Ogden Museum of Southern Art acquires a suite of photographs by William Christenberry, coinciding with a major investigation into the work of the acclaimed artist currently on display
The museum also announces the acquisition of works by RaMell Ross, Luis Cruz Azaceta and Aaron Hardin, among others
TThe Ogden Museum of Southern Art has announced that it has acquired a suite of dye transfer photographs from renowned artist William Christenberry, titled Ten photographs of the south. Taken between 1978 and 1981 in Hale County, Alabama, the sequel represents the first set of background photographs of Christenberry produced on a large scale. While his work with three square inch Brownie prints won him acclaim, his larger format photographs fully encapsulated his innate ability to imbue his images with emotion and meaning through a rich use of color. and incredible attention to detail. The sequel, which was produced in an edition of 21, features views of the small towns of Hale County, a central subject of Christenberry’s work throughout her life. The acquisition of the suite coincides with the study of the artist’s work by the Ogden Museum, Memory is a strange bell, which presents more than 125 works of his entire career and is visible until March 1, 2020. Ten photographs of the south joins 13 photographs and two serigraphs of Christenberry already in the museum’s collection.
The Ogden Museum also acquired I house (2012) and Sleeping church (2014), two archival pigment prints by renowned photographer, cinematographer and director RaMell Ross. The prints are part of Ross’ seven-year project, South County, AL (A County of Hale), which resulted in a series of photographs and a documentary film—Hale County, this morning, tonight– which was nominated for an Academy Award and recently screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ross, who is part of a trajectory of artists inspired by the region that has included Walker Evans and Christenberry, contributed an essay to the catalog for Memory is a strange bell. I house and Sleeping church mark Ross’s first works to enter the museum’s collection and precede a major solo exhibition of his work that will open at the Ogden Museum in October 2020.
Among other highlights of the museum’s fall acquisitions is Fairness measurement (2019), a multimedia work by Cuban-American artist Luis Cruz Azaceta. Composed of skeins of multicolored thread arranged above two painted panels, the work speaks of the fluidity of identity in the face of socio-political and economic conflicts. Since the late 1970s, Azaceta’s work has addressed questions of national morality and ethics, from urban violence to widespread racism to the AIDS epidemic. His most recent paintings and drawings have focused on the impacts of war, displacement, identity and the collapse of economies. His work has been included in a wide range of exhibits at the Ogden Museum, but Fairness measurement is the artist’s first object to enter the museum’s collection.
The Ogden Museum also acquired Snake (2015), a digital print by Tennessee-based photographer Aaron Hardin; Argus at the Court of Versailles (2019), an inverted glass collage by North Carolina-based artist Louis St. Lewis; and a selection of 21 sculptures and eight drawings from the estate of New Orleans artist Eugenie “Ersy” Schwartz. The fall 2019 acquisitions will be on display at the Ogden Museum in March 2020 as part of an exhibition exploring the highlights of recent acquisitions.
“Our fall acquisitions support our broader mission of preserving, exploring and presenting the art of the South, whether through the work of artists from the Southern states or those who have been and continue to be inspired by the region. The new objects entering our collection are conceptually rich and complex in their formal and technical approach. We look forward to sharing them with our audience through future exhibitions and programs, and to continue to highlight the depth and interest in art emanating from the South, ”said William Pittman Andrews, Executive Director of the Ogden Museum .
The Ogden Museum collection was founded in 1999 with a donation of 600 works from the personal collection of New Orleans businessman Roger H. Ogden. Since then, the museum’s collection has grown to more than 4,000 objects, making it the largest and most comprehensive repository dedicated to the art of the South of the country. This includes works across media and genres from and associated with the fifteen southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. The collection is particularly rich in self-taught art, regionalism, photography and contemporary art, and the museum continues to actively expand its collections, focusing on both well-known artists and those who deserve further exploration and attention.