When the Stars Begin to Fall - Imagination and the American South


When the Stars Begin to Fall: Untitled, 2013-14, by Ralph Lemon; archival pigment print from the original film; courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition, Studio Museum Harlem, New York, 27 March – 29 June.
Questioning the category of ‘outsider art’ in relation to contemporary art and black life, and situating itself within current art historical and political debates, the exhibition considers work by self-taught, spiritually inspired, incarcerated artists, alongside other projects in performance, socially engaged practice, the archive, and painting, drawing, sculpture, and assemblage, which make insistent reference to place. With the majority of work having been made between 1964 and 2014, the exhibition brings together a group of 35 intergenerational American artists who share an interest in the American South as a location both real and imagined. Moving between a graphic sensibility, an interest in myths and the use of found materials and detritus, the artists reference various classical tropes of blackness as sites of origin—fantastical and performed, important yet perhaps illusory.