The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) announces the opening of their Summer Exhibitions on view May 12 through Aug. 13, 2017, celebrating the art form of photography with renowned artist Mickalene Thomas in, Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête. In addition, MOCA presents Southern Routes, an exhibition that captures the culture and landscape of the American South through photography, and an Open (C)all exhibition of local artists who explore their identities through the camera’s lens.
Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs honors the work of this internationally renowned artist. Thomas, known for her large-scale, multi-textured paintings of domestic interiors and portraits, also identifies the photographic image as a defining touchstone for her practice.
In Muse, the artist carefully constructs images within the confines of her studio space as a tool for exploration and inspiration. Her collection of muses includes herself, her mother, her friends and lovers. An installation that replicates a corner of her studio, frequently used as the set for her photographs , will accompany this exhibition.
Alongside Muse is an exhibition within an exhibition titled tête-à-tête. This smaller exhibition, curated by Mickalene Thomas, contains work from well-known photographers who have inspired her. These pieces accentuate the dialogue within Thomas’ photographs. Artists include Derrick Adams; Renée Cox; LaToya Ruby Frazier; Lyle Ashton Harris; Deana Lawson; Zanele Muholi; Malick Sidibé; Xaviera Simmons; Hank Willis Thomas; and Carrie Mae Weems.
Celebrating the region MOCA calls home is an exhibiti on titled Southern Routes, exploring back roads, communities, and moments that frame the lexicon of culture in the American South. The exhibition features ten contemporary photographers Kelly Berry; Eliot Dudik; Grant Ellis; Tammy Mercure; Kate Medley; Brian Palmer; Tamara Reynolds; Kathleen Robbins; Jerry Siegel; and Aaron Turner.
Southern Routes compliments an exhibition MOCA presented in the spring of 2000, titled Southern Exposure. MOCA’s curator at the time, Carla Hanzal, created this exhib ition using images from artists who stand as pioneers and icons of southern photography.
Concluding this photo-centric summer suite is an Open (C)all exhibition in MOCA’ s Community Gallery. Local artists and image makers across coastal Virginia identify themselves through their own photographic practice. MOCA will also screen, A Spoken Dish daily in the Price Auditorium. A joint endeavor from Georgia Organics, Southern Foodways Alliance, and Whole Foods Market, A Spoken Dish is a storytelling project dedicated to celebrating and documenting food, memories, and rituals from people across the South. Storytellers include professional chefs, farmers, artists, and children. Produced by Southern Routes artist Kate Medley, the films reveal heartfelt stories about the Civil Rights Movement, Hurricane Katrina, the Great Migration, paw paws, gumbo, and more.
The Museum will present a diverse array of educational programs inspired by these exhibitions to the public. For more information about the exhibitions, visit MOCA's website at www.VirginiaMOCA.org.