Frist Center for the Visual Arts FRIST CENTER
Nashville, TN
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Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture
July 20–October 28, 2018
Upper-Level Galleries

Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.
—Garry Winogrand

Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture explores the changing relationship between viewer, photographer, and architect, from the 1930s to the present. Demonstrating how photographers connect a building’s identity with the people who reside in, work in, visit, or simply look at it, the exhibition also reveals how this understanding may be layered, reinforced, or in some instances radically reinterpreted.

Buildings and the way they are photographed are visible symbols of a society’s desires and the social, economic, and aesthetic concerns of an era. Photographers choose between black-and-white and color, sharp contrast and soft focus, and straightforward and dramatic framing to record their subjects. Contemporary photographers add the use of new digital technologies, allowing for an even greater manipulation of an image. Whatever the medium, the intent is to involve the viewer in understanding the symbolism of architecture and public spaces. By combining different contexts and frames of meaning, Image Building invites viewers to actively experience structures and spaces in novel and expanded ways.

Many architects hope that their conceptual intentions will last as long as the actual structures. Creating a perception—a mental or actual image of a structure—has become a vital element to architectural practice, shaping architects’ ideas about how buildings will look in addition to how they are experienced. But the messages contained in architecture are filtered and even altered by the lenses of a changing society. This exhibition presents fascinating photographic conversations between architect and artist, past and present, and facts, dreams, and illusions.

Image Building features work by contemporary photographers including Iwan Baan, Lewis Baltz, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Stephen Shore, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and earlier modernist architectural photographers like Berenice Abbott, Samuel Gottscho, Julius Shulman, and Ezra Stoller.

Non-flash photography by the public for non-commercial, personal use is allowed in this exhibition.

Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century
June 22–September 16, 2018
Ingram Gallery

Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century, a sweeping survey of contemporary art from around the world, celebrates paint’s capacity to weave together images of physical reality, memories, emotions, and the virtual world. The artists in the exhibition dramatically describe the destabilizing effects of such 21st-century forces as globalism, mass migration, radical ideologies, and complex technologies.

The feelings these artists express, which range from despair at humanity’s darker side to exhilaration at ever-expanding possibilities, are associated with the sublime, a concept that has traditionally referred to being awestruck by the unfathomable power of God and nature. While this can involve sensations of terror and helplessness, it can also relate to wonder, as discussed by the 19th-century artist and critic John Ruskin:

Anything which elevates the mind is sublime, and elevation
of mind is produced by the contemplation of greatness of any
kind. ... Sublimity is, therefore, only another word for the
effect of greatness upon the feelings; greatness, whether
of matter, space, power, virtue, or beauty: and there is
perhaps no desirable quality of a work of art, which, in its
perfection, is not, in some way or degree, sublime.

Chaos and Awe shows painting to be an apt medium for conveying a contemporary notion of the sublime, with works in the exhibition providing visual analogies for the great depth and mystery of the human mind and its extension into the world.

Chaos and Awe was organized by Mark Scala, chief curator, Frist Art Museum.

Franz Ackermann Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga
Ahmed Alsoudani Rashid Johnson
Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh Guillermo Kuitca
Korakrit Arunanondchai Heather Gwen Martin
Radcliffe Bailey Julie Mehretu
Ali Banisadr Jiha Moon
Pedro Barbeito Wangechi Mutu
Jeremy Blake James Perrin
Matti Braun Neo Rauch
Dean Byington Matthew Ritchie
Hamlett Dobbins Rachel Rossin
Nogah Engler Pat Steir
Anoka Faruqee Barbara Takenaga
Barnaby Furnas Dannielle Tegeder
Ellen Gallagher Kazuki Umezawa
Wayne Gonzales Charline von Heyl
Wade Guyton Sarah Walker
Rokni Haerizadeh Corinne Wasmuht
Peter Halley Sue Williams

The Presence of Your Absence Is Everywhere: Afruz Amighi
June 22–September 16, 2018
Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery

Brooklyn-Based Artist Afruz Amighi Debuts Her Women Made of Steel | Article in Observer by Margaret Carrigan, November 28, 2017

This exhibition presents recent sculptures and drawings by the critically acclaimed artist Afruz Amighi, who was born in Iran in 1974 and has lived in the United States since 1977. Her work is in the permanent collection of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In 2009, she received the inaugural Jameel Prize, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s prestigious international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. Using light and dark as her primary medium and telling stories in shadows, she creates sculptures made of industrial materials commonly found on urban construction sites. When illuminated, the sculptures defy their humble origins and mimic the effect of more decadent luxury objects, such as chandeliers, jewelry, and Persian metalwork. Recently, art deco architecture, Native American headdresses, and nuclear missiles have entered her repertoire of sources, alongside the art of the Middle East, as the artist engages with her mixed Iranian American heritage and current political events. The exhibition will include the suspended sculpture My House, My Tomb, which explores myths about the Taj Mahal and has never been exhibited in the United States.

“The presence of your absence is everywhere,” adapted from a letter by poet Edna St. Vincent Millay to Llewelyn Powys, April 20, 1931 from Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay, ed. Allan Ross Macdougall (Camden, ME: Down East Books, 1952), courtesy of Holly Peppe, Literary Executor, Millay Society, millay.org.

Photography of this exhibition for personal use is allowed. Flash, monopods, tripods, and video cameras are prohibited at all times and in all galleries.

We Shall Overcome: Civil Rights and the Nashville Press, 1957–1968
March 30–October 14, 2018
Conte Community Arts Gallery

Demonstrators sang in front of the Nashville Police Department on August 7, 1961, protesting what they called police brutality in a racial clash two nights earlier. They criticized “inadequate” police protection and called for qualified black personnel to “replace incompetent officers on the police force.” Photo by Eldred Reaney. Courtesy of The Tennessean

While fellow southern cities such as Birmingham, Greensboro, and Little Rock may have been the focus of more headlines, Nashville played an important role in the civil rights movement during the late 1950s and 1960s. In addition to being the first metropolis in the southeast to integrate places of business peacefully, it was a hub for training students in nonviolent protest, many of whom became influential figures on the national stage. During an April 1960 speech at Fisk University, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself said, “I came to Nashville not to bring inspiration, but to gain inspiration from the great movement that has taken place in this community.” This legacy is worthy of reexamination fifty years after King’s death, when race relations and social justice are again at the forefront of our country’s consciousness.

The fifty photographs in this exhibition were taken between 1957, the year that desegregation in public schools began, and 1968, when the National Guard was called in to surround the state capitol in the wake of King’s assassination in Memphis. Of central significance are images of lunch counter sit-ins, led by students from local historically black colleges and universities, that took place in early 1960. The photographs are sourced from the archives of Nashville’s two daily newspapers at the time: The Tennessean and the now-defunct Nashville Banner. Some were selected to be published, but many were not. This exhibition offers an opportunity to consider the role of images and the media in shaping public opinion, a relevant subject in today’s news-saturated climate.

All images generously provided by The Tennessean and the Nashville Public Library, Special Collections, which houses the Nashville Banner Archives

For their guidance with this project, we give special thanks to Andrea Blackman and Beth Odle at the Nashville Public Library, Special Collections Division; Maria De Varenne, Larry McCormack, and Ricky Rogers at The Tennessean; and Linda Wynn at Fisk University and the Tennessee Historical Commission.

Organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts

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