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Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham Museum of Art
Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd
(Formerly 2000 8th Ave. N)
Birmingham, AL 35203
T: 205.254.2565
F: 205.731.9425

Magic City Realism: Richard Coe’s Birmingham
March 24 - June 17, 2018
Arrington Gallery, Bohorfoush Gallery

In the wake of the Great Depression, Birmingham experienced a remarkable transformation that helped shape the city as we know it today. Artist Richard Coe, an Alabama native, documented the city’s rapidly changing urban fabric in his prints and paintings. Magic City Realism: Richard Coe’s Birmingham brings together over 60 of Coe’s images of the city from this decade for the first time.

In 1929, the stock market crashed and the United States economy plummeted into the Great Depression. By 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt had implemented a series of New Deal programs designed to speed economic growth and recovery. Coe arrived in Birmingham in 1934. Working in his Five Points South studio, he illustrated the local impact of these initiatives with his etching needle and paint brush.

In Coe’s images, billowing smoke stacks signify Birmingham’s burgeoning industrial economy. Shown side-by-side with the city’s gleaming downtown, these images capture a flourishing metropolis. Coe also pictured developing residential neighborhoods—both elite and humble—and scenes of daily life that relate a city reshaped by industrial growth and New Deal housing initiatives.

This exhibition represents the Birmingham Museum of Art’s ongoing commitment to exhibiting the arts of Alabama. It is also a part of the state-wide celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial, ALABAMA 200. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue of the same title.

Magic City Realism: Richard Coe’s Birmingham is presented by the City of Birmingham, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and Friends of Magic City Realism.

Friends of Magic City Realism: Anonymous, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Balliet, Alice Meriwether Bowsher, Catherine and Bill Cabaniss, Mr. and Mrs. Ehney A. Camp III, Patrick Cather, Mary Lynda Crockett, Mrs. George V. Daniels, Jr., Betsy A. Dumas, Wanda Elkourie, Hugh and Anna Gainer, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Goings, Jr., James B. Gordy, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Hulsey, Sallie and Jim Johnson, Dr. Julius E. Linn, Jr., Margaret G. Livingston, Mr. and Mrs. Willard McCall, Jr., Emily Omura, Garland and Lathrop Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Murray W. Smith, Mr. James D. Sokol and Ms. Lydia Cheney, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. South III, Dr. and Mrs. David L. Tharpe, Mr. and Mrs. W. Read Voigt, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd R. Wilson, and Mr. and Mrs. James R. Wooten

Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art
Through January 6, 2019
Jemison Galleries

The Birmingham Museum of Art is proud to present Third Space, the first large exhibition of contemporary art from the Museum’s own collection. Third Space highlights more than 100 works of art including paintings, sculpture, photography, and video. The exhibition creates connections between the American South and other parts of the world using contemporary art.

As the first major exhibition of contemporary art from the Museum’s own collection, Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art, brings together the work of more than 90 international artists to examine elements of a shared cultural experience between the American South and the Global South. Third Space features over 100 works of art in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and video, by artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Ebony Patterson, Mark Bradford, José Bedia, Thornton Dial, and William Christenberry.

Curated by Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary art Wassan Al-Khudhairi, the exhibition borrows Homi Bhaba’s term ‘third space,’ which he defines as a space that “challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as a homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by the originary past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People.”

Beyond the geographical boundaries of the American South, the Global South similarly represents marginalized people and places that share a common post-colonial heritage, similar patterns of migration, and other cultural connections. With this in mind, the exhibition examines the Global South from the perspective of the American South by working through a series of ideas that include:

migration/diaspora/exile, gaze/agency/representation, spirit/nature/landscape, and traditions/histories/memory.

In addition to works from the permanent collection, the BMA has commissioned Rural Studio to produce a work of art that can serve as a gathering space within the gallery designed for reflection and contemplation. Rural Studio, founded and headquartered in nearby Hale County, Alabama, is an off-campus, design-build program of Auburn University that provides architectural solutions to underserved populations across the country. In the past year, Rural Studio has participated in several prestigious exhibitions, including the Milan Triennale, and they were selected as the only representative from the United States to present at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Once the exhibition closes, the structure that Rural Studio completes for Third Space will be repurposed for the construction of a house for one of its projects.

A key component of Third Space will be a program series titled Chapters, which invites artists and curators from across the country to Birmingham to discuss their respective practices and ideas surrounding the exhibition. Six Chapters programs will take place over the course of the two-year exhibition and will include artists working in a range of disciplines with varying backgrounds, from those academically trained to those self-taught. The exhibition will be outfitted with various interpretation tools to assist visitors in navigating the gallery. Using their mobile devices, visitors can learn more about works in the exhibition through the BMA’s Smart Guide, through which they may listen to different perspectives on selected works of art from voices of the Birmingham community.

Presented by PNC

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