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Supported by the Power – Lonnie Holley

Exhibiting in the John Hope Franklin Gallery from December 15, 2015 – February 26, 2016.

 

Lonnie Holley is the artist working today who can best eliminate the barrier between taught and untaught art. This collapse of dividers, not unlike racial ones, represents a declassification or deconstruction of a deeply troubling history in order to create a more communitarian future.

Holley is a peerless artist who we best label contemporary, not folk. His sense of contemporary is more closely aligned with current social and political events than most contemporary artists who seem to have only evolved their use of materials.

In Lonnie Holley: Supported by the Power, sculptures emerge from Alabama yards and Atlanta corners. Holley’s themes in his art and music run concurrent to contemporary actualities: post-Jim Crow race pathologies or a recycling of consumer goods towards a more sustainable future.   His story is a southern tale. The history of the South conjures the most American of stories: a story of oppression from tilled fields and small yards to urban corners of southern and northern cities.

Holley, when compared to an exemplary artist like Robert Rauschenberg, creates works which are more zen-like, less neurotic and contradictory and more future-predictive in terms of 1/ connecting to tradition 2/ a recycling of materials to make a more sustainable art 3/ creating works with fewer conservation problems as they are already time-rendered 4/ its connection to music 5/ creating a language of liberation 6/ the connection to nature and local specificities.

On the main wall we see four totemic, cruciform-like works which convey the African-American exigency of forced labor, suffering and the genesis of religious sanctuary.   On the end wall, Never to be Opened Again, made by Holley in post-Katrina New Orleans, depicts a local history in ruins, a result of the baneful mix of a corrupted nature and politics.   In the two remaining works, Supported by the Power and The Catholic Ladies’ Picture, Holley creates a personal history (auto-portraiture as empowerment) and a conceptual nod to art history (art objects as carriers of power). Supported by the Power, consisting solely of 7 sculptures, we can still grasp the sum power of Lonnie Holley’s work.

Special thanks are due to: the artist, Matt and William Arnett, Bradford Cox, Rodney and Nancy Gould, MA, Joan and Michael Salke, MA, Jason Doty, Giovanni Zanalda and Lauren Feilich.

Events

Creative Memory

The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution

An exhibition curated by Sana Yazigi, creativememory.org

 

by Sana Yazigi, October 2016

In July 2015, two pieces of graffiti appeared on a wall in the besieged district of Al-Waer, in the city of Homs: “One day, we’ll be what we want to be. The journey hasn’t begun and the road is not finished” and “I’m here, this is my trace, a moon will emerge from the darkness.”

With these words of hope from the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich, Syrian men and women are resisting suffering and death, as they aspire to a better future.

The Syrians have become invisible, hidden by the media, who only talk about the fight against radical Islamists, but never about the democratic motivations of the people.

It is as if in Syria there were only Bashar Asad and Daesh, as if individual Syrians did not exist, as if they were not resisting, not loving and not demanding their right

Creative Memory follows the tracks and traces that Syrian artist-activists have left: graffiti, drawings, poetry, photographs, sculptures, paintings, caricatures… Today the site features over 24,000 items in three languages and 22 categories classified according to the date and place of creation and the names of their authors.

The website brings together works from the Syrian revolution and provides information about each one. We look at how people have given expression to their political, economic and social demands. We study their creations in order to preserve the memory of Syrian creative expression from the beginning of the Revolution in 2011 until today.

With simple but meaningful words and images, Syrians have cried out, but their demands have been forgotten and their causes abandoned. This is why we created this site. To resist amnesia. To support the Syrian cause. To pay homage to all those who have embodied, in their actions, a historic change.

We present these works to those who know all about the situation in Syria but also to those who know nothing. We go out of our way to give Syrians pride of place and to highlight the subjectivity of individuals. They must be made visible, so that the whole world should recognise them, so that their cause shouldn’t die. And this faith is the foundation of hope.

This exhibition was commissioned by Festival International des Arts de Bordeaux Métropole (FAB). Produced by the FAB (Bordeaux, France), supported by Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez (Bordeaux, France), coproduced by Scène Nationale Tandem (Arras-Douai, France). First presented in October 2016 during the FAB.