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The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

“The South got something to say.”
André 3000

Explore the themes of the exhibition with selected examples of visual artwork and music. Discover how Black artists and musical legends draw upon visual, sonic, and material traditions to unpack what it means to be in and a part of the Dirty South.

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American Land, American People

Native peoples’ philosophies on land insist that land and people are inseparable parts of a living spirit. The arrival of Europeans, however, introduced a diametrically opposing world view based in Christianity and expansionism. Presented in pairings across time and space, the works here serve to visualize these perspectives and remind us that land is much more than the soil beneath our feet.

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Alphonse Mucha: Paris 1900

Czechoslovakian artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was a featured artist at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.

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The Black Photographers Annual

From 1973 to 1980, a group of African American artists in New York City published The Black Photographers Annual. The idea emerged from the collective of African American photographers known as the Kamoinge Workshop (Kamoinge, from the Kikuyu language of Kenya, means “to work together”). The forty-nine artists featured in the book, however, far exceeded the boundaries of the collective.

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Lillian Thomas Pratt

Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s extensive Russian decorative arts collection is in large part attributed to one donor, Mrs. Lillian Thomas Pratt, whose collection of more than 400 Russian decorative arts objects all began with a fork.

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Traverses: Art from the Islamic World across Time and Place

Cutting across continents, cultures, and a millennium, this Installation Story brings together works from VMFA’s permanent collections that were created in regions where Islam is or has been the dominant religion, or by artists from these places. Some themes are recurrent—the written word, self-awareness, cultural tension—but perhaps most apparent is the great diversity of these works.

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Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop

"Thus it is valid to state that the Kamoinge Workshop, while operating within an arena of negation, was primarily forged in an atmosphere of hope and not despair."
—Louis Draper

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The Ludwig and Rosy Fischer Collection

Expressionism is our understanding; it’s central concept is not a style, it is a Weltanschauung, a philosophy of life. . . . But it looked like something I had never seen before. People whom I tell about this usually ask me, “Did you like it?” But I cannot answer that! It was beyond “liking.” It was beyond anything I had seen before. It was like entering a new world.—Anne Fischer, 1994

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