The Cotton Museum is proud to introduce an art event and lecture series entitled Black, White and Beauty: Confronting Race and Feminine Identity in the South extending from April 17th through May 18th. Including a book talk, art exhibit, and lecture, the series will address evolving historic and cultural perceptions of beauty for both Black and white women – and how that history continues to influence our lives today. Each event is free and open to the public, featuring a complimentary Museum tour and reception. The title event on Friday, April 18th will celebrate the opening of a new exhibit of paintings by Kiersten Williams and will feature live music from Candice Ivory and craft beer from High Cotton Brewery.
Schedule of events:
Thursday, April 17 at 6:00pm– Join us as author and historian Dr. Blain Roberts discusses her incisive new book Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South. The book reveals how the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to turbulent racial divides throughout the region. In her lecture at the Cotton Museum, Roberts will discuss the rise of agricultural beauty contests in the South, and how they shaped the American feminine ideal. “The image of the beautiful southern belle…was, by definition, racially exclusive,” Roberts explains, “and many Black women would have keenly felt its discriminatory power.” This event is free and open to the public, and includes a reception, book signing, and museum tour.
Friday, April 18th from 6:00pm- 9:00pm– Celebrate the opening of a new exhibit of paintings by Kiersten Williams, entitled Black, White, and Beauty. Working in a wide range of media, from canvas and acrylic to spray paint and collage, William’s installation takes inspiration from the Cotton Museum’s exhibits, racially charged pop culture imagery, and her own experience as a Black woman born and raised in Memphis. Guests will enjoy an evening of modern art, Candace Ivory’s unique blend of rock, soul and dance music, complimentary wine, and local craft beer from High Cotton Brewery. The opening night celebration is free and open to the public. Black, White and Beauty will remain on view with the cost of regular admission through May 18, 2014.
Thursday, April 24th at 6:00pm– Meet local historian Dr. Earnestine Jenkins! Her lecture, Image Control: Photography, Fashion, and Black Feminine Identity will feature a presentation of Victorian-era photographs of African American women in Memphis. By examining these photos, Dr. Jenkins reveals the relationships between fashion, photographic and art historical traditions, and the evolving perceptions of racial identity in the South. Her lecture will demonstrate how Black women, in particular, leveraged their newly attained access to photography and newfound power as consumers of fashion to reclaim control of their representation. This lecture and discussion is free and open to the public, and includes a complimentary reception and museum tour.
This series of events will be held at the Cotton Museum (65 Union Avenue) and is free and open to the public. For details about all Black, White, and Beauty events, check out their website: http://memphiscottonmuseum.