Two art openings this weekend deal with subjects amusing and horrifying, traveling from the punk rock era of the 1970s to the Jim Crow era of the 1870s.
- The more serious show is by Robert Claiborne Morris, who, until 2008, was a self-described “colorist” — a painter of abstract landscapes.
Morris’ work changed abruptly when he read an early copy of “Slavery by Another Name,” an account of the hundreds of thousands of African-Americans forced into labor camps between the Civil War and World War II.
Written by his friend Douglas A. Blackmon, it inspired Morris to begin work on a series of mixed-media paintings, translating Blackmon’s story into an emotional visual language.
Starting this week, “Slavery by Another Name: Painting and Assemblages by Robert Claiborne Morris” will be displayed during an exhibition at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta. Included in the show are four new Morris paintings, portraits of Mitchell, created in a similar style, incorporating architectural relics from antebellum houses.
The show runs Nov. 15-March 1. Morris will attend the exhibition 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 15 to answer questions. The Margaret Mitchell House is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $8.50-$13. Tickets to the exhibition only: $5. The Margaret Mitchell House is at 990 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. For more information: 404-249-7015, atlantahistorycenter.com/mmh.
- Residents of cities with sports teams that stink will feel a pang of recognition while viewing the art of Kosmo Vinyl.
The artist, born Mark C. Dunk in merry old England, creates collage tributes to English soccer, and his pictures evoke the dark humor of a despairing sports fan’s emotional life.
Vinyl’s heart and soul are invested in the hapless West Ham United Football Club, a team that has never dropped below the second tier in English soccer but has also never won the league title. “Notoriously underachieving” is how he describes the “Hammers.”
One of his works, “Outgunned on Green Street,” shows a dog-tired World War II GI reacting to a 1-3 loss to the “Gunners” of Arsenal. Vinyl’s artwork, which also captures the occasional happy win, will make its U.S. debut this week at Shawn Vinson’s pop-up gallery in Decatur called Lightroom.
The crowd of attendees will probably consist of equal parts art lovers and old rockers. Vinyl is best-known as a sometime-manager of the Clash and later as a record producer for American acts including Jack Black and Atlanta’s Drivin’ N Cryin’.
Some photographs and works will certainly conjure up that punky era of safety pins and Mohawks.
The show runs Nov. 16-Dec. 6 at Lightroom, 115-A N. McDonough St., Decatur. A private viewing with the artist is planned for Nov. 15. Gallery hours: noon-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays and by appointment anytime. Information: 404-939-2787, vinsonart.com/.