Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome Home - Juan Logan!

One of my favorite artists, Juan Logan, an art professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently posted a new video, "Welcome Home". For those unfamiliar with this creative beast of an artist, here is a short write up about the video:

Welcome Home, the title of Juan Logan's video ironically refers to the words of an older white woman welcoming a white family back to the plantation and its values. Images of a young white woman amidst an army of hooded Klansmen, which celebrates their "protection" of her womanhood, alternates with scenes that include a smiling Uncle Remus, happy in the supposed paternalistic embrace of slavery and Jim Crow, a black "coon" cat running scared from an unseen adversary, Civil War battles, and the face of a young black male, of the present as much as of the past, in the process of being erased. Logan digitally alters the imagery in the video to visually magnify its drama and draw attention to the frightening power of racial caricatures to shape our current perceptions and actions.

In Welcome Home, Juan Logan samples and alters imagery and sound from D. W. Griffin's silent film Birth of a Nation (1915), Walt Disney's live action/animation feature Song of the South (1946), Disney cartoons, footage of a 1920 Ku Klux Klan rally at the Washington Monument, and still photographs of the 1858 bombing of Charleston, the latter borrowed from the archives of the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Although born in the South, Logan’s artworks address subjects relevant to the American experience as a whole. At once abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the interconnections of race, place, and power. They make visible how hierarchical relations and social stereotypes shape individuals, institutions, and the material and mental landscapes of contemporary life. For instance, the silhouette of a head, which appears in many of his works, confronts the viewer to implicate him/her in the politics of social space, even in galleries and museums. He has shown extensively nationally and internationally, has had numerous solo exhibitions, and executed many private and public commissions. Logan’s works can be found in private, corporate, and public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum, the Zimmerli Museum of Art, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Logan’s awards include fellowships from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, the Carolina Postdoctoral Scholars Fellowship, and the Phillip Morris Companies. 

I think it's easy to see why I love this man and his art.

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