Cherry Bounce: Appalachian Art, American Politics

Cherry Bounce: Appalachian Art, American Politics
Opening Reception: September 1, 2016, 6–8 p.m.
September 2, 2016–January 15, 2017
United Company Regional Gallery



In the American Republic few things are more universal than our collective interest
in and disdain for democratic politics. Whether we are imagining our ancestors
reading broadside newspaper articles to one another on the steps of their local
post offices or our peers today engaging collective, almost stream of conscience
debates through the various mediums of the internet age, we are an intensively
political people, not merely among our elites and ivory—tower intellectuals, but
almost universally. Our culture is that of democratic—republicanism, with its equal
shares of beauty and muck.

When something is this deeply embedded into a people’s culture it will pervade
its arts almost universally. My ancestors in Europe built cathedrals and wrote
music and decorated mosaics that touched upon religious themes—Americans
do this too, of course, but in equal (or greater) measure we build monuments
and write tomes and compose operas on questions political.

Of course each of the many nations that make up the greater American nation
does this in their own way and my folk, the Appalachians, no less than the others.
That is part of the motivation for this show—to illustrate how Appalachians—modern
Appalachians—express their political nature artistically.

We’re doing this in a simple way—I have gathered together great works of
political art from the history of American democracy—1788 to 2012—and I’m
asking artists to react to them. End. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. I have
no idea what they’re going to paint, draw, sculpt, print, or record. But it is going
to be wonderful.

– Guest Curator, Eric Drummond Smith, PhD

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