Third Space / shifting conversations about contemporary art,

Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL, United States
27 Jan 2017 - 28 Jan 2019

Third Space / shifting conversations about contemporary art,

José Bedia (Cuban, active United States, born 1959), Mpangui jimagua (Twin Brothers), 2000, acrylic and conté on canvas with objects, Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art in honor of Pauline Ireland (© José Bedia)

The Birmingham Museum of Art presents Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art, a two-year exhibition exploring the connections between the American South and the Global South.

As the first major exhibition of contemporary art from the Museum’s collection, Third Space brings together the work of more than 90 international artists and features over 100 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and videos, by artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Ebony Patterson, Mark Bradford, José Bedia, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Thornton Dial, and William Christenberry.

Curated by Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Wassan Al-Khudhairi, the exhibition borrows Homi Bhaba’s term ‘third space,’ which he defines as a space that “challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as a homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by the originary past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People.”

Beyond the geographical boundaries of the American South, the Global South similarly represents marginalized people and places that share a common post-colonial heritage, similar patterns of migration, and other cultural connections. With this in mind, the exhibition examines the Global South from the perspective of the American South by working through a series of ideas that include:

migration/diaspora/exile, gaze/agency/representation, spirit/nature/landscape, and traditions/histories/memory.

In addition to works from the permanent collection and international loans, the Museum commissioned Rural Studio to produce a work of art that serves as a gathering space within the exhibition. Founded in Hale County, Alabama, Rural Studio is a design-build program of Auburn University that provides architectural solutions to underserved populations across the country. The structure will later be repurposed for the construction of a house.

To complement the exhibition and encourage ongoing discussion, the BMA will host the program series, Chapters. Chapters will invite artists from around the country to Birmingham to discuss their respective practices and ideas surrounding the exhibition. Six Chapters programs will take place over the course of the exhibition and will include artists working in a range of disciplines with varying backgrounds, from the academically trained to the self-taught.

The exhibition will be outfitted with various interpretation tools to assist visitors in navigating the gallery. Using their mobile devices, visitors can learn more about works in the exhibition through the BMA’s smartguide, through which they may listen to different perspectives on selected works of art from voices of the Birmingham community.

Third Space is on view through January 2019 at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama.






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