The Old, Weird America

Overview

Borrowing its title from Greil Marcus' 1997 book The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes, this publication is produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, which considers the work of 16 artists who explore American folk imagery and history from the time of European settlement to the 1960s. Dylan, Marcus argues, was influential because he explored an older, half-forgotten world of American legend that seemed at once stranger and more telling than ...

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Overview

Borrowing its title from Greil Marcus' 1997 book The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes, this publication is produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, which considers the work of 16 artists who explore American folk imagery and history from the time of European settlement to the 1960s. Dylan, Marcus argues, was influential because he explored an older, half-forgotten world of American legend that seemed at once stranger and more telling than anything found in the mainstream. The artists featured in this volume, all of whom came to prominence in the last decade, include Jeremy Blake, Sam Durant, Barnaby Furnas, Brad Kahlhamer, Margaret Kilgallen, Dario Robleto, Allison Smith and Kara Walker, among others. As a group, they draw on folklore for its ability to illuminate American cultural life in its strange mixture of civilization and barbarism, enlightenment and madness.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933619125
  • Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Blake was born in 1971. Based in Los Angeles, he made a name for himself in the art world and beyond with his beautiful, complex digital animations, which might best be described as time-based color-field paintings. His work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, as well as important group shows including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's 010101: Art In Technological Times, and the 2002 and 2003 Whitney Biennials. Blake made his mainstream debut in 2002 with the animated sequences punctuating Paul Thomas Anderson's film Punch-Drunk Love and the artwork for musician Beck's album, Sea Change.

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California in 1969. Solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted at such venues as the 25th Biennale Sao Paolo, Kunstverein Hannover, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Renaissance Society, Chicago. In 1997, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. Walker lives and works in New York, where she is a professor at Columbia University.

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California in 1969. She received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. The artist is best known for exploring the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality through her iconic, silhouetted figures. Walker's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A 1997 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award, Walker was the United States representative to the 2002 Sao PaoloBienal in Brazil. Her first full-scale museum survey opens at the Walker Art Center in February 2007. Walker currently lives in New York where she is on the faculty of the MFA program at Columbia University.

Greta Pratt's photographs have appeared in numerous magazines and books worldwide including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, American Art, Harper's, and Mother Jones. Pratt's work is included in major public and private collections, including the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and The Minneapolis Institute of Art.

"Toby Kamps is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. His prior publications include Small Worlds: Dioramas in Contemporary Art, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and 20th Century Mexican Art, and Lateral Thinking: Art of the 1990s."

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Table of Contents

Lenders to the Exhibition 7

Foreword Linda Shearer Shearer, Linda 9

Acknowledgments Toby Kamps Kamps, Toby 10

Essays

The Old, Weird America Toby Kamps Kamps, Toby 14

American Soul Underground Michael Duncan Duncan, Michael 26

Waking the Dead: Music, Art, and the Basement Noise of History Colleen Sheehy Sheehy, Colleen 38

Plates Toby Kamps Kamps, Toby

Eric Beltz 54

Jeremy Blake 58

Sam Durant 64

Barnaby Furnas 68

Deborah Granlä 74

Matthew Day Jackson 80

Brad Kahlhamer 84

Margaret Kilgallenä 90

McDermott & McGough 94

Aaron Morse 100

Cynthia Norton 106

Greta Pratt 110

David Rathman 114

Dario Robretoä 120

Allison Smith 128

Kara Walker 134

Charlie White 138

Catalogue of the Exhibition 140

Artists' Biographies and Bibliographies Natalia Ferreyra-Beasley Ferreyra-Beasley, Natalia 145

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