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Rossell Lectures on Artist of Vernacular

October 26, 2009
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On Friday, October 23, at Noon, I spoke to a group of about forty Augustinians in the Morris Museum of Arts “Art at Lunch” series.  My talk was entitled “William Christenberry’s Vernacular: Documentary and Art” and I addressed themes in their current show of his photographs.

Christenberry and I would be good road-trip buddies–we see eye to eye. He grew up in rural Hale County, Alabama, and he has devoted his entire creative career in painting, photography, and sculpture to portraying the county’s simple but eerie architecture and landscape.

Old and decrepit, but never nondescript, Christenberry’s corner of the famous “black belt” is a rich testament to the long, hard history of a major cultural landscape.

His portrayals also speak to the intersection of abstract expressionism and social realism, with a special emphasis on the power of photography as a documentary instrument.

If anyone would like a copy of my talk, just let me know.

William Christenberry, Building with False Brick siding, Warsaw, Alabama, 1982

William Christenberry, Building with False Brick siding, Warsaw, Alabama, 1982

William Christenberry, Building with False Brick siding, Warsaw, Alabama, 1974

William Christenberry, Building with False Brick siding, Warsaw, Alabama, 1974

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