -- most distinguished photographers.

Uzzle was born in Raleigh in 1938,and began his career at age 17 as a staff photographer for Raleigh's News and Observer

At 23 he joined the staff of LIFE magazine as its youngest photographer and later joined capturing powerful images of American life and culture. 

Later he joined the famed agency Magnum Photos and served as its president from 1979 to 1980.

Uzzle is known especially for his iconic photographs of the civil rights movement, of Martin Luther King Jr., and of the Woodstock music festival. 

He is now an independent photographer who continues to explore the culture of America, from his base in Wilson, North Carolina. 

This series of exhibitions goes to show that you can go home again. We will have much more information abut these shows as their opening approaches.

Ansel Adams -- and Others -- at Duke's Nasher Museum

Ansel Adams was not a Southern Photographer, but he was certainly a photographer, and the Nasher Museum at Duke University is definitely a Southern institution.

So its worth our notice that the Nasher has opened a retrospective show of photographs by Ansel Adams this fall, up now through November 29th, 2015.   

Even more relevant to our interests, the Nasher will host a show entitled Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, opening September 1, 2016 and up through January 8, 2017.

This show promises to investigate "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."

The folks at the Nasher do some of the most innovative and insightful exhibitions I know of, at least in this small corner of the American South, so I expect this show to be both compelling and challenging. 

The list of exhibitors is not yet public, but I think we can trust the Nasher to include photography in its definition of "contemporary art."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Southern Photographers at the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is currently hosting a show entitled The Memory of Time, up through September 13th, 2015, which the National Gallery explains as presenting
"work by contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history. 
"In the last two decades, as the world has undergone an unprecedented technological revolution, photography itself has changed profoundly. 
"With the advent of the digital age, people around the world are recording every aspect of their lives through photography, sharing their pictures with friends and strangers online and through the burgeoning social media. 
"Yet digital photography has not only changed the way people make and circulate photographs, it has also shattered enduring notions of the medium as a faithful witness and recorder of unbiased truths, for now everything in a photograph can be fabricated; nothing need be real. 
"Photography — once understood as verifying specific facts, capturing singular moments of time, and preserving explicit memories — is now recognized to have a multifaceted and slippery relationship to the truth and to the past.
"By embracing this complexity, contemporary artists have placed photography at the center of a renewed discussion around the construction of history and memory and the perception of time.
"The exhibition is divided into five sections: “Traces of History,” “Time Exposed,” “Memory and the Archive,” “Framing Time and Place,” and “Contemporary Ruins.” It features recently acquired works made from the early 1990s to the present by artists who explore these concepts." 

Annoyingly, the National Gallery does not put a list of the photographers in the show on its website, but PDN, here, tells us that the list includes Distinguished Southern Photographer Sally Mann and Honorary Southern Photographer Carrie Mae Weems (see image from the show above)

In any case, this sounds like a show not to miss if you are in Washington before mid-September.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

UPDATED -- Southern Photographers at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans

New Orleans' Ogden Museum has a show of photography up now through September 15th, 2015, organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's visit to the Louisiana coast. 

 The show is called The Rising, and according to folks at the Ogden is not intended to help us remember the storm's devastation, but instead to "celebrate the renewal and re-birth of the City of New Orleans" and "examine how  photography was central to the revitalization of New Orleans." 

The Ogden folks note that one consequence of Katrina's devastation of large parts of New Orleans was that "young photographers flocked to New Orleans and infused their creativity and vision into a city already known for its incomparable culture."

Thus, as the Ogden folks put it, this show celebrates "the explosion of new energy within the photographic arts community of New Orleans" by showcasing "the work of established, emerging, and recently-transplanted photographers living in New Orleans today" who are "are making exciting and innovative work in a supportive arts community that is expanding with unprecedented opportunities." 

The Ogden Museum was the first arts institution in New Orleans to open after Katrina. The Museum has worked with the New Orleans Photo Alliance (formed in 2006), and Prospect.1 (organized in 2008), to mount a collective arts exhibition intended to foster a creative outlet to "enable a community to recover and begin the process of healing" in "what is frequently called the most unique city in America."  

The Rising show features photography by Sophie Lvoff, Jonathan Traviesa, Tammy Mercure (see image directly above), Colin Roberson, L. Kasimu Harris (see image 2 up), William Widmer (see image at the top of this blog entry), Jennifer Shaw (see image below), AnnieLaurie Erickson, Cristina Molina, Vanessa Centeno, and David Armentor

You may click here to download a pdf of the show's catalogue and see more work by all the photographers featured in the show. 

Since I posted this blog entry, this show, and especially the work of L. Kasimu Harris, has received strongly positive notice by Cameron Shaw, writing in the NY Times.

Shaw says of this show, and of this image:

"There’s one photograph in “The Rising” that counters any nagging feeling of finality in these visions, which reminds the viewer that history is continually being rewritten, and that’s a good thing.

"L. Kasimu Harris’s “The Road Ahead” (2013) is a staged close-up of a dapper couple behind the wheel of a vintage car; their beautiful brown-skinned faces point straight ahead, slight smiles on their lips, eyes intentionally fixed on what’s to come. 

"The road of history is long, and while some memories may mark us forever, 10 years is but a brief beginning."

And so art continues its historic process of interpreting, and potentially redeeming, the time.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this fine show.