Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art | Nasher Museum of Art | Arts | Indy Week

Arts

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art

When: Sept. 1-Jan. 8 2017

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31 SOUTHERN ACCENT OPENING PARTY

"A Day at the Beach," Kadir Nelson's illustration for a recent New Yorker cover, depicts a clear-skied beach day. A black father stands next to his two daughters; his son is perched on his shoulders. But clouds are reflected in the father's sunglasses—the only blemish on an otherwise perfect family portrait. Maybe Nelson took this image from his own life on the Pacific shores of Los Angeles. "Now that I'm a father myself, I relish the long summer days spent with my own children," he recently said. But it's just as easy to imagine this scene anywhere on the Southeastern seaboard, where beaches once symbolized the disruption and destruction of the black family. To the versed eye, those clouds are still very visible—especially below the Mason-Dixon line. Similar truths are uncovered in Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, an expansive new exhibit that contextualizes a complicated regional identity. Opening at the Nasher in September, it includes works by more than sixty Southern and non-Southern artists, as well as a music library that accentuates the area's rich cultural milieu. So why not kick off the whole dag-on thing with some music and a cash bar? Wednesday night's opening party features a New Orleans homage from the John Brown Band, distinct takes on Mason jar jam-rock from Justin Robinson and Shirlette Ammons, and a dance party with North Carolina hip-hop ambassador 9th Wonder. —Eric Tullis

NASHER MUSEUM OF ART, DURHAM7–10 p.m., free, www.nasher.duke.edu

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