Monday, June 2, 2008

Denee Barr Art News and More

Black Women Artists Reclaim the Narrative

A show of work by emerging and established artists that challenges assumptions about black narrative-based art

Reception: Friday, June 13th, 6:00 – 9:00pm
Show Dates: June 10th – July 19th, 2008
Location: Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA
Metro: Orange Line: Virginia Square
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm
Contact: Jeffry Cudlin, Director of Exhibitions
703.248.6800 X 12

SHE’S SO ARTICULATE sets out to expand how gallery-goers think about the relation of narrative to contemporary art by African-American women. The show includes selected works and room-filling installations by 11 artists: Maya Freelon Asante, Renee Cox, Stephanie Dinkins, Djakarta, Nekisha Durrett, Torkwase Dyson, Faith Ringgold, Erika Ranee, Nadine Robinson, Renee Stout, and Lauren Woods.

Local collector and curator Henry Thaggert drew his inspiration for assembling these artists in part from the furor surrounding African-American artist Kara Walker—a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant winner who recently had a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. (Walker creates larger-than-life tableaus that refer to slave testimonials, historical novels and minstrelsy with caricatured silhouettes of antebellum slaves and their white masters.)

“She’s So Articulate” attempts to expand the discussion beyond Walker’s concerns about slavery’s traumatic impact on its victims. A series of bold photographs by Renee Cox strike a markedly different tone, depicting the artist’s super-heroine alter ego as she not only survives but thrives—and avenges subjugated brand icons Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. Other artists use culturally cross-pollinated imagery and unconventional strategies for storytelling: Nekisha Durrett’s multi-paneled installation invokes manga-styled protagonists to tell a Japanese-inspired, supernatural fairy tale; lauren woods’s The Teenth of June combines footage of the crowning of the first African-American Miss Texas with a ‘70s sci-fi movie soundtrack to create an oddly tense vignette.

The exhibition features both traditional masterworks (such as story quilts and paintings inspired by African American history) as well as more novel new-media work (such as a Powerpoint presentation by Renee Stout). Sound-based art and videos toy with the conventions of storytelling in pop music and cinema.

The show is co-curated by local collector Henry L. Thaggert and Arlington Art Center’s Director of Exhibitions, Jeffry Cudlin. This is Thaggert’s second curatorial effort. In February 2008, Thaggert was one of six notable D.C. collectors invited to participate in Collectors Select at the AAC.

Scott Hutchison and Evan Reed
New works by resident painter/new media artist Scott Hutchison and wood sculptor and Georgetown art professor Evan Reed will be on view.

Flat Mates: Transformer’s Flat Files at Arlington Arts Center
Featuring selected unframed works on paper by emerging artists participating in Transformer’s Flat File program. Transformer is a Washington, DC non-profit contemporary arts organization:

Founded in 1974, the AAC is dedicated to presenting and supporting new work of contemporary artists in the Mid-Atlantic States. Located in the historic Maury School building, it holds exhibitions, rents studio spaces, and conducts educational programs for all ages. Normal public hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 703.248.6800 or visit

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