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Visual arts notes: Birmingham shows ‘Race and Representation’; Ga. women artists make news

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Hank Willis Thomas' "Smokin' Joe Ain't J'Mama, " a 2006 LightJet print using an anonymous 1978 photograph, is included in the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit "Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation."
William Gilbert Gaul's To The End (1907-09), an oil on canvas, is included in the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit "Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation." It opens July 11.

William Gilbert Gaul’s To The End (1907-09), an oil on canvas, is included in the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit “Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation.” It opens July 11.

Exploring ‘Race and Representation’

Race relations in America have been one of the hot topics on the year, which makes the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibition opening July 11, “Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation,” perhaps even more relevant than when it was planned.

Hank Willis Thomas' "Smokin' Joe Ain't J'Mama, " a 2006 LightJet print using an anonymous 1978 photograph, is included in the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit "Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation."

Hank Willis Thomas’ “Smokin’ Joe Ain’t J’Mama, ” a 2006 LightJet print using an anonymous 1978 photograph, is included in the Birmingham Museum of Art exhibit “Black Like Who?: Exploring Race and Representation.”

The exhibit of 28 works by 19 white and black artists surveys a variety of historical and contemporary works, and explores how representations of blacks in American art have been influenced at particular moments by political, cultural and aesthetic interests, as well as the motives and beliefs of the artists.

The works range from a romanticized Civil War scene completed in 1909 by the painter Gilbert Gaul that glorifies the myth of the “loyal slave,” according to the museum announcement, to contemporary photographs by Atlanta artist Sheila Pree Bright. Bright’s images blend imagery of Mattel’s Barbie doll with photographs of black women, commenting on the power of white beauty standards.

Through Nov 1. Free. 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-254-2565, www.artsbma.org.

Women artists in the news

  • “Women’s Path,” a collection of 25 bronze tiles created between 1989 and 1994 by notable Atlanta female artists including Tina Dunkley and Lisa Tuttle, was recently transferred from the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s collection.

Conceived by the late Thomasine Bradford in 1989, the collection of 15.5-inch-square tiles was installed on the front plaza of the Contemporary in 1994.

President-CEO-director Annette Cone-Skelton, one of the Women’s Path artists, said, MOCA GA “looks forward to protecting and exhibiting this work. As one of the artists of that era, I am thrilled to know that the collection of tiles will remain intact as a unit and be recognized in our archives as an important achievement for women artists of Atlanta.”

“Women’s Path” artists included: Amalia Amaki, Linda Armstrong, Genevieve Arnold, Maria Artemis, Thomasine Bradford, Karen Chance, Dana Cibulski, Marcia Cohen, Annette Cone-Skelton, Pat Courtney, Tina Dunkley, Julia Fenton, Diane Kempler, Ruth Laxson, Elizabeth Lide, Joni Mabe, Callahan McDonough, Katherine Mitchell, Rocio Rodriguez, Beth Savage, Barbara Schreiber, Mildred Thompson, Elizabeth Turk and Lisa Tuttle.

1250 New York Ave. N.W., Washington. 202-783-5000, nmwa.org.


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