Feature Articles

January 2014

Duke University in Durham, NC, is Presenting Three Exhibitions

Duke University in Durham, NC, is presenting three exhibits including: Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space, on view through Feb. 2, 2014; Another Look: Appropriation in Art, on view through Apr. 27, 2014; and Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, on view from Jan. 30 through May 11, 2014. All three exhibitions are on view at the The Nasher Museum of Art.

Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space explores the creation and maintenance of borders, both physical as well as psychological, through the works of artists primarily from South Asia. These artists focus on the idea of partition as a productive space–where nations are made through forging new identities and relationships; reconfiguring memory and creative forgetting; re-writing history and the making of myths; and through the creation and patrolling of borders.

Developed by the nonprofit arts organization Green Cardamom, this exhibition originated in London in 2009 focused on South Asian artists and the division of India in 1947. The project later expanded to a larger exhibition at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, incorporating works by artists from countries such as Mexico, Lebanon, and Ireland.

The artists are Bani Abidi, Roohi Ahmed, Francis Alÿs, Farida Batool, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Muhanned Cader, DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture/Art Residency), Iftikhar Dadi, Anita Dube, Taghreed Elsanhouri, Sophie Ernst, Gauri Gill, Shilpa Gupta, Zarina Hashmi, Mona Hatoum, Ahsan Jamal, Amar Kanwar, Nalini Malani, Naeem Mohaiemen, Tom Molloy, Rashid Rana, Raqs Media Collective, Jolene Rickard, Seher Shah, Surekha, Hajra Waheed and Muhammad Zeeshan.

This exhibition is co-curated by Hammad Nasar (curator and co-founder of Green Cardamom) and Iftikhar Dadi (Associate Professor of Art History and Department Chair Art at Cornell University).

Lines of Control is a Green Cardamom Project. Its presentation at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has been jointly organized by Green Cardamom and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Major support for the exhibition and catalogue was provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Jarett F. and Younghee Kim-Wait Fund for Contemporary Islamic and Middle Eastern Arts, Gandhara-Art, the Mondriaan Fund, and Ali and Amna Naqvi.

The exhibition is made possible by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the Fenwick Foundation, and Barbara Nicholson McFadyen. Additional support is provided by the BorderWork(s) Humanities Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, supported by the Humanities Writ Large grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The exhibition, Another Look: Appropriation in Art is on view through Apr. 27, 2014.

Appropriation has existed for as long as humans have created art, whether it is called parody, pastiche, copy, imitation, plagiarism—or even forgery and fake. Since the turn of the 20th century, however, artists have appropriated imagery from well-known works of art, commodities and the media in order to make a statement about art’s relationship to, and place within, our world.

The artists included in this installation use appropriation in their own way and for their own purposes, addressing themes of identity, politics, economics, history and nostalgia. Central to all of these works are questions of originality and the processes that go into making art.

This installation includes works from the Nasher Museum’s collection by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alice Wagner, Kehinde Wiley, Vik Muniz, Alexander Kosolapov and others.

The exhibition Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist will be on view from Jan. 30 through May 11, 2014.

The Nasher Museum presents the first sustained examination of the remarkable paintings of Archibald John Motley, Jr. (1891-1981), a master colorist and radical interpreter of urban culture. Motley has captured worldwide attention with his brilliant yet idiosyncratic paintings known for rainbow-hued, syncopated composition. For the first time, this exhibition introduces his work within an international context. Archibald Motley includes 45 works from each period of Motley’s long career, depicting modern African American life in Chicago, portraits and archetypes, Jazz Age Paris, and 1950s Mexico.

Born in New Orleans, Motley spent the first half of the 20th century living and working in a predominately white neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest side, only a few miles from the city’s growing black community, known as “Bronzeville” in Motley’s day. Motley intensely examines this community, depicting Chicago’s African American elites, rustic, recently disembarked Southern migrants and common, overlooked characters.

Motley also includes portrait studies that reveal his part voyeuristic, part genealogical examinations of race, gender and sexuality. His paintings of primitivist and folkloric fantasies picturing stereotypical figures and reveries of slavery–considered objectionable by some viewers–will be interpreted by this exhibition within the context of other modern art inventions such as the raucous and often ribald “Hokum” blues music issuing from Bronzeville’s assorted theaters and cabarets.

Motley spent the year 1929-30 in Paris, France, on a Guggenheim Fellowship. His 1929 work Blues, a colorful, rhythm-inflected painting of Jazz Age Paris, has long provided a canonical picture of African American cultural expression during this period. Several other memorable canvases vividly capture the pulse and tempo of “la vie bohème.” Similar in structure and spirit to his Chicago paintings, these Parisian canvases thematically and pictorially extended the geographical boundaries of the Harlem Renaissance, depicting a decidedly African diaspora in Montparnasse’s meandering streets and congested cabarets.

Finally, the exhibition considers selected works that the artist created in Mexico in the 1950s. These chromatically jarring works examine Mexico’s nascent and often seedy tourist industry during this decade.

Motley’s renderings of a vibrant and tumultuous African American community in the years just prior to and after the Great Depression, glimmers and phantasms of interwar France, and reflections on the so-called “El Milagro Mexicano” in post-WWII Mexico all demonstrate his privileging of color, emotional expressionism, and atmosphere over naturalism.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is organized and curated by Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University.

The exhibition is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art; the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor; and the Henry Luce Foundation. Major support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art; Drs. Victor and Lenore Behar; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; and Deborah DeMott. Additional generous support is provided by Graduate Liberal Studies at Duke University, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Erickson Advisors, Parker and Otis, Lisa Lowenthal Pruzan and Jonathan Pruzan, Richard Tigner, Gail Belvett, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Mindy and Guy Solie, The Chronicle, C.T. Woods-Powell and Richard J. Powell, and Angela O. Terry. This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 919/684-5135 or visit (www.nasher.duke.edu).

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