FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2013
MEMPHIS, TN – On the evening of May 10,, 2013 the Cotton Museum is proud to celebrate the opening of an exciting new exhibition of contemporary art by Lester Merriweather. His exhibit, Vanilla Extract, Volume VII: Cotton’s Exigent Circumstance, will feature works derived from historic images of Memphis and the surrounding delta re-examined from the modern vantage point of this native Memphis artist. From 7pm to 11pm the Museum will be open for a reception featuring local beer from High Cotton Brewing Company, performances by local musician Juju Bushman, and private screenings of Kara Walker’s controversial short film “Eight Possible Beginnings.” The opening will also serve as the after party location for the citywide art event “Memphis Social.” This event is free and open to the public.
About the Artists
Merriweather attended Jackson State University before earning his MFA from Memphis College of Art and later participated in the prestigious Skowhegan School. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions locally, nationally, and abroad over the past 15 years, including the Studio Museum in Harlem NYC and the Dixon Gallery here in Memphis. His public art project produced for the Whitehaven Library with the Urban Art Commission is a beloved landmark of the neighborhood. Through his role as a curatorial director at the Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Memphis and exhibitions like ours, Merriweather continues to contribute to the cultural vibrancy of the city.
Often utilizing a variety of media within the same piece, Merriweather’s work comments on the relationships between history and pop culture, traditional art forms and digital media, and the tension between Southern pastoral mythology and contemporary social conditions here in the delta. His exhibit at the Cotton Museum will help to inspire discussions of the continuing evolution of race relationships in the city of Memphis and across the nation.
“Eight Possible Beginnings” is a short film by controversial New York artist Kara Walker that has never before been screened in Memphis. Internationally renowned, Walker’s work has been exhibited in museums around the globe, from The Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Walker most famously offers her visceral and darkly sardonic interpretations of traditional plantation scenes in room spanning murals made from large scale, intricately cut, paper silhouettes. With this film she brings silhouettes to life using puppetry and stop motion animation. Because the film contains adult content, screenings will occur periodically throughout the evening in a viewing area separated from the main exhibit. This film is recommended for viewers over the age of 18.
Merriweather’s exhibit will remain on display at the Cotton Museum through June 1, 2013. Any questions about the opening reception or exhibit can be directed to the Museum.