Art Meets Its Soundtrack Deep in ‘The Dirty South’

A second kickoff piece, “Summer Breeze,” by the Atlanta artist Paul Stephen Benjamin, sets a very different tone. Installed just outside the main galleries, it’s a pyramid of stacked video monitors. One plays a 1959 clip of Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit,” the chilling dirge about racial lynching that she made famous. But the tape incorporates an editing glitch. When she sings the line “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze” it comes out “Black bodies swinging in the sun,” a description that corresponds to the single image playing on almost all the other screens: that of a young Black girl, bathed in sunlight and slowly swaying on a playground swing.

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A Cosmos of Southern Black Expression: “The Dirty South” at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Beckoning visitors to the exhibition’s entrance is Paul Stephen Benjamin’s Summer Breeze (2018), a large-scale configuration of various sizes of tube televisions in a form resembling an altar. The majority of the screens play a video of a Black child on a swing, moving back and forth toward and away from the viewer. At the installation’s core, a single screen plays footage from Billie Holiday’s iconic 1959 performance of “Strange Fruit,” flanked by clips of Jill Scott’s impassioned 2015 version of the same song.

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Beth Edwards: Wonderstruck at David Lusk Gallery, Memphis

The entryway is light, and the gallery rooms are dim in Beth Edwards’ Wonderstruck, on view at David Lusk Gallery in Memphis. The exhibition is split between two spaces: in the one to the right are Zinnias paintings; and to the left, grassier paintings: Clover, Hydrangea, and Daisies.

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Mural of a Lifetime

A new mural in Cole Field House, home to the David C. Driskell Center, honors the life of the late David C. Driskell, renowned artist and scholar of Black American art, and longtime University of Maryland professor of art. Designed by David C. Driskell Center then-artist-in-residence Brandon Donahue, the 9-foot-tall, 35-foot-wide mural honors Driskell’s own background and bold, colorful art.

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Exhibits by Alicia Henry and William Eggleston Are Worth Your Time

If you’ve ever questioned whether seeing a work of art in person will change your perception of it, let two current exhibits on Hagan Street answer that for you. Start at David Lusk Gallery, where a grid of 23 never-before-seen photographs by the legendary William Eggleston is spotlit like a moody film-noir set. The shots were taken in or around 1990, and the title — For Lucia — references Eggleston’s longtime mistress Lucia Burch. But the rest of the story behind the scenes is a mystery. The photographs are quintessential Eggleston — the snapshot aesthetic he pioneered is so prevalent in the digital era that it’s easy to take it for granted.

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David Lusk Gallery Sets Sail Into 2021 With New Work From Alex Lockwood

Lockwood’s art is often self-consciously silly and humorous. He curates other artists with similarly off-kilter and pop-culture-inspired aesthetics — even the colorful exterior of Elephant Gallery seems to announce itself as “Fun” rather than “Serious Art.” Lockwood’s sculptural creations continue to be informed by the detritus they’re crafted from. And while his work is totally accessible to broad audiences, it’s Lockwood’s use of recycled materials that pushes his work into more serious art conversations.

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Anne Siems, girl power in women with tattooed faces

Artist, art mentor, dancer with an interest in shamanic studies. This is Anne Siems an artist who likes to express her emotions in her artworks, from a magical realism in a personal garden of Eden of her earlier works to the movement #metoo of the faces tattooed women. And in this way tattoos become for Anne mythical signs, rites of passage, that are also unapologetic and brave.

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Monsters to magical realism: 3 art exhibits to see this month in Nashville

Jared Small’s paintings are like purely visual Southern Gothic tales. The acclaimed Memphis-based artist is known for his dark-and-stormy, dreamlike portraits of decaying Southern homes and dripping flower bouquets that seem to possess as much history, personality and as many secrets as the characters he emphatically leaves to your imagination. It’s an effect he achieves in part by blending gorgeous hyper-realistic representation with notes of abstraction and magical realism, giving his compositions a mysterious, ghostly aura.

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Life After Life

Best Debut Solo Exhibition

Opening a solo show at an art gallery is like releasing a new album or a new novel. It’s the public presentation of a completed body of work backed by all the resources — curating, installation, marketing, sales — that a gallery can offer. And just like debut albums and novels, debut solo exhibitions can have a big impact on scenes and markets when it comes to establishing a sustainable creative career. David Onri Anderson’s Fresh as Fruit gave gallerygoers a cornucopia of deceptively complex metaphors to digest last fall. And he also planted the seeds of what looks like a bountiful creative practice that’s just beginning to blossom.

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‘We’re kind of like the Rolling Stones’ Lusk gallery anniversary celebrates long relationships with artists

David Lusk Gallery, now located in a sleek, pristine-white brick building on Tillman, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with a show of work by seven of the artists who were in that opening show and remain with the gallery today. “I think it’s unusual for any relationships – marital, friendships and otherwise – that they can span 30-some years. I listen well and I leave growth and change open for artists,” Lusk said. “I think I’ve helped my people believe in themselves.”

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