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Southern Photography at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Christenberry Even When It's Not, Southern Accent, And Bill Ferris' New Photography Book

Monday, September 26, 2016

It closed last month, but I was able to catch Huntsville Museum of Art's photography exhibits, including its show of collection pieces in 'Frozen in Place'

Frozen in Place: Southern Photographs from the Collection

John Reese: Woman and Child, Wilson Park, Birmingham
John Reese: Woman and Child, Wilson Park, Birmingham AL

Melissa Springer: Thanksgiving Dinner in the HIV Isolation Unit
Melissa Springer: Thanksgiving Dinner in the HIV Isolation Unit

Caroline Davis: And G-d will Raise You Up on the Wings of Eagles and Take You into the Palm of His Hand
Caroline Davis: And G-d will Raise You Up on the Wings of Eagles and Take You into the Palm of His Hand

Kathryn Tucker Windham: All the Pretty Little Horses
Kathryn Tucker Wyndham: All the Pretty Little Horses

The William Christenberry: Time, Distance, and Memory exhibit was also up
William Christenberry: Time, Distance, and Memory at Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville AL

5c Wall with Johnson Grass, Demopolis AL
William Christenberry: 5c Wall with Johnson Grass, Demopolis AL

South End of Palmist Building, Havana Junction AL
William Christenberry: South End of Palmist Building, Havana Junction AL

and Alabama Box, with wood, soil, color photographs, and fabric
William Christenberry: Alabama Box

Side of Palmist Building, Havana Junction, AL
William Christenberry: Side of Palmist Building, Havana Junction, AL

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If you're familiar with the Rosenbush Furniture store in Demopolis, that's the location of Christenberry's '5 cent' photograph:
Rosenbush Building, Demopolis AL

Last year at Kentuck, we purchased this piece from Standard Deluxe, which I immediately took as an homage to Christenberry's famous Palmist building photograph, and I thought they were so genius because they overlayed this image on an aerial photograph of Hale County. But guess what? It isn't Hale County, and they just thought the 'Palm Reading' part looked cool. Still, it's in my office and every time I look at it, I think Christenberry.
Palm Reading by Standard Deluxe
The palmist building is no longer extant.

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This year's Kentuck is October 15-16, and Alabama is playing in Knoxville that weekend, so traffic should be easy. Yay, RTR, and see you there!

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Hyperallergic does a piece on Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke. The review is certainly worth a read, and especially the author's summary of his own Southernness:
I’ll remember the big, dumb epiphany I had around age thirty, as someone who had always defined himself against Southern stereotypes: That whatever I am was shaped, even in opposition, by the landscape and culture of North Carolina, and that I was ineluctably a North Carolinian, with both the criminal burden and progressive mandate that entails. That my accent is an ineluctably Southern one, however it sounds. And that the South, as this exhibit so acutely reveals, is not a settled matter. It’s something we’re all inventing every day, and whatever we invent is as Southern as what we sweep away.

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The Daily Beast with Bill Ferris Taught America What’s So Great About the South and his new book of photographs, The South in Color: A Visual Journal
Ferris gave a mild chuckle. “There is a certain kind of story that Southerners tell, a genuine gift of the gab. Robert Penn Warren had it and loved to hear others tell a story. There’s something I feel when I’m in the South, a gut laughter that these stories evoke. It’s very rarely felt anywhere else, you hold your side you’re laughing so hard. When you look at the South and say what makes it different, story-telling is a part of that and a key for why you have this powerful literary tradition coming out of the South. These are writers who grew up listening to stories, and a sense of humor in the South in which tall tales are cultivated and inspire a writer to take that to a different level.”

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