The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will host its 1st annual GanttFest!, a full-day celebration of the arts on Saturday, September 11, 2010
. Activities include a gallery talk by legendary abstract artist Sam Gilliam and his protégé Kevin Cole; an art workshop for teens, Creating Vibrant Wall Sculptures, led by Cole; and another for all ages conducted by local artist de'Angelo Dia Bethune. Other highlights include distinguished poet Sonia Sanchez and visual & performance artist Fahamu Pecou, Gantt Center Artist-in-Residence.
"GanttFest! gives the Center an opportunity to share two extraordinary exhibitions with Charlotte families, free of charge," said David Taylor, Gantt Center President & CEO. "We are nearing the one-year anniversary of opening our new facility and the festival — our gift to the community — allows us to fulfill our mission of presenting the best in African-American art and culture."
With the public premiere of the art exhibition Protégé: Sam Gilliam & Kevin Cole, this year's festival theme is mentoring. Guided tours of Protégé and Charlotte Collects African-American Art – both opening to the public at GanttFest! — African storytelling; children's films, Garrett's Gift and The Journey of Henry Box Brown; spoken word; dance with Charlotte's Purple Steppers; music; and other live performances will round out a day designed to appeal to all ages. All activities from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm are free and open to the public. Tickets for Fahamenon
, an evening performance hosted by Pecou, are $8 in advance for Gantt Center members, $10 for non-members and $15 at the door.
Exhibit: Protégé: Sam Gilliam & Kevin Cole
Master artist Sam Gilliam has mentored Kevin Cole for the last fifteen years and Protégé – their first joint exhibition — is a snapshot of the creative relationship between these two powerful artists, the younger at his mid-career maturity and the elder, a giant who has weathered it all and prevailed.
Sam Gilliam has been known for his fierce creative innovation since the late 1960s when he tore painting off the wall and out of the frame with draped canvases that evolved into a variety of explorations straddling the space between sculpture and painting. Kevin Cole, Gilliam's protégé, has taken common forms – such as the necktie — and connected it with metaphorical, social, and ancillary meanings; creative forms; expressive paint and coloration. Cole has devised a unique, innovative, and powerful body of work. Both Gilliam and Cole use color intensely and have developed a relationship as rich as their artistic surfaces.
Exhibit: Charlotte Collects African-American Art
A growing number of collectors in Charlotte have committed themselves to collecting African-American art. Their interests range from early 19th century and Harlem Renaissance-era artists to young, adventurous 21st century creatives. Eleven families have loaned work from their private collections. The exhibition is a sampling of the quality and range of art by African-American artists that can be found in Charlotte, a landscape that in many ways replicates and builds upon the more widely known Hewitt Collection at the Gantt Center. The exhibit allows the viewer to take a peek into the homes, hearts, visions and tastes of fellow Charlotteans.
Exhibiting Artist: Sam Gilliam
Sam Gilliam – University of Louisville alumnus at both the undergraduate and graduate levels — is a highly acclaimed and world renowned artist. He is widely celebrated for his use of saturated color and his highly improvisational, spontaneous technique. He is regarded as one of the most inventive colorists of the last 30 years. One of the two most important African-American artists of the twentieth century, Sam Gilliam was the subject of a 1983 retrospective exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., Modern Painter at the Corcoran: Sam Gilliam, and a 2005-2007 traveling exhibition that went to five museums, starting at the Corcoran.
Gilliam became well-known in the late 1960s with his own unique approach to "painting as object" so that color is structured by the form of the canvas itself. He is recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars, which was a major contribution to the Color Field School. The sculptural effects he achieved with this technique gave him national repute, and his work has found audiences worldwide. His current work includes multimedia installations that employ brightly stained polypropylene, computer generated imaging, metallic and iridescent acrylics, hand-made paper, aluminum, steel, and plastic. Gilliam's ability to move beyond the draped canvas, coupled with his ability to adopt new series keeps viewers interested and engaged. This has assured his prominence in the art world as an exciting and innovative contemporary painter.
Gilliam has had 20 solo exhibits and has created 32 public art pieces, some of which can be found in Detroit, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Boston. His work is in the permanent collections of 56 museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, London's Tate Gallery, and, in Charlotte, at the Gantt Center and the Mint Museum.
Gilliam's professional honors include honorary doctorates from eight universities, the Kentucky Governor's Award in the Arts, several National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Longview Foundation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Art Institute of Chicago's Norman W. Harris Prize, and an Artist's Fellowship from the Washington Gallery of Modern Art. He has taught at the Corcoran School of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art and Carnegie Mellon University.
Exhibiting Artist: Kevin E. Cole
"When I turned eighteen years old," Cole said in 1990, "my grandfather stressed the importance of voting by taking me to a tree where he was told that African-Americans were lynched by their neckties on their way to vote. The experience left a profound impression in my mind."
Born in Pine Bluff, AR, Kevin Cole is an artist and art professor based in Fairburn, Georgia; outside of Atlanta. Cole works primarily in 3D, creating abstract sculptural forms. Much of his work is fashioned from long flat strips of either metal or painted cardboard, twisted, folded and joined together into single forms, creating a unique visual personality. He also uses wood as part of his sculptural forms, or as a canvas for his colorful and vibrant abstract paintings.
Cole holds BA and MA degrees in art education and earned an MFA in drawing. He currently teaches drawing, painting and design as Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Westlake High School. He has served as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta and from 1994 – 1996 took a professional leave of absence to work on a 15-story mural commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Cole's more than 750 public, private and corporate collectors include JP Morgan & Stanley; UPS; Coca-Cola; Bank of America; Bell Laboratories; IBM; Kaiser Permanente; IP Stanback Museum, Orangeburg, SC; Yale University Art Gallery; Corcoran Gallery Museum, Washington, DC; Gibbs Museum of Art, Charleston SC; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, GA; The Dr. David C. Driskell Center, College Park MD; US Embassy Barbados; City of Charleston; Michael Jordan; Dr. David Driskell, University of Maryland Professor Emeritus; Linda Johnson, Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago; and Terry McMillan, author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got her Groove Back.
Gantt Center Artist-in-Residence: Fahamu Pecou
Fahamu Pecou (b. 1975) is an American painter based in Atlanta, Georgia whose intention is to comment on contemporary and hip-hop culture while simultaneously subverting it to include his ideas on fine art.
In 2005, along with several of Atlanta's premier contemporary artists, Pecou created history at Atlanta's High Museum of Art with the exhibition Arts Beats + Lyrics. Since 2005 Pecou has been featured in several solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been reviewed and featured in numerous publications including Art In America, Harper's Magazine, NY Arts Magazine, Mass Appeal Magazine, The Fader Magazine, Atlanta Peach Magazine, NY Arts Magazine and on the cover of Artlies Magazine. In 2007, he was named, "Critic's Choice for Best Emerging Artist" by Atlanta's Creative Loafing. He was also awarded a "Best in Show" Award for the 2007 Atlanta Biennial. In 2008 Pecou was awarded a residency at the Caversham Centre in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, additionally, Pecou's work was included in "DEFINITION: The Art and Design of Hip Hop", an anthology chronicling the impact of hip-hop on visual culture, written by famed graffiti artist and designer Cey Adams.
In 2009, Fahamu was featured in two international solo exhibitions; the first in Cape Town, South Africa and a second during Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Additionally, he was awarded a fellowship and is the first Gantt Center Artist-in-Residence. His studio will be housed at the McColl Center in Charlotte, NC.
Pecou maintains an active exhibition schedule as well as public lectures and speaking engagements at colleges and museums nationwide. Currently his work addresses concerns around representations of black masculinity and how these images come to define black men across generations and geographical boundaries.
Pecou designed the poster for GanttFest! 2010.
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2010
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