Huntsville Museum of Art

Huntsville, AL

256-535-4350 or 800-786-9095


Red Clay Survey: Seventh Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art


Through January 28, 2001, the Huntsville Museum of Art will once again present its well-known Red Clay Survey: Seventh Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art. This major regional exhibition "takes the pulse" of contemporary art in the Southeast through a selection of works in all styles and media determined by a juror with strong national credentials.

This year Juror Benny Andrews chose 64 works by 57 artists from 11 Southern states. Andrews is a nationally prominent African-American artist, teacher and arts advocate who grew up in rural Georgia and currently lives and works in New York. "I had before me the works of individuals who have spent a great part of their valuable time to create from the depths of their hearts, so these works are very special," Andrews said. "The strongest areas were painting and photography, which seems to mirror the trend in art over the last few years. Representational subject matter dominated, though again there were some strong abstract works." (left: Helen J. Vaughn, Recalling Ophelia, 2000, pastel on museum board, 25 x 35 inches)

Initiated in 1988, the Red Clay Survey was a joint effort between the Huntsville Museum of Art and Huntsville Art League. Since that time, the Museum has assumed sole sponsorship of the show, which has evolved into a major regional showcase for contemporary art.

"With the Red Clay Survey's growing prestige throughout the region, an increasing number of respected, professional artists are entering the show and being selected," Chief Curator Peter Baldaia said. "Because the jurying is blind, however, young and emerging artists also have the chance to be selected for the show." (left: Charles Joyner, Akua'ba, 1999, mixed media serigraph, 24 x 18 inches)

"This year's exhibition includes a record number of artists from our area," Baldaia added. From the local area, 12 works by 11 artists were selected by Andrews. Other states represented by artists in the show include Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Initially, Andrews selected the semi-finalists based on nearly 1,000 slides that the artists had submitted. Then he visited Huntsville in August to make his final selections in person. "I found a sense of self-confidence in the great majority of the work, and it did not cater to any popular styles or trends. In fact, this self-assurance was one of the most refreshing things to experience in this diverse body of works," Andrews said. (left: Lassie McDonald Crowder, Assisi, 2000, oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches)

The Museum will publish a catalog featuring the works and the artists. It will be for sale in the Museum Store, which is open during Museum hours.

On Sunday, January 21, 2001, Museum visitors can spend an afternoon in the galleries with four Red Clay artists as they discuss the nature and evolution of their works on display during The Artist's Point of View from 2-4 p.m. in the Chan Gallery. The public can also learn more about the works in the exhibition during informative tours led by specially trained Museum docents on Saturday, November 18, at 11 a.m., Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m., Thursday, January 11, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, January 28, at 2 p.m.


Peter J. Baldaia

Peter J. Baldaia has served as Chief Curator of the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama, since February 1994. He was formerly Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Illinois, and Curator at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, Massachusetts. He has organized more than 50 major exhibitions of historical and contemporary art in the last eighteen years. Recent exhibitions presented at the Huntsville Museum of Art have included over a dozen acclaimed Encounters solo shows of contemporary Southern art, as well as the blockbuster exhibitions Splendors of a Golden Age: Italian Paintings from Burghley House, A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum and Land of the Winged Horsemen: Art in Poland 1572-1764. (left: Peter Baldaia, Chief Curator, Huntsville Museum of Art)

Baldaia attended the Rhode Island School of Design and received his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended graduate school at Brown University in Providence and Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master's degree in Art History and Museum Studies from Boston University Graduate School. He is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Alabama Museum Association, and since 1995 has been listed in the annual reference publication, Who's Who in American Art.

See more articles on 20th Century Southern art in this magazine.

Read more about the Huntsville Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/27/11

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