Two New Exhibitions open Jan. 28 at Frist Art Museum

LeXander Bryant. Wash Away My Fears 001, 2020. Archival pigment print, 27 x 40 1/2 in. (Courtesy of the artist © LeXander Bryant)

Two new exhibitions open at the Frist on Friday, January 28th, with a lecture on Thursday the 27th and a curator’s tour on Friday the 28th. A conversation with the African American Artist LeXander Bryant, whose exhibition “Forget Me Nots” opens that weekend, is 3-4 pm Saturday; and an architecture tour of the Frist follows at 4:30 pm.

The Frist Art Museum presents Nashville-based artist LeXander Bryant’s debut solo museum exhibition “Forget Me Nots.” Featuring multimedia works—including a sculpture, photographs, murals, and a new video—the exhibition addresses themes of perseverance amid adversity, family structures and bonds, economic inequality, community activism, and more. Organized by the Frist Art Museum, “Forget Me Nots” will be on view in the Frist’s Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery from January 28 through May 1, 2022.

In his community-focused practice, Bryant uses different mediums to inspire, challenge, and uplift his audiences. A prolific and in-demand photographer and filmmaker, Bryant has collaborated with local creatives and establishments ranging from rapper Mike Floss, visual artists María Magdalena Campos-Pons and doughjoe, and Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria on various projects. Many Nashvillians may also be familiar with Bryant’s wheat-paste murals (or “posters,” as he calls them) from public spaces; his mural Opportunity Co$t was featured in the 2019 Frist Art Museum exhibition Murals of North Nashville Now.

“Whether in his hometown of Jackson, Alabama; neighborhoods in Nashville, where he has lived since 2016; or elsewhere, Bryant’s lens is focused on people and places that are often overlooked,” says Frist Art Museum senior curator Katie Delmez. In this exhibition, nearly four dozen snapshots of everyday life make up what Bryant calls a “memory wall” documenting figures and stories that collectively refuse to be forgotten. “Bryant sees parts of his own past in these images, recognizing the influence of elders in his community, for example, or the success his cousin’s Oldsmobile Cutlass symbolized for him as he developed and matured.” 

Meet the artist, Saturday, January 29. “Conversation: LeXander Bryant and His Family” runs 3:00–4:00 p.m. in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery; free to members, admission required for not-yet-members. Join LeXander Bryant for this intimate conversation with his family to learn more about the works in his first solo museum exhibition, “Forget Me Nots.”

María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Butterfly Eyes (for Breonna Taylor) from the series In the year of the pandemic, in the month of the awakening, 2021. Mixed media, watercolor, ink, gouache, and digital print on archival paper. Collection of the Speed Art Museum. (Image courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco)

Also opening January 28, “On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Pérez Art Museum Miami” features approximately seventy works by fifty Cuban artists of multiple generations, including María Magdalena Campos-Pons (currently a professor at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University), Yoan Capote, Los Carpinteros, Teresita Fernández, and Zilia Sánchez in the Ingram Gallery.

Through paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, and installations drawn from one of the largest public collections of Cuban art in the United States, the exhibition inspires dialogue regarding the physical, social, and political landscape of the island and its diaspora. Works in the exhibition demonstrate how artists can weave political commentary into their practices, providing insight into the sophistication of creative expression in an authoritarian system. The horizon line functions as a motif and symbol of personal desire, existential longing, or geographical containment throughout the exhibition—while always visible, it remains perpetually distant and unattainable.

The exhibition is arranged in three sections, each exploring various meanings and associations related to the horizon. This motif has appeared frequently throughout art history, particularly during the Romantic period of the nineteenth century, when the broad expanses and moods of the landscape were equated with unfathomable and often turbulent human emotions. For artists who wish to depict the paradoxical nature of their existence, the horizon is a useful metaphor—it is visibly omnipresent and alluring yet perpetually distant and unattainable.

Working across diverse mediums, the artists in the exhibition explore multiple interpretations of the horizon, utilizing it as a symbol of personal desire, existential longing, and geographical containment. Prompting a dialogue about Cuba and its diaspora, these artists connect their own experiences with historical, political, and psychological realities to create works that can resonate with anyone who grapples with questions of freedom, identity, and displacement.

In preview, on Thursday, January 27, 6:30–7:30 p.m., a Curator’s Perspective will be given.

On Friday, January 28, 4:00–5:00 p.m., a Curator’s Tour will be given. On Thursdays, February 3, February 10, February 24, March 10, and March 31, from 1:30–2:00 p.m., a Frist at Home presentation will be held virtually. Thursday, March 24, 6:30–7:30 p.m., a special Panel Discussion  “Patria y Vida: Reflections on Art and Politics in Cuba” will be presented on  Zoom; free; but advance registration is required. Details about additional programs will be posted on FristArtMuseum.org and @FristArtMuseum on social media.

Frist Art Museum is currently open four days per week, Thursdays through Sundays. All guests, staff, and volunteers must wear masks while in the museum. Thursday–Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and Sunday: 1:00–5:30 p.m. Open hours and days of the Frist Art Museum are subject to change. Feel free to contact them with any questions or concerns: Phone: 615.244.3340; Fax: 615.244.3339 or Email: mail@FristArtMuseum.org  Frist Art Museum is located at 919 Broadway – Downtown in Nashville, Tennessee 37203-3822

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