Southern Accent: Seeking The American South In Contemporary Art


  • Speed Art Museum 2035 South 3rd Street Louisville, KY, 40208 United States

Skylar Fein. Black Flag (For Elizabeth's), 2008. Wood, plaster, and acrylic. 43 1/2 x 72 inches

Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art is the first contemporary art exhibition to question and explore in-depth the complex and contested space of the American South. One needs to look no further than literature, cuisine and music, to see evidence of the South’s profound influence on American culture, and consequently much of the world. This unprecedented exhibition investigates the many realities, fantasies and myths that have long captured the public’s imagination, and presents a wide range of perspectives to create a composite portrait of Southern identity through contemporary art.

William Faulkner once described the South not as a “geographical place” but an “emotional idea.” Southern Accent looks at the South as an open-ended question and concept in itself. The exhibition encompasses a broad spectrum of media and approaches, demonstrating that “Southern-ness” is more of a shared sensibility than any one definable culture or style. The exhibition primarily focuses on artwork from the past 35 years, but includes earlier work from the Civil Rights Era as important foundational and historical markers. The exhibition includes work by approximately 60 artists as well as a curated music-listening library. No region in the United States has contributed more to American music than the South, and a music chronology that speaks to Southern life provides an invaluable sounding board for the artwork in the exhibition.

Find out more about the exhibition.