“The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse” is a new exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that explores the diversity of Black culture in the South through a powerful presentation of multimedia works. Among the 140 pieces on display, by artists such as William Edmondson, Thornton Dial, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Kara Walker, and Arthur Jafa, are several large-scale installations that encourage visitors to reflect on Black history and Black identity through immersive visual and audio experiences.
Blackness – that is, the cultural identity borne from the lived experiences of people of African descent – is as expansive as the sky.
And like the aerial plane, the longer you look, the more intriguing it becomes.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is inviting the public to take a deeper look into the Southern vernacular of Blackness through the twin lenses of sound and sight via its provocative new exhibit, “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse,” on view through Sept. 6. After that, a truncated version of the show will travel to art museums in Houston and Denver, among other cities.
But first, Richmond gets to be blown away by the original vision.
A massive show featuring some 140 works in a range of forms, the exhibit explores and reflects Black identity, culture and creative expression over a century-long span from 1920 to 2020. It is an immersive meditation on the singularly meaningful art created by Black artists from the South and evidence of how deeply these creators continue to influence and shape American and global culture in contemporary and historic ways.