December 5, 2010—April 17, 2011 // Bohorfoush Gallery // FREE
In the early 1960s in New York, the artist Romare Bearden invited a group of African-American artists to meet and discuss their roles as black artists during the charged years of the Civil Rights movement. On July 5th, 1963, the group decided to form a collective and called themselves Spiral. The name was inspired by the Archimedean spiral, which moves outward embracing all directions, yet constantly upward.
Members of Spiral included Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Norman Lewis, Richard Mayhew, Charles Alston, and Reginald Gammon, among others. The only woman invited to join the group was Emma Amos. The artists met regularly to discuss aesthetics, black identity in a mostly white art world, and the matter of responsibility to the community versus artistic freedom. While almost all of the artists had begun their careers with figural work, many were interested in exploring abstraction while continuing to address issues of race, and the urgent social concerns of the day. It was during the Spiral period that Bearden developed his technique of collage, combining photographs of African masks and faces with subject matter from the African-American community. The group organized an exhibition in which each member had to submit work in black and white. The exhibition was a success, but the group members eventually moved apart and on to other concerns.
This exhibition, Spiral: Perspectives on an African-American Art Collective, features work by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Charles Alston, Hale Woodruff, Reginald Gammon, Richard Mayhew, and Emma Amos. Works are drawn from private collectors, galleries, and museums, and the BMA permanent collection.
April 25, 2013 6:30pm in the Museum’s Steiner Auditorium
Artist, activist, and urban-planner Theaster Gates will perform with The Black Monks of Mississippi, an ensemble of musicians who employ a variety of musical traditions, which range from spirituals, blues, gospel and Buddhist and Zen chants. The performance will connect with the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church using as inspiration media coverage of the incident, as well as archival materials of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.
For 'Tis So Sweet or I Need Sugar Lawd, Gates will imagine a set of musical encounters that examine the relationship between human desire, public ecstasy and artistic practice. With musical support from the Black Monks of Mississippi, Gates will share new stories from the north, old stories from the east, and nearly audible fragments from the eternal. This body of work will be recorded live and will be the basis for Gates' most recent performative endeavor "Songs From the Storefront.”
Seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis!
Complete information coming soon!
September 16, 2012 – January 6, 2013 // Jemison Galleries
This fall, the Birmingham Museum of Art will host Norman Rockwell’s America, an in-depth look at the life and work of America’s favorite illustrator. Rockwell’s six-decade career coincided with one of the most eventful periods in American history, spanning four wars, the Great Depression, the space race, and the Civil Rights Movement, all vividly depicted in his work. The exhibition includes 52 original paintings and drawings, and all 323 Saturday Evening Post covers Rockwell created between 1916 and 1963. Organized by the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island, the exhibition premiered to critical and popular acclaim at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery in December 2010. Visitors to the exhibition will also enjoy a supplemental exhibition focusing on Norman Rockwell’s work for The Coca-Cola Company, as well as an exhibition of illustrations from the BMA’s permanent collection, including works by Frederic Remington, N. C. Wyeth, and Maxfield Parrish.
Norman Rockwell’s America was organized by the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport, Rhode Island. Local presentation is made possible by Regions Bank. Additional support provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Vulcan Materials Company Foundation, the City of Birmingham, the Members and Corporate Partners of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Alabama Tourism Department, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and The Friends of Rockwell.
LESSON PLANS FOR TEACHERS
Strategies for Using Norman Rockwell in the Classroom: This lesson plan suggests how to practice close-observation skills to support the visual arts and science, and makes connections with language arts, social studies, and visual arts curricula.
Design-a-Mag: Using Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers from a variety of eras as inspiration, students examine magazine covers to discover the ways in which a magazine cover’s headlines and graphics express the main ideas of the articles inside. Students then select a contemporary article from a newspaper. They analyze its content and create their own Saturday Evening Post cover that summarizes the information contained in the article. Students also choose a political cartoon from which the text has been erased and provide their own text for the image. The product serves as their “letter from the editor.”
August 18–November 17, 2013 // Jemison Galleries
Etched in Collective History presents artists who interrogate, depict, and memorialize the Civil Rights Movement. The Movement inspired a number of artists to participate physically, in marches and sit-ins, as well as creatively, through the act of making art. This exhibition acknowledges these artists, the generations that came after, and most importantly the four young girls— Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—who died in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
The bombing will be situated in relation to the 1950s and 1960s, taking into consideration the events that occurred before and after the tragedy. Additionally, the exhibit will reflect a multi-generational response to both the Civil Rights Movement and the bombing itself. This framework presents a number of voices: multiple viewpoints are needed to understand the impact of racial intolerance and racism against African Americans in this period. These various voices will include male and female artists, as well as local and national artists. With this approach, the audience will learn that there are a number of ways of understanding this period, from a heterogeneous group, thus challenging singular interpretations of history and African Americans.
Etched in Collective History is presented by Regions Bank; additional support provided by Walter Energy.
Video: Director Gail Andrews Discusses The Art of Chris Clark
Celebrate Life: The Art of Chris Clark, is an exhibition featuring the work of a beloved local folk artist and friend to the Birmingham Museum of Art. In this edition of the Museum's weekly free ArtBreak program, BMA Director Gail Andrews discusses this very personal exhibition, and the man whose legacy is being honored.
This exhibition presents 87 works of art made by the Inuit people of Canada. Formerly known as Eskimo, the Inuit are descended from cultures that have inhabited the Arctic regions of Canada, the United States, Greenland, and Russia for over a thousand years.
Works in the exhibition reflect traditional Inuit ways of life and culture, particularly their close observation of Arctic animals, with whom they share the frozen environment. Although contemporary Inuit no longer rely solely on hunting for food, in the recent past, land and sea mammals provided not only a main source of food, but fur and skins for clothing, and sinews and bone for tools. A wide variety of animals and birds are represented in the exhibition, including bears, walrus, seals, muskoxen, wild hares, and loons.
There are also sculptures of people, families, hunters, fishermen, and an igloo with an interior scene. Some sculptures depict transformational figures, spirits, and shamans—religious practitioners who are responsible for maintaining the proper relationship and balance between the human community and spirits that inhabit and govern the natural world.
The works of sculpture and prints, created by men and women, date primarily from the second half of the 20th century. As modern culture has increasingly encroached on Inuit communities and ways of life, sculpture and print-making have emerged not only as a way to augment family resources, but to guard history, stories, beliefs, and life-ways, and transmit them to younger generations and the broader public.
Modern and contemporary Inuit art is sought after by collectors and museums, and is exhibited internationally. Artists in the installation include Pauta Saila (1916–2009), Lucy Tasseor (b. 1934), Barnabus Arnasungaaq (b. 1924), Karoo Ashevak (1940–1974), John Kavik (1897–1993), and Andy Miki (1918–1983), among many others. The exhibition, installed in the Museum’s Native American gallery, is drawn from a single, internationally recognized, private collection in Alabama.