The South is known and beloved for many things, including its hospitality, food and style. But perhaps the region’s best attribute is its storytelling and the varied mediums used to share those stories.
This weekend, the Columbia Museum of Art opens REMIX: Themes and Variations in African-American Art (Feb. 5 – May 3, 2016). As the name suggests, REMIX highlights the practice among many African-American artists of retelling or refashioning themes, ideas and objects in new ways and from their own unique perspective to share their stories. This show is more than an art exhibition; it’s a collection of stories and a community project two and half years in the making. The idea for REMIX came from the museum’s chief curator, Will South, followed by community input and thoughtful dialogue with local artists and the African American community. The result is a collection of 45 works representing some of the most innovative and influential African-American artists, including nine South Carolina artists and the famed Atlanta artist, Fahamu Pecou.
South points out that every time we tell a story, something is added and something is left out; there is tension between innovation and change and the cultural search for stability and continuity. The result of that tension, says South, is that stories are updated and elements change, but there is always a sense of familiarity.
REMIX reflects this tension. Take, for example, Pecou’s piece Rock.Well, a take on Norman Rockwell’s Triple Self Portrait. The piece is familiar yet tells a story with new meaning and fresh context. REMIX invites us to linger and ponder over each work as we pinpoint the familiar, identify the new and explore the artist’s full story.
Opening festivities kick off tonight with Arts and Draughts, the museum’s quarterly celebration of art, beer and happiness. Enjoy live musical performances, D.I.Y. art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts and gallery tours. ($9 nonmembers / $5 members)
Can’t make it this weekend? The CMA will host a number of special programs through May 3, including a lecture with Fahamu Pecou on March 16. Just make sure to visit Columbia before May 3, as the CMA is the only venue to host it. Plan your trip at www.visitcolumbiasc.com.