Figure 36 Bonge WEB
Dusti Bongé (1903 – 93), “Where the Shrimp Pickers Live,” 1940; oil on canvas; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS. Gift of Dusti Bongé Art Foundation, Inc. 1999.012 © Dusti Bongé Art Foundation

Main Galleries

Southern/Modern: 1913 - 1955

Jul 14, 2024 - Sep 29, 2024

Organized by: The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

Southern/Modern: 1913-1955 tells an important story that has been conspicuously absent from the narrative of American art history. It is the tale of progressive visual art in the American South, particularly that which was created in the first half of the twentieth century. Bringing together more than one hundred paintings, prints, and drawings, the exhibition explores the wide range of artistic endeavors that thrived in the region even while it was undergoing profound societal, cultural, and economic changes.

The lack of appreciation for Southern art was already evident in 1949, as a statement by a curator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art makes clear: “little of artistic merit was made south of Baltimore,” he opined. Since then, despite the growth in scholarship, the emergence of museums and collections in the South focused on its art, and numerous exhibitions and publications about individual artists from the region, there have been relatively few efforts to address Southern art in a comprehensive fashion, and none to have surveyed this particular period in depth.

Southern/Modern takes a broad view of the South, considering artists working in the states below the Mason-Dixon line and as far west as those bordering the Mississippi River, as well as some artists living outside of the region who made significant bodies of work during visits. Featuring works created between 1913 and 1955, the exhibition is structured around key themes that cut across geographic regions, including time and place, race, family ties, and social struggles. It also takes a broad, all-embracing view of artists working in the South, examining the central role played by women artists and artists of color, providing a fuller, richer, and more accurate overview of the artistic activity in the region than has been presented previously.

Southern/Modern seeks to encourage new admiration for the region’s rich cultural heritage through paintings, drawings, and prints by artists including Walter Anderson, Romare Bearden, Thomas Hart Benton, John Biggers, Dusti Bongé, Burton Callicott, Elizabeth Catlett, Carroll Cloar, Aaron Douglas, Edward “Ted” Faiers, Marie Hull, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Blanche Lazzell, John McCrady, Will Henry Stevens, Grace Martin Taylor, Alma Thomas, and Hale Woodruff.

Exhibition Lecture: Sunday, July 14, 2:00pm

Hidden in Plain Sight: Reconsidering the South’s Role in Modern American Art

Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, Senior Curator of American Art Mint Museum

Sponsored by:

  • Margaret Oates Dixon Society
  • Susan and Damon Arney | Kate and Mike Buttarazzi | Karen and Preston Dorsett | Theodore W. and Betty J. Eckels Foundation | Andrea and Doug Edwards | Amanda and Nick Goetze | Julie and Rob Hussey | Anne and Mike Keeney | Nancy and Steve Morrow | Irene Orgill | Chris and Dan Richards | Irene and Fred Smith | Susan Adler Thorp | Adele Wellford