Southern Accent

Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art

Southern Accent

Book Pages: 276 Illustrations: 336 color illustrations Published: September 2016

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, General Interest > NC and Regional U.S.

Featuring the work of sixty artists and including 300 illustrations, the catalog Southern Accent accompanies a major contemporary art exhibition that questions and explores the complex and contested space of the American South. This unprecedented exhibition investigates the many realities, fantasies, and myths of the South that have long captured the public’s imagination, while presenting a wide range of perspectives that create a composite portrait of southern identity through contemporary art. It looks at the South as an open-ended question and concept in itself by encompassing a broad spectrum of media and approaches, demonstrating that southernness is more of a shared sensibility than any one definable culture or style. While the exhibition includes artwork from the 1950s to the present, it primarily focuses on the past thirty-five years. With numerous contributions by artists, scholars, musicians, and poets, a music-listening library, and a timeline of scholarship on southern art, this catalog redefines the way we look at the South in contemporary art. Southern Accent will be on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from September 1, 2016 to January 8, 2017 and at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 29, 2017, to August 20, 2017.

Contributors. Diego Camposeco, Mel Chin, Brittney Cooper, John T. Edge, William Fagaly, Carter Foster, Brendan Greaves, Harrison Haynes, Patterson Hood, Miranda Lash, Ada Limón, Mark Anthony Neal, Catherine Opie, Fahamu Pecou, Richard J. Powell, Tom Rankin, Dario Robleto, Trevor Schoonmaker, Bradley Sumrall, Natasha Trethewey, Kara Walker, Jeff Whetstone
Selected Artists: Walter Inglis Anderson, Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, Sanford Biggers, Mel Chin, William Christenberry, Robert Colescott, William Cordova, Thorton Dial, Sam Durant, William Eggleston, Minnie Evans, Howard Finster, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Deborah Grant, Barkley L. Hendricks, James Herbert with R.E.M., Birney Imes, George Jenne, Deborah Luster, Kerry James Marshall, Jing Niu, Tameka Norris, Catherine Opie, Gordon Parks, Ebony G. Patterson,  Dario Robleto, Xaviera Simmons,  Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Hank Willis Thomas,  Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems

Publication of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University


"[T]he work in this wonderful catalog comes from many perspectives, often grappling with the subtexts of race, religion, class, and loss. Curators and exhibition organizers Lash and Schoonmaker have assembled a marvelous group of artists, writers, curators, pundits, and musicians to address the question of Southern identity and the Southern experience, creating a grand pastiche of visual art, writing, and music. Covering touchstones such as Andy Warhol's appropriations of civil rights documentation and the classic lightning rod of polemic imagery, the Confederate battle flag, there is plenty of grist for controversy and a deep emotional well to plumb. A powerful collection and compelling guide to an outstanding exhibition. Well done." — Dan McClure, Library Journal

Southern Accent is an important contribution to existing scholarship. Not only a bellwether for new approaches to thinking about the region within the context of contemporary art, it also provides a framework for considering it through the experiences of its most accomplished voices. Southern Accent therefore stands as a testament to this particular place at a very specific moment in time.” — Jennifer Jankauskas, Panorama


Availability: In stock
Price: $49.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Miranda Lash is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. She previously served as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art and is editor of Mel Chin: Rematch, Dario Robleto: The Prelives of the Blues, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and Skylar Fein: Youth Manifesto.
Trevor Schoonmaker is Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he has curated traveling exhibitions such as Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey and The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl. He is the Artistic Director of the Prospect New Orleans Triennial, 2017–2018, and is the editor of several books, including Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Directors' Foreword / 12
Curators' Acknowledgments  14
What Do We Envision When We Talk about the South? / Miranda Lash  19
Southern Accent: The Sound of Seeing / Trevor Schoonmaker  55
South / Natasha Trethewey  77
Latinos and the North Carolina Landscape / Diego Camposeco  83
Riding the Soul Food Rickshaw / John T. Edge  87
Accents Inside My Head / Carter Foster  91
KEW ACM ALT / Kara Walker and Ari Marcopoulos  95
On Things Unseen / Tom Rankin  101
Porch and Drawl / Richard J. Powell  107
Southern Mountain Time / Jeff Whetstone  121
Womanish / Brittney Cooper  127
"Humming This Song Trying to Remember the Way Another One Goes": Intermedia Conversations in a Southern Vernacular / Brendan Greaves  137
Down Home on the Moon / Mark Anthony Neal  157
I Reckon / Harrison Haynes  165
The Three Great Alabama Icons / Patterson Hood  171
Soul Food / Fahamu Pecou  177
No Lonesome Road / Catherine Opie  183
Honky-Tonks and Hospices / Dario Robleto  187
Medicine / Mel Chin  191
The Fast-Talking, Knife-Throwing, Trouble-Making Motorcycle Legend and Naturalist, Jim Roche, Makes Some Damn Good Work / Bradley Sumrall  197
Field Bling / Ada Limón  203
Southern Accent Music Library / Brendan Greaves, Harrison Haynes, and Trevor Schoonmaker  205
Chronology of Southern Art and Scholarship / Andrew Hibbard  213
The First Southern Rim Experience / William Fagaly  221
Southern Accent Reading List / Miranda Lash  225
Exhibition Checklist  231
Reproduction Credits  260
Curator Biographies  268
Lenders to the Exhibition  269
Board Members  270
Museum Staff  271
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-938989-38-7
Publicity material