Note from the Publisher August 2022

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel life is art.”
­—
Helena Bonham Carter

We welcome you to the August Art & Philanthropy issue. Our cover model is my daughter, Sarah Carter Levitch. It wasn’t an easy decision to include her on the cover along with a feature story. However, she is truly talented and is debuting her EP this month, “Quiet Power,” and we are excited to share this with you. August also happens to be her birth month, so it’s a marvelous way to celebrate. She is a Leo through and through. Allow me to share lyrics from one of her songs, August Sun. Click here to take a listen.

August Sun
Lyrics and music Sarah Carter Levitch
Give me a glass of bourbon,
Give me a spoon of honey
Goin’ to the country where the horses fly
My friends are back in New York
But I don’t feel alone
I’m thinkin how it’s crazy, the sky’s the past, how long we last
Through the atmosphere, we are here
I can dance with myself in the August sun
I can drive through the night without anyone
I can fly so high
When the fields start rollin the clouds drift down to a time gone by and no ones around
And I’m dancin’ with myself in the August sun
I could spend the summer
Waiting by the phone
But I’m goin’ to the country
Where the stars burn bright
Looking at rings of Saturn
Lookin’ for UFOs
Thinkin how it’s crazy, the sky’s the past,
how long we last
Through the atmosphere, we are here
I can dance with myself in the August sun
I can drive through the night without anyone
I can fly so high
When the fields start rollin the clouds drift down to a time gone by but no ones around
And I’m dancin’ with myself in the August sun
When the summer starts to fade
Crimson sunset goes down on my loneliness
Another season washed away
The light inside grows stronger everyday
I can dance with myself in the August sun
I can drive through the night without anyone
I can fly so high
When the fields start rollin the clouds drift down to a time gone by but no ones around
And I’m dancin’ with myself in the August sun
In the August sun

Thanks for listening!

Janice Carter Levitch Humphrey
Publisher

Letter from the Editor August 2022

Photo by Andrea Hutchinson. Facepaint by Alex & Andi.

Buckle up. The August Art and Philanthropy issue is here! This issue gives our readers insight into what’s happening in the art world and what nonprofit events are coming up. You might notice our stunning cover star as our very own Sarah Carter Levitch. Sarah has been a part of the team since September 2021 while also working on her music career. We are so excited to announce that her EP “Quiet Power” will be released on August 5!

As you turn the magazine pages, prepare to be blown away by the artists and philanthropists in our community; I know I certainly was. Elizabeth Scinta learned of the many talents of Lance G. Newman II, ranging from spoken word to visual arts and everything in between. Sarah divulges the twist Actor’s Theater has put on the forever classic “Dracula” (think: feminist revenge). Erika Holmquist-Wall taught Elizabeth so much about Claude Monet her brain was spinning, but out popped a feature that taught me so much about Monet and his beloved Water Lily paintings.

Angel McCoughtry, a former University of Louisville Basketball player, inspired the VOICE team to reach for the stars with the court she refurbished in Shively Park. Our photographer Andrea Hutchinson joined Sarah on a trip to Yew Dell Botanical Gardens to capture an exquisite sunrise and learn about the Capital Campaign to restore the castle to its former glory. Finally, Steve is ending the debate on whether or not Pluto is considered a planet. Spoiler: Pluto is not.

I could go on about all the fantastic features, but it’s time for you to get comfortable, flip the page and enjoy the August Arts and Philanthropy issue!

“Picasso” out,

Alexandra Hepfinger
Editor in Chief

Behind the Cover August 2022

 

By Sarah Carter Levitch
Photos by Lane Levitch
Base Makeup byBecca Schell
Facepaint byAlex & Andi

 

When our photographer, Andrea Hutchinson, first showed me a photo she had saved on Pinterest of pink and orange wavy makeup, I was intrigued by the idea of doing an artsy fartsy look for the cover. However, in reality, I was skeptical if our team could pull off this funky, intricate look. As a creative, you shoot for the stars and either land in the milky way or in an orbit of space junk.

The morning of the shoot, I sat in silence with my espresso and wrote in my journal: “Let go of control. Let go of control. Let go of control.” I knew that if there was any chance of this look coming to life, I had to surrender to the team.
When you’re more focused on the end result, you miss out on all the joy, frustration, love, confusion and laughter that lies in the actual process of creation. When you trust the process and surrender to the fullness of the present moment, then it doesn’t matter if the final product is good or bad. The experience and process of creation itself is enough.
As the makeup was drawn on my face, I sat quietly. Everyone on the team got to see as the colorful swirls came to life, but I stayed where I was and let the process unfold. When it was finished, I looked at myself in the mirror. By some miracle, we landed in the milky way.

Dream Until It’s Your Reality

A conversation with singer-songwriter Sarah Carter

 

By Janice Carter Levitch Humphrey
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
Makeup by Becca Schell

 

We all have our journey to seek out and live our lives to the fullest. Doing so involves the ability to dream about what could be while living in the reality of what is. This takes passion and trust in that passion, along with a lot of tenacity to endure the journey. The hills and valleys, so to say, keep life interesting. I’ve learned that just when you think the possible is impossible, you know the impossible is possible. Allow me to open this conversation with my daughter, Sarah, to learn more about her vision of possibilities. When the idea was presented to me to include a feature on Sarah, I made a considerable effort to avoid any chance of nepotism in this situation. By doing so, I called on our team to decide whether or not we should proceed. After listening to her demo, the vote came back a resounding yes. Being a Leo, Sarah is strong-willed and has an intuitive insight into the world around her. And, of course, I am so very proud and believe in her wholeheartedly. Read on to learn more about her journey.

Was there a moment when you knew being a singer-songwriter was your calling?

Deep down, I have always known that I was meant to be a singer-songwriter. One of my earliest memories is watching the TV show, “Hannah Montana.” I was six years old when it first debuted. I remember watching the show and seeing Miley Cyrus live the double life of a pop star and ordinary girl. There were clips of her performing on stage as Hannah Montana, and I thought, “that’s what I want to do.” I even went looking for auditions to be on the show. Around 11 or 12 years old, I discovered Taylor Swift and wanted to get a guitar so I could write songs like her. I took lessons for a few weeks and then taught myself using Taylor Swift guitar books.

Growing up, I think it’s natural to lose touch with our inner child and our purest dreams. Once I got into high school, I lost touch with this passion of mine as I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t talented or good enough. I became more involved with school plays and musicals, similar to being a musician in the sense that you are performing. When I left home for university, I didn’t bring my guitar with me, and I drifted further away from this part of myself.

I had a profound experience about a year and a half ago when I reconnected with my inner child and my purpose. I was working with the Akashic Records, a metaphysical library of all thoughts, emotions, actions and words to have occurred, past, present and future, in all life forms. While reading my Records, I learned about a past life from which my fear of not being good enough stems. Around the same time, I dreamt about a vicious tiger trying to get into my home. I did some research and learned that killer tigers in your dreams represent your subconscious fears that are, in a way, killing your soul and holding you back from your full potential. When I read this, I immediately thought, “I am a singer-songwriter, but I’m afraid of not being good enough.” I broke down a limiting belief in my mind, and I wrote eight songs that day. This experience was a reminder and a confirmation of who I am and my soul’s purpose.

Tell us about your education and how it pertains to your music.

I recently graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. I majored in performance studies, essentially a philosophy of performance (both artistic performance and sociology), and minored in creative writing. So technically, I didn’t take music or performance classes, but for my senior capstone project, I had a lot of freedom and decided to use the resources at my disposal while I was at NYU. I connected with Madi Richardson and Maggie Bishop, students at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, both of whom helped me record and produce the EP. They were both extremely patient with me as they taught me a lot about recording as we went. I cannot express how grateful I am for their support. Without them, I couldn’t have made the music at this level of quality. Of course, we were working within lots of limitations due to COVID policies and the time frame, but I’m proud of the music we created together.

What instruments do you play?

I sing and play guitar.

What is it like in the recording studio?

The first time I recorded in a studio was at singer-songwriter Stoll Vaughan’s home studio in Lexington, Kentucky. During the lockdown, he built this awesome studio in a barn. I got to record the acoustic demos for “Quiet Power” there. I remember Stoll was shocked at how natural I was in the studio the first day. Honestly, it felt like I was returning home in a way. Everything about the experience felt familiar. It’s the same feeling I had growing up when I would play my guitar or perform on stage. Everything else in the world melts away, and I’m just there, in the music. I feel connected to myself and in touch with the present. I would get so lost in recording that two hours would go by, and it only felt like 30 minutes. That’s how I know this is what I’m meant to do.

Have you had a mentor that helped encourage you along the way?

Yes, Stoll Vaughan. I’m so grateful to have connected with him. He taught me what it means to write a song. Before I worked with Stoll, my lyrics were painting a picture rather than telling a story. There was a lot of fluff. When I worked with Stoll, he pushed me to cut all the unnecessary imagery and get to the bottom of what I was trying to say, the story I was trying to tell. At the end of the day, that’s what makes a good song and what people connect to. The truth. The best songs come from opening your heart and being vulnerable.
Where does your inspiration come from?

In a way, I’m always inspired, but it’s the inspiration I take action on that turns into art. For “Quiet Power,” my biggest influences were Harry Styles, Ram Dass and Akashic Records. When I wrote these songs in late 2020-early 2021, Harry Styles’s “Fine Line” was on repeat, I was listening to old Ram Dass lectures through the “Ram Dass Here and Now” podcast, and I was reading the Records frequently. One day before walking in Cherokee Park, I opened the Records and decided to take a walk while in this frequency. It was a beautiful Kentucky day: blue skies, puffy clouds and warm sunshine to break the crisp February air. I was walking up Baringer Hill, and as I looked up to the sky, the song “Quiet Power” lyrics and melody came through. In a way, the song was channeled through me from the Records, but the park’s scenery was what sparked it to come through. If you listen to my other songs, you will also see that I draw a lot of inspiration from nature.

What music did you listen to growing up?

Taylor Swift and The Beatles were my top two artists growing up. Outside of that, I had a wide range of influences from my family. My Mom would play the Putumayo CDs, which are world music compilations. We would listen to the French, Italian and Bossa Nova ones the most. It was her way of transporting us to another part of the world. She also played artists like Coldplay, Ottmar Liebert, Cher and Pink. Then I would go to my Dad’s, and he would play artists like Weezer, Smash Mouth and ELO. In high school, my brother bought me a bunch of vinyl records one year for my birthday, including Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, U2 and Simon & Garfunkel.

How do you overcome moments of doubt (if you have them)?

I have to credit my ability to overcome doubt to my spiritual practice. By cultivating self-awareness through yoga, meditation and journaling, I can better distinguish my ego from my consciousness. All doubt comes from the ego because the ego lives in fear. It wants to stay the same, to keep you safe. Your consciousness intends to grow and expand. When you can observe and recognize the voice of doubt in your mind, you take back control of your thoughts and realize that the doubt is simply a passing emotion. It is not who you really are.

So far, what is the highlight of your experience as a singer-songwriter? What are your goals for the future?

Both working with Stoll Vaughan and getting to record at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. There’s a saying I would see graffitied everywhere in Greenwich Village, New York: “Dream until it’s your reality.” I think this is so beautiful because we first have to allow ourselves to dream before we can change our reality. I definitely have big goals for the future, all of which stem from my dreams when I was a little girl. I have about 12 songs waiting in the wings that I cannot wait to hear brought to life, so I would love the opportunity to record an album. Because this is my debut EP, another goal of mine is to get a manager and eventually sign to a record label. I would also love to start opening on tour for bigger acts like Shawn Mendes, Harry Styles or even Greta Van Fleet. Of course, the universe has its own plan, so who knows what the future holds. I feel like I’m about to walk off the edge of a cliff. I don’t know what’s at the bottom, but I’ve surrendered to the universe and trust that I will end up exactly where I’m meant to be.

Heaven Hill Brands

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week returns for another round this year

 

By Lauren Newcomb
Photos provided by Heaven Hill Brands

 

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week returns for another round this year as bars across the country create a new twist on the classic cocktail. The third annual celebration takes place this October 14 through 23, partnering with Southern Smoke Foundation as the beneficiary of a donation of up to $100,000.

Hosted by award-winning bartender and Heaven Hill National Spirits Specialist and Portfolio Mixologist Lynn House, the ten-day celebration invites discerning imbibers to raise a glass to the time-honored cocktail while raising money for an excellent cause. Each bar offers a classic and/or riff(s) on the quintessential drink throughout the week. With more than 2,000 establishments participating last year, several nationally acclaimed bars are already committed to participating, including Trouble Bar and The Silver Dollar. To find more bars in your area, go to oldfashionedweek.com.

Since 2020, $200,000 has been raised for bar and restaurant workers in need through Old Fashioned Week. This year’s recipient, Southern Smoke, is a crisis relief organization that provides a safety net for people in the food and beverage industry. To contribute to the cause this year, you can visit a local bar or restaurant participating in Old Fashioned Week, tag your Elijah Craig Old Fashioned with @elijahcraig and #OldFashionedWeek. For each entry received, Elijah Craig will donate $5 to Southern Smoke up to $100,000.

Start practicing your Old Fashioned skills now with the below cocktails from Lynn House.

Heaven Hill Distillery
1311 Gilkey Run Rd.
Bardstown, KY 40004
502.337.1000
heavenhilldistillery.com

The Galt House August 2022

Providing inventive dining concepts for the best of Southern hospitality

 

By Skip James
Photos provided by The Galt House Hotel

 

As summertime in Louisville reaches its peak, locals are invited to sit back and enjoy a hand-crafted beverage from Swizzle Dinner and Drinks at The Galt House Hotel. Guests can fully immerse themselves in the southern retro-style supper club while enjoying the panoramic views of downtown from the 25th floor of the hotel.

Swizzle Dinner and Drinks’ enticing and swanky cocktails, as seen on its cocktail menu, make it ever so easy to appreciate the art of mixology and intricate design. With unique techniques and a flick of the wrist, Swizzle bartenders have mastered creating a sensational one-of-a-kind drink. Swizzle offers a variety of signature drinks, including the popular bourbon and lemon-infused mixed drink, “Sting Like A Bee,” and the sweet and tangy “Razzle Dazzle.” Yet, a classic and beloved go-to is the “1910 Smokebox Old Fashioned” delivered in a smoking box with its warm aroma of Evan Williams Bottled in Bond.

Looking forward, guests can anticipate the debut of “Sunset Sip,” served to guests at sunset every night. The vibrant drink flawlessly resembles the warm summer nights of Louisville and can be enjoyed solo or with some good company.

Swizzle Dinner & Drinks continues to celebrate the long-standing history of bourbon with the restaurant’s monthly bourbon dinners. Guests can dine at Swizzle to experience a spectacular set menu of delicious prime steaks, sustainable seafood and local produce – alongside the finest bourbons. Each dinner is themed with an exclusive bourbon partner and features local guest speakers from the bourbon industry to host guided tastings. Even more, to further enrich one’s knowledge of the world of whiskey and fine spirits.

The Reverse Happy Hours are in the Conservatory and Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar after the Yum Center concerts. Other dining locations in the Galt House offer Happy Hours on Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with specials such as $2 off wines by the glass, $4 draft beers, $5 Evan Williams Black and Riondo Prosecco. Assorted finger food like soft pretzels, cheese curds and fried green tomatoes are also included.

Guests may also take advantage of the live entertainment from Walker’s Exchange at The Galt House Hotel and kick back with its monthly hosting of cigar lounge nights. The Walker’s Exchange Patio cigar lounge is on the last Friday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m., with cigars available for purchase. The upcoming cigar lounge night will be on Aug. 26, and both the bourbon dinner and cigar lounge night can be reserved via Eventbrite.

The Galt House Hotel, which recently emerged from an $80 million transformative renovation, hosts 1,239 sophisticated guest rooms, suites and 130,000 square feet of function space. Aside from Swizzle, the hotel has five other inventive dining concepts onsite and provides the best of Southern hospitality.

The Galt House Hotel
140 N Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40202
502.589.5200
galthouse.com

A Change in Scenery

Germaine Hoschedé, Lili Butler, Madame Marie Jenny Durand-Ruel, Georges Durand-Ruel and Claude Monet at the water lily pond in Giverny in 1900.

The Speed Art Museum eagerly welcomed Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas” to the scene last April

 

By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos provided by The Speed Art Museum

 

The click-clack of my heels echoed off the floors and walls of the empty Speed Art Museum as Erika Holmquist-Wall, the Chief Curator and Curator of European & American Paintings & Sculpture of the Speed Art Museum, led me up the grand staircase. At the top of the white marble stairs is a gallery that has housed Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas” since its loan period began in April. “While this painting has timeless appeal for everyone, it feels like an important moment to be able to share it with our visitors. First of all, Monet is known for the waterlilies, and Monet is about as famous and recognizable of a name as you can get. Even people who barely know anything about art recognize the name,” Holmquist-Wall elucidated. “Monet’s popularity over the years has made him a household name in art history, and the waterlilies are inextricably linked with his name.”

When one thinks of Monet, the waterlilies come to mind. Similar to “Mona Lisa” and Leonardo da Vinci or “The Starry Night” and Vincent van Gogh. The name goes with the painting, but what about the history and meaning of the piece?

During the summer, Monet would pack his bags and travel to the North of France to paint the exquisite scenery and subject matter that lay before him. However, as he grew older, escaping to the countryside every summer wasn’t as enjoyable or feasible, so he decided to create his ideal artistic environment. So, in 1883, Monet purchased land in Giverny, France, where he began to craft a splendid waterlily pond and surrounding gardens that would fuel his creativity for the remainder of his life.

Upon completing the waterlily pond, he created his first series of waterlily paintings, including “Nymphéas.” “This work comes from the first series of waterlily paintings when his garden at Giverny was brand new to him, and he’s discovering its charm. There is an element of wonder and discovery in the early waterlily series; they are so modern in feel that they are nearly abstract. The focal point is not necessarily about the subject matter of the waterlilies themselves. It’s about capturing the quality of the light,” Holmquist-Wall said.

You’ll notice “Nymphéas” is a close-up view of the subject matter, and that’s because it’s supposed to evoke a complete sensory experience from viewers. “If you let your eyes relax, it’s an invitation to slow down and bring all of your senses to a work of art. When you let it wash over you, so to speak, you start seeing the sunlight rippling off the water and the water lilies that sit just below the surface of the water. If you listen, you can almost hear the water burbling, the buzzing of the bees or dragonflies and the birds chirping,” explained Holmquist-wall.

After completing the first waterlily series, Monet put them away in his studio to work on other projects. It wasn’t until the end of World War I that Monet revisited painting the waterlily pond. According to Holmquist-Wall, the Water Lilies Cycle, the second series of waterlily paintings, was gifted to the French state as a symbol of entering peace following the Armistice on November 11, 1918. Unlike the first series, the artworks in this series vary in size and are much more loosely painted (signifying his aging eyes). This series can be found in the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.

Holmquist-Wall paired “Nymphéas” with a selection of photographs from “The Gardens at Giverny: A View of Monet’s World,” a portfolio series by the American photographer Stephen Shore and the Speed’s recently restored Monet painting, “The Church at Varengeville-Sur-Mey, Grey Weather.” “The three artworks in the gallery explore Monet’s fascination with light and color and his search for the perfect setting. This story is told through an early work made during his travels, a key work from his Giverny period, and a contemporary photographer looking at the world Monet created,” explained Holmquist-Wall.

So, as you step into the gallery, take a breath and let your imagination take you back to Monet’s oasis where ripples cascade across the pond, dragonflies float past blissfully and the artist crafts mystical paintings that will be paired with his name until the end of time.

Speed Art Museum
2035 South 3rd St.
Louisville, KY 40208
502.634.2700
speedmuseum.org

Sculpting History

American Artist Simone Leigh made history as the first Black woman to represent the United States in the American Pavilion

 

By Charity Ghali
Photos by Theresa Carpenter Beames

 

Few things in this world can be as multi-faceted and intellectually riveting as contemporary art. Its lovers savor its perspectives and hunger for its complexity. Per tradition, the contemporary art scene is feasting in Italy this year. The Venice Biennale, known as the “Olympics of the art world,” is the world’s oldest and most prestigious international exhibition of contemporary art. It gathers a global culture of creative minds and stands at the forefront of the international art scene. In April, American Artist Simone Leigh made history as the first Black woman to represent the United States in the American Pavilion. Leigh’s work was prodigiously well-received as no surprise to those who have witnessed her career and craft. Graciously sharing their credentials to attend the preview with members of their Donor’s Circle, KMAC supporters were some of the first to see the debut of Leigh’s monumental exhibition in the Giardini and to watch her make history. They were there reflecting KMAC museums’ ongoing evolution to become one of the region’s most innovative contemporary art spaces.

Co-occurrent to Leigh’s legacy as the first Black female to represent the United States, British artist Sonia Boyce was also history-making as the first Black female to represent Great Britain. This history point was compounded when both artists became the first Black women in the Biennale’s 127-year history to be awarded the event’s most prestigious honors, the Golden Lions. Leigh’s Golden Lion was for best participation in the central exhibit “The Milk of Dreams,” which featured her 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture “Brick House” that she originally created for the High Line Plinth commission in New York City. Boyce was awarded a Golden Lion for best national participation. Seemingly not a complete coincidence, the awards mirror the aspiration of the Biennale’s artistic director Cecilia Alemani’s placing that female-identifying artists and gender non-conforming artists outnumbered male-identifying ones for the first time, and this year forces a rethinking of male centrality in historical and contemporary art.

Leigh’s award for “Brick House” in the central exhibit should not overshadow the significance of her entire solo exhibition, “Sovereignty,” in the American pavilion. Juxtaposing a massive West African Palace onto the Jeffersonian-designed structure, placing a dense thatch roof perched on top of thick wooden columns, she created a majestic architectural formation that looms powerfully around the surrounding pavilions. The transformation of the Monticello-esque building into this African architectural sculpture instantly pushes the viewer into introspection. Drawing from traditional and contemporary architecture and diverse cultural iconography spread by colonialism and the American slave trade, the facade renders most speechless. Centered in the palace’s foreground is “Satellite,” a notable bronze Black female figure, Leigh’s most commonly addressed subject matter.

Often architectural, a significant amount of Leigh’s work is sculptures with corporeal quality. Best known for her “Anatomy of Architecture” series in 2016, she often addresses the objectification of the Black female form and their unacknowledged labor. This theme is paramount for her in Venice. Upon entering the pavilion, one is greeted by a large reflecting pool with a bronze sculpture depicting a Black laundress at work. The laundress ceaselessly performs her duties, and the voyeur’s constant gaze at her as an object exemplifies her lack of sovereignty over her own depiction. “Last Garment” reflects a romanticized stereotype that colonization often placed on its oppressed as diligent and dutiful.

In the second gallery, one starts to see Leigh’s ceramics that reference African pottery, architecture and objects that reflect the American South. Here one sees her use of face jugs, cowrie shells and her talent for the figurative in ceramic. “Anonymous” is a seemingly serene Black female in a hoop skirt with her face resting on her hands. Her historical use of references is complex, but the overall objective is obvious and achieved with a still elegance. Her subject’s pain is obvious, but there is a profound dignity to how she has chosen to navigate her suffering. One does not need to know all the deep influences in her individual pieces to understand what Leigh is trying to say. The Black female figure, historically abused, objectified and forced to labor, is here a graceful, beautiful voice addressing an ugly history that must be rectified.

Leigh began creating her figurative work in ceramics (which she is best known for) at Earlham College. Ironically, Leigh’s work had been presumed by many to not be able to ever hit the mainstream. She was ignored for years by curators and collectors who dismissed her ceramics as unsuitable for top galleries or museum shows simply because ceramics were considered craft. Perhaps this disregard allowed Leigh the space to grow as an artist in a way that could not have happened had she been bound by the concept that there is a distinction between “high art” and craft, and perhaps this is why one witnesses a purity in the complexity of her work. Also, this unique artistic positioning had KMAC museum promoting her work long before the Biennale.

KMAC Museum’s Curatorial Director Joey Yates felt that her practice of focusing on materials, process, labor and craft was what made her a perfect fit for a solo exhibit at the museum. When Yates joined the museum in 2012, he had followed Leigh’s work for years. “I was not only drawn to her ceramic work but also her work in video, installation and performance,” Yates explained that at this time, Leigh’s work was already making a mark in the art scene. She had a piece in the 21C collection here in Louisville and had completed her famous project, the Free People’s Medical Clinic in Brooklyn. When the museum began to redefine its artistic direction Yates knew Leigh’s work seemed apropos of its mission. Yates said, “It was clear that her work would be a perfect fit for the direction the museum was taking in presenting artists whose material explorations find new fertile ground at the crossroads of traditional craft and contemporary artistic production.” So with deep foresight of her importance and in unison with KMAC’s mission, Yates curated “Leigh’s Crop Rotation,” one of her earliest solo museum shows in 2015.

When asked to reflect on his experience when he first saw the American Pavilion in Venice, Yates said he was prepared after working with Leigh for her monumental approach. Still, it was hard to be fully prepared for the power and beauty she brought to the exhibit. He further explained, “It was a joy to see her return to so many forms she had been developing during her time at KMAC. Her iconic cowrie shells, hoop skirt forms and the rosettes all made an appearance.” These items are all seen in the second gallery referred to earlier that houses “Anonymous.”

Sentinel stands at the center of the U.S. Pavilion’s rotunda gallery. A huge bronze elongated female with a spoon-like head seems to watch -as the title suggests-over the exhibit. “Conspiracy” and “Sharifa” is a massive bronze sculpture and video piece in the following gallery. The architectural sculpture seems to lean against a wall, exhausted with her foot pushing out from beneath her skirt. The statue is of a close friend, colleague and acclaimed writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. The video showing aspects of the creation of one of Leigh’s sculptures features Rhodes-Pitts and artist Lorraine O’Grady. The relationship between Leigh and Rhodes-Pitts is close, and both artist and writer are heavily influenced by Harriet Jacobs’ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” They often collaborate and reference Jacobs to help demonstrate what slavery took away. In October in Venice, both will be hosting the symposium “Loophole of Retreat” as part of the U.S. Pavilions exhibit. They will bring together scholars, artists and activists from around the world to discuss and address the history of and future possibilities of freedom.

A final gallery is a group of works constructed again of ceramic, but here one sees her signature use of raffia. Again referencing the South and women’s dress, “Cupboard” references Mammy’s Cupboard, a 1940s Mississippi restaurant and Leigh grounds her on the more primitive architectural structure of a raffia hut. Placed next to this is the ceramic “Sphinx,” a popular reference to the ancient world. Leigh ties together these images to demonstrate that the objectification of the Black female form has stemmed unendingly since the beginning of ancient times.

Simone Leigh’s exhibit in Venice stirred a lot of conversation, and it can be said that she is now a superstar in the contemporary art world. Though the Guggenheim and the Whitney have been telling us that point as of late, it is exciting that Louisville’s KMAC knew her relevance very early on. Louisville is fortunate to possess two of Leigh’s works. With the ceramic bust in the 21c Museum Hotel collection, thanks to a donation by Julie and Bill Ballard, KMAC possesses “Stack II.” This 9-foot totemic sculpture was a collaboration with Louisville natives Tony Pinotti and David Caudill in 2015 for her solo exhibit at the museum.

The 59th Biennale Arte runs in Venice from April 23 to 27 November 2022 and is curated by Cecilia Alemani.

Passport: Places • Trends • Style August 2022

Crew Aviation is the fashionable way to fly

 

By Shannon Wiedekamp
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
Styled by Elizabeth Scinta
Clothing provided by Rodes for Her
Model Alex Borders

 

We specialize in the art of creating travel experiences worthy of being called a masterpiece. Your travel schedule is your canvas. You control the destination and schedule. We provide safety, service and security. We understand the lives of our passengers are priceless.

Marigold Mobile Bar Showroom

Photos by Austin White


Marigold Catering had its grand opening for the Marigold Mobile Bar Showroom on July 13. The multi-functional event space will serve as their new home base and home to their Golden Girl Mobile Bar Fleet.