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Subjects: Art


Dawoud Bey’s Meditations on History and Vision

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

Dawoud Bey’s Untitled (The Light on the Trail) could be anywhere that is warm and wet enough to produce this tangle of plant life. But stay still in front of this photograph and really look.  Somehow all of the wild growth frames an opening. And inside that rough circle, the light spirals clockwise toward the »


Snapshot: Dark Corners

The Appalachian Murder Ballad

by Julyan Davis

“I grew up listening to the folks songs of my ancestors along the Scottish Borders.” I grew up listening to the folk songs of my ancestors along the Scottish Borders. When I left London for America, I discovered the songs again, preserved intact in the Appalachian South. Even as a child, I was drawn to »


Snapshot: Fear of a Black (Southern) Planet

Kara Walker's "Night Conjure"

by Kameelah L. Martin

“The Black woman is tossing an ambiguous object into a presumed hole in the ground, arguably to effect the desired outcome of her conjure spell. Indeed, both the woman and Walker are turning a hoodoo trick for the viewer.” Kara Walker is renowned for art that invokes the American South as an intrinsic site of »


Drawing All Over Again

Remembering Patrick Dean

by Robert Newsome

When artist Patrick Dean died in May of 2021, he left behind an impossibly large collection of work: sketchbooks, paintings, loose pieces of paper, cardboard, newsprint, a couple of sculptures, and several other things he’d drawn or painted on, usually whatever was closest to him when an idea hit—and those ideas hit frequently. I was »


“Necessary Contemplation”

by Lauren Frances Adams, Jason Patterson

In early 2022, we visited each other’s studios in Baltimore and Chestertown, Maryland, to discuss the influences of historical memory, ancestry, and artists’ roles navigating time and place within white supremacy. Our first collaboration, in 2020, was the exhibition Rights and Wrongs: Citizenship, Belonging, and the Vote, hosted by the Peale Museum at the Carroll »


Records of Light

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

This essay is part of our Shutter art and photography series. “Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers” is on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art, September 16, 2022–January 8, 2023, and “The Photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard” at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, October 1, 2022–January 15, 2023. Because we can make »



Embroidery: Threads and Stories from Alabama Chanin and the School of Making (Excerpt)

by Natalie Chanin

Natalie Chanin is the founder and head designer of Alabama Chanin, the 21-year-old company focused on sustainable design based in Florence, Alabama. Chanin’s latest book, Embroidery: Threads and Stories from Alabama Chanin and The School of Making (Abrams, October 2022) mixes lessons in sewing, design, and embroidery with her personal story and the evolution of »


Otherwise Possibility

by Ashon Crawley

“I use paint, ink and canvas, paper and other surfaces to visualize that which remains after my body moves to the sound of the music and of praise, to more fully consider residue—lingering—that escapes capture.” Learning about Life and love in the spiritual space of Blackpentecostalism, I was able to sense the world by paying »


Quilts, Social Engineering, and Black Power in the Tennessee Valley

by Janneken Smucker

On a September evening in 1934, Dr. J. Max Bond, the highest ranking African American official of the Tennessee Valley Authority, delivered an address to the Personnel Division Conference of the TVA. The federally owned TVA had launched the previous year, promising to bring social planning and electricity to the many rural and impoverished residents »


Make Work About It

by Clarence Heyward, Tatiana McInnis

As part of the current exhibition Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now, the Nasher Museum of Art recorded a conversation between artist Clarence Heyward, whose paintings are part of the show, and Tatiana McInnis, who teaches American Studies and Humanities at the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham, NC. This conversation has been »


An Uncommon Arrangement

A review of "Picturing the South: 25 Years"

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

Imagine the thrill. A letter drops through a mail slot, the phone rings, or your email pings. The message contains a beautiful proposition. Atlanta’s High Museum will give you a not unsubstantial amount of money. In return, you agree to make photographs in the South. Otherwise, you can do whatever you want, knowing that your »


The Dirt

A review of “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse”

by Grace Elizabeth Hale

This is a review of “The Dirty South” at the VMFA where it originated and hung until September 6, 2021. The show is now on view at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, through February 6, 2022, and images in this feature are courtesy of that museum. Later, it will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of »