When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South
When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South considers the category of “outsider” art in relation to contemporary art and black life. Situating itself within current art historical and political debates, the exhibition features work by self-taught, spiritually inspired and incarcerated artists, alongside other projects based in performance and social-engagement, as well as painting, drawing, sculpture and assemblage, that make insistent reference to place. With the majority of work created between 1964 and 2014, the exhibition brings together a group of thirty-five intergenerational American artists who share an interest in the American South as a location both real and imagined. Moving between a graphic sensibility, an interest in creation myths and the use of found materials and detritus, the artists reference various classical tropes of blackness as sites of origin—fantastical and performed, important yet perhaps illusory.
Artists in the exhibition include: Benny Andrews, Kevin Beasley, McArthur Binion, Beverly Buchanan, Henry Ray Clark, Courtesy the Artists, Thornton Dial, Minnie Evans, Theaster Gates, Deborah Grant, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Bessie Harvey, David Hammons, Lonnie Holley, Frank Albert Jones, Lauren Kelley, Ralph Lemon, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Joe Minter, J.B. Murray, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, Marie “Big Mama” Roseman, Jacolby Satterwhite, Patricia Satterwhite, Rudy Shepherd, Xaviera Simmons, Georgia Speller, Henry Speller, James “Son” Thomas, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems and Geo Wyeth.
When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South is organized by The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. The exhibition is curated by Thomas J. Lax.
The catalogue includes entries by the exhibition's organizer, Assistant Curator Thomas J. Lax, along with leading scholars Horace Ballard, Katherine Jentleson, Scott Romine and Lowery Stokes Sims, who write on notions of spirituality, the ethics of self-taught art and the idea of the South in the American consciousness.
Exhibitions at NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale are made possible in part by a challenge grant from the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation.
Funding for this exhibition is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
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