There’s only about two days left to catch a startling installation at the Asheville Art Museum.
Last Saturday, we went on a three-part art mission: One, to check out JoAnna Fireman‘s new show at Blue Spiral, per the knowledgeable recommendation of arts writer Connie Bostic; two, to drool a little over Julyan Davis’ deft oil paintings (love his subjects: a random street scene in West Asheville, an off-the-path house in rural Canton); and three, to catch William Christenberry’s Site/Possession exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum.
Bostic told me that Fireman’s work was not the sort you typically find in a commercial gallery. It’s definitely stark and boney, but also intriguing and worth a visit to Blue Spiral. While there, don’t miss Aaron Tucker‘s colorful, stylized urbanscapes and the soft floating figures of Duy Huynh. Huynh co-owns a sweet little gallery called Lark and Key in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood (bonus: Lark and Key shows the work of Asheville-based artist Alena Hennessy).
But it was Christenberry’s work that we talked most about later on; more specifically, the “Klan Room Tableau” installation. Visitors enter the room through heavy black curtains, walking past a warning that the art may provoke strong reactions. For this Southerner, this room filled with dozens of Klan dolls, eerie images and other memorabilia, punched revulsion into my gut.
Though some critics felt more blasé after encountering the Tableau: “I just can’t get riled up by men playing dress-up. I take it all in, and I am struck, not by the banality of evil, but by the silliness of it,” Washington Post staff writer Teresa Wiltz wrote last year when the exhibit was at American University. “To me, post-civil rights, pre-hip-hop, the Klan is so old school. Ineffectual, impotent, past tense.”
We left talking avidly and intensely about terrorism and the South and how these things were not so long ago.
(Note: This was supposed to the A&E column in next week’s Xpress, until I realized I’d misread the dates for the show. Apologies for the short notice: Christenberry’s exhibit is up until Sunday.)
— Rebecca Sulock