A year-long exhibit premiering May 3 at the Mobile Museum of Art (MMoA) is an infusion of talent and generosity for the Azalea City. Entitled “3 American Artists,” it features a trio of absolute titans among the roster of modern African American artists.
The work is on loan from the collection of the Art Bridges Foundation, a private organization with the mission to increase access to American art across the U.S. Launched by arts patron and philanthropist Alice Walton, Art Bridges works with museums of all sizes in providing collection loans, traveling exhibitions, multidisciplinary programming and more.
The elder artist among the exhibit’s trio is the late Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), a painter and photographer known for his life-sized, realist oil paintings of Black Americans. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Tate Modern and the National Endowment for the Arts.
His work “Brenda P” — assumed to be Brenda Payton of the Philadelphia R&B group Brenda and the Tabulations — shows its statuesque subject in a confident stance, arms akimbo, and adorned in classic 1970s garb. The work sold for $2.1 million at a 2018 Sotheby’s auction.
Glenn Ligon is a contemporary artist who started with abstracts, then migrated to conceptual work employing text to explore race, language, desire, sexuality and identity. In a recent shift, Ligon has worked in neon and in film.
Ligon’s “Untitled (I Am Somebody)” references a 1950s poem written by civil rights activist Rev. William Holmes Borders and later popularized by Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The relatively youthful rockstar among the trio is Mark Bradford, a Los Angeles-based artist best known for his large-scale abstract paintings and collages exploring the effects of class, race and gender on urban society. While working in his mother’s hair salon, then-31-year-old Bradford ignited his passion in community college art classes. He began to employ the thrown-away bits of paper and cellophane from his environment to fashion his unique vision.
Bradford’s breathtaking work has earned many awards including the Bucksbaum Award for Distinction at the 2006 Whitney Biennial and a MacArthur Fellowship. His work has been in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. His work has also been in the São Paulo Biennial and Busan Biennale, South Korea.
Bradford’s 34-foot-long work “Helter Skelter” sold for more than $10 million at Phillips London in 2018. It was the highest-ever auction price for work from a living African American artist.
On view at MMoA (4850 Museum Drive) will be Bradford’s immense collage “Thelxiepeia,” named for a mythological Greek siren and made of tissue-like endpapers used by hairdressers.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance is $12, $10 for seniors, $8 for military and students. Children under 6 are free. On Thursdays, entrance is free for all Mobile County residents with ID.
For more information, call 251-208-5200 or go to mobilemuseumofart.com.
Eugene Walter historic plaque unveiled
In partnership with the Downtown Mobile Alliance and United for Libraries, Ben May Main Library (701 Government St.) will be designated a National Literary Landmark with a plaque unveiling ceremony on Thursday, May 12, 4-5:30 p.m. The honor is tied to Mobile writer/artist and raconteur Eugene Walter, buried just behind the library in Church Street Graveyard.
The event is the most recent happening in the year-long celebration of the centennial of Walter’s birth. The unveiling takes place on the Scott Street side of the library with a reception following in the Armbrecht-Briskman Meeting Room.
For more information, call 251-494-2298 or email [email protected]
La Mancha’s inspiration at CCT
To bring Miguel de Cervantes’ character of Don Quixote to the stage, Dale Wasserman reshaped it as a play within a play. The new framing, entitled “Man of La Mancha,” was set during the Spanish Inquisition where an impassioned tale acted out by prisoners becomes a rousing saga of nobility over practicality and the hope inherent in dreams.
The original Broadway production ran for over 2,200 performances beginning in 1965, won five Tony Awards and catapulted the soaring number “The Impossible Dream” into the canon of popular music.
The play runs at Chickasaw Civic Theatre (801 Iroquois St.) May 6-22.
Tickets are now available at cctshows.com. Some tickets may be available at the door. Masking and distancing policies are lifted for this show.
For more information, call 251-457-8887.
This page is available to our subscribers. Join us right now to get the latest local news from local reporters for local readers.
The best deal is found by clicking here. Click here right now to find out more. Check it out.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here