Chicago in Auburn

The last time I was at Auburn’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art was just before their summer ’17 renovation, when Jiha Moon’s “Double Welcome, Most Everyone’s Mad Here” exhibit was on.

From the press release: ” Moon’s witty and ironic work explores how Westerners perceive other cultures and how perceived foreigners see the West. Korean born, now living in the United States, Moon asks the pertinent question, “Why do people love foreign stuff so much? When we travel to other countries, explore different cultures and meet with new people, we tend to fall in love with things that are not our own. People have a soft spot for foreign things. The world is so interconnected nowadays, how can you even tell where someone or something ‘comes from’ anymore?” In her work, Moon acts in the role of a traveler and explores the notion that identity is not beholden to geographic location.”
Jiha Moon: ‘Traveler’ 2013. Ink, acrylic, screen print, and tie-dye fabric on Hanji

What I’m really so excited about is the JCS’ new exhibit, ‘Creative Cadences: Works by Roger and Greg Brown’ (open now, through November 3 of this year). Excerpts from the press release:

The Brown brothers, who were raised near Auburn in neighboring Opelika in the 1940s and 50s, both showed significant creativity at an early age

Roger Brown moved from Alabama after high school and attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where his career as a serious artist intensified. By the time of his death in 1997, Roger Brown had risen to international prominence as one of the leading artists to emerge from the Chicago Imagist school of the late 1960s.

..(his) images and sculptural objects included in “Creative Cadences” reveal the influences of folk art, pop culture, Early Renaissance painting and his Southern roots.

…Several of the pieces in this exhibition are informed by aspects of Alabama life and culture that Roger drew inspiration from,” said Cynthia B. Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. “The 1990 oil on canvas portrait of Hank Williams is a fairly clear example.”

Along with a diverse sampling from Roger Brown’s oeuvre, more than 30 of Greg Brown’s charcoal and pastel drawings, linocut prints and a series of papier-mâché sculptures will be featured in the exhibition. An Auburn University alumnus, Greg Brown is a working artist and published author currently the midst of a second book on his family genealogy. Unlike the 2007 folk art exhibition at the museum that exhibited only Roger Brown’s artwork, this year’s show places him in the spotlight alongside his much-lauded sibling.

…Regarding the influence of Southern roots in their work, Greg Brown believes Alabama was fertile soil for nurturing the artistic growth of both Roger and himself. “There is a richness in the South that benefits an artist,” Greg Brown said. “The climate, the beauty and the relaxed, free, laid-back lifestyle—it fills you full of poetry.”

I know the Ogden has at least one of Roger’s works in its collection (one being ‘The Seven Lost Plagues’ and I really think I’ve seen his ‘Kissin Cousins’ there too), but quickly, I was able to find two other examples of his art from visits I’ve made to other museums:

This is Roger Brown’s ‘Clouds over Alabama’ at the Memphis Brooks
Roger Brown’s ‘Trailer Park, Truck Stop’ at Columbus Museum in Columbus GA (pic from a 2014 visit)

Roger Brown’s Chicago storefront home/studio/museum and his works therein are managed by the School of the Art Institute, and it can still be visited. Here, a video of Roger doing a walk-through of his staggering collection in 1995:

Great Chicago Reader article.
Galleries with Roger Brown pieces available.
Wondering: what is the visitation policy/status of the Roger Brown Memorial Rock House Museum in Beulah, Alabama.
The study collection on FB.
NYT obit.