BTW Series 1 – NO. 9
Through August 2023 at 21c Museum Hotel, 221 Second Ave. N.
The greatest place to see contemporary art this season is inside a hotel. That’s no surprise to anyone already familiar with 21c Museum Hotels, the boutique chain with outposts throughout an area that, in times before the dismantling of regional hegemony in the art world, was known as flyover states. Thankfully that time is well in the rearview — which is in keeping with the forward-looking view of the exhibition, titled The Future Is Female. An exhibition of contemporary feminist art from across the world — including stellar offerings from Nashville-based artists Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Jessica Ingram, Jodi Hays, Vadis Turner and Raheleh Filsoofi — the exhibit is broad and inclusive. Curator Alice Stites says as much in her curatorial statement, which references the works of both nonbinary and gender-nonconforming artists. “The use of the self as subject and the prevalence of craft-based practices such as sewing, weaving, embroidery, and appliqué in 21st-century art are central to this legacy [of feminist art].” The show opened in July, and will remain on view at the downtown space through August 2023.
Oct. 7-Dec. 31 at the Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway
Nashville native Virginia Overton makes site-specific work that utilizes reclaimed plywood, refrigerator parts and farm utensils — but her work commands attention from institutions far from her Middle Tennessee farmland home. She has work in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and earlier this year she had an exhibition at Goldsmiths CCA in London, installed a permanent site-specific installation at LaGuardia Airport in New York, and was included in the 59th Venice Biennale. To learn more about the artist, her practice and this show, mark your calendars for Oct. 22, when there will be a conversation between Overton and the director of the Yale Center for British Art Courtney J. Martin.
Oct. 8-Jan. 8 at Cheekwood, 1200 Forrest Park Drive
Depending on your age, you were likely introduced to The Addams Family through either the 1960s TV show or the 1990s movies, but the famously morbid and macabre family has origins in the 1930s — that’s when illustrator Charles Addams first began making the single-panel cartoons depicting the darkly comic lives of his titular family. Addams has an outsized influence — Edward Gorey and Tim Burton are among those whose style shows direct inspiration from Addams — and this exhibit of approximately 80 works of ink, gouache and watercolor on paper is sure to delight fans of all things creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky — and just in time for Halloween.
Nov. 11-March 5 at the Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway
This ambitious immersive exhibition from renowned transmedia artist Matthew Ritchie has all the makings of an epic sensation. A Garden in the Flood will include not only paintings and architectural structures, but also sweeping diagrams and AI-created hallucinatory animations. In the curatorial statement, it’s clear that this work will build on the museum’s continuing explorations of the sublime and technology: “This exhibition’s interweaving of paradise and chaos offers a meditation on art’s capacity to help overcome our current social fragmentation — to be a connective tissue that is healing and beautiful.” Of particular note is the inclusion of a new video work that the Frist commissioned from composer Hanna Benn in collaboration with the celebrated Fisk Jubilee Singers. The piece, titled “Telmun,” is named for a site near the Persian Gulf that was once believed to have been the site of the Garden of Eden, and the visual elements include images of the Fisk Jubilee Singers as well as abstract diagrams from W.E.B. Du Bois’ data portraits.
BTW Series 1 – NO. 9
Through Oct. 27 at TSU’s Hiram Van Gordon Gallery, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
When a designer shifts into a fine-art environment, the results are often incendiary. That might be because working designers think about how things look all day, and they’ll instead let emotion and intuition steer their ships while they’re creating. That definitely seems to be the case with Rick Griffith, a fantastic designer and creative director whose installation of 30 collaged panels is one of the highlights of Tennessee State University’s recent slate of exhibitions. For his source material, Griffith used a single issue of Sepia magazine from December 1971. The resulting works remind me a little of the collages of Lorraine O’Grady — who has called her minimalist cutouts “haiku diptychs” — or even John Baldessari. Come through TSU on Friday, Sept. 23, to meet Griffith and listen to him lecture about his work — follow his Instagram (@rickgriffith) for details on the exact time and location.
Through Oct. 4 at Lipscomb’s Hutcheson Gallery, 1 University Park Drive
Originally slated for an exhibition in Mexico City earlier this year, Morgan Ogilvie’s False Flags will be on display at Lipscomb University through Oct. 4. The show consists of multiple 4-by-4-foot canvases of a single image taken from a television still of the long-running crime drama Columbo. The still is a close-up of actress Suzanne Pleshette, who plays a woman who has — or perhaps hasn’t — witnessed a murder. Each painting conveys a very specific combination of self-doubt, paranoia and TV reruns that should feel very familiar to anyone who remembers the isolation of 2020. It’s not surprising that that’s when Ogilvie began this project, secluded in her home studio in Franklin.
Opening Oct. 6 at Fisk’s Carl Van Vechten Gallery, 1000 17th Ave. N.
This expansive four-part exhibition is the first major traveling exhibition to examine the complex connections between African artists and American patrons, artists and cultural organizations in the mid-20th century. The exhibition is drawn primarily from Fisk’s collection, and features more than 70 artworks by 50 artists, revealing a transcontinental network of artists, curators and scholars who challenged assumptions about African art in the United States. It’s sure to be a fascinating experience full of new discoveries — works from Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan) and Skunder Boghossian (Ethiopia), as well as a new commission by sculptor Ndidi Dike (Nigeria), look especially compelling.
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