“Fragments of a Religion Forgotten: The Artwork of Harry Smith” is the primary solo exhibition of artist, experimental filmmaker, and groundbreaking musicologist Harry Smith (1923–91), whose compendium of tune recordings, the Anthology of American People Music, laid the groundwork for the popularization of people music within the Nineteen Sixties. This main exhibition introduces Smith’s life and work inside a museum setting for the primary time and contains work, drawings, experimental movies, designs, and examples of Smith’s collections of objects starting from string figures to discovered paper airplanes. Seen all through this hybrid show of artwork and ephemera are indicators of the esoteric, incredible, and different cosmologies fundamental to Smith’s view of tradition. The exhibition proposes new methods to expertise numerous strains of Twentieth-century American cultural histories.
Over the course of fifty years, Smith made renegade and progressive use of the altering recording and distribution applied sciences, from his voracious strategy to report gathering to experiments with early tape-recording techniques to groundbreaking manipulations of abstraction and collage in movie. Smith was an innovator in gathering, organizing, and sequencing photos and artifacts that construction the methods we perceive and share tradition and experiences immediately. He created a life and follow largely outdoors of establishments and capitalism, providing an eccentric mannequin for engagement with a society immediately even additional dominated by these techniques. Vitally, Smith delivered to mild and wrestled with—typically imperfectly—sides of America’s wealthy histories, tracing and sharing underappreciated veins of tradition usually invisible to mainstream society. Very a lot outdoors of his time, Smith nonetheless created his personal wealthy vein of American tradition that claims extra about this nation, its arts, and its numerous artistic communities than almost some other artist of his time.
The exhibition, designed in partnership with artist Carol Bove, distills his exceptional and different manufacturing into a variety of distinct sculptural areas. Smith’s early hand-painted summary movies, his movie of Seminole textiles, and Andy Warhol’s Display screen Take a look at of Smith will probably be offered alongside stills from the liner notes of the Anthology of American People Music (1952). The exhibition will zig-zag by shows of Smith’s private assortment of ephemera and archival supplies to survey the artist’s life. The artist’s hardly ever seen movie Mahagonny (1970–80) creates a portrait of city America with a mesmerizing, hectic, and repetitive showcase of 4 movies offered concurrently whereas an unique rating from the Brecht-Weill opera Rise and Fall of the Metropolis of Mahagonny (1930) performs at excessive quantity. A small black field theater will immerse guests in Smith’s collage movie Heaven and Earth Magic Function (c. 1957–62). Lastly, this exhibition will provide a novel listening setting the place guests can discover the Anthology of American People Music.
at Whitney Museum of American artwork, New York
till January 28, 2024