Category Archives: Artists

Diverse Artists, Musicians, and Dancers

Engender Exhibit Goes Beyond the Binary

(Artwork by Jonathan Lyndon Chase – Pulpit)
Kohn Gallery presents Engender, a group exhibition featuring  contemporary artists who are revolutionizing the way we visualize conventional gender as exclusively male or female. Established in 1985, the Kohn Gallery has presented historically significant exhibitions in Los Angeles alongside exciting contemporary artists, creating meaningful contexts to establish links to a greater art historical continuum.

Through painting, a medium that has traditionally embraced this binary, these artists are pushing the genre in new, unprecedented directions, challenging the ways in which paintings can be used to deconstruct and rewrite conventional notions of personal identity. The exhibition highlights the inter-blending of traditional and figurative abstraction as the foundation for more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity, engendering a new visual pronoun. Engender is beyond the binary.

“If the show can expose people to questions about gender, questions that they may have never known to ask, that would be a success in my book.  I want people to be exposed to this topic first and foremost.  I think awareness is what will lead to further conversation.  When you have something so tethered to a long history of cultural categorizations such as gender, assumptions occurs.  Assumptions that negate proper exposure, discussion, and education on a very complex and multilayered component of all our lives.  The artists in the exhibition are reclaiming that narrative, visually crafting languages that speak to their own unique experience, and yet can very much be understood by all.”
~
Joshua Friedman, Curator and Associate Director of Kohn Gallery 
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The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine

Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). 

The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.

Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.

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Great diversity leaders of letters! – By Terry Howard

I’m often asked to suggest some conferences to attend, good books to read and other ways to learn about diversity. Here’s a glimpse of some of it.

“Who are the contemporary thought leaders on diversity, Terry?” queried one. “Someone suggested “Dr. So-and- So’s” book; would you recommend it?” surfaced in a recent e-mail.

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How Pow Wow Leaders Inspired – by Deborah Levine

When regional Native American pow wows convene in Chattanooga’s First Tennessee Pavilion, you’ll find me there, too. This year, the gathering seemed larger and more energetic than ever. I come to admire the colorful dress, hear the drum circle, and watch the dancing. The booths full of Native American arts and crafts are irresistible and my drawers are full of jewelry purchased there. I also come for the honor guard, a promenade of Native American veterans, police, firemen, and war mothers.

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Honoring Native American Art in the Southeast – by Deborah Levine

There is much beauty to celebrate in Native American art, but that it’s a struggle to create given the devastating historical events surrounding Native Americans. The Cherokee Nation had a culture that thrived for almost 1,000 years in the Southeastern United States: in Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and parts of Kentucky and Alabama. Life of the traditional Cherokee changed drastically with European expansion and cession of Cherokee lands to the colonies in exchange for trade goods. Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800s as Cherokees wary of white encroachment moved west and settled in other areas of the country’s vast frontier.  Their eventual removal by force prompts the question of whether there is any Cherokee cultural presence remaining in the Southeast.

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The Looting of Antiquities — by Nicholas Dietz

There has been a great deal of media attention regarding the looting of antiquities and other cultural property. The sacking of Iraq’s National Museum and the heritage of the country soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003 drew international headlines. The issue of looting came to the fore again in 2005 with the Italian Government’s indictment of Marion True, then chief Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, for trafficking in looted Greek and Roman artifacts. True was put on trial for what was cultural theft.

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The Traveling Hearth — By Marineh Khachadour

Home is the place that cradles our souls and soothes our most primal needs. Yet, for most of us, the only place that is certain to be a home is a mother’s womb, for after we are born, we move through time and space sometimes by force, sometimes by will, and spend a lifetime searching for a way of return. My family relocated to the United States when I was just out of high school. It was a decision made by my father who as a young man had been brought to the Soviet Republic of Armenia in 1946. My father’s parents had survived the Genocide of the Armenians on western Armenian lands (Eastern Turkey) in 1915, and like thousands, had made a life for themselves in Aleppo, Syria after walking for days through the deserts of Der El Zor.

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Why Neil Young Has No Worries – by Deborah Levine

Neil Young is now in his sixties, with many great achievements and awards, including MusiCares Person of the Year. When Young received the honor given his decades of work with Farm Aid and Bridge School Concerts, some of the most famous musicians in the business serenaded Young with his own songs: Elton John, James Taylor, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow Leon Russel, and Keith Russell. Young was quoted as saying that he’d forgotten how many songs he’d written. When did cultural superstar Young hit retirement age? He’s at the point in his life when he either 1) created so many songs he lost count or 2) really can’t remember. Not to worry, Neil.

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When Ravi Shankar met James Brown — by Deborah Levine

On a cold night in Sixties, my cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and headed out for a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I had the homesick bug; Sam cheered me up with a concert by a relatively unknown Ravi Shankar. Shankar was a musician who would eventually attract the Beatles, and the West, to his music. He was more of a cult icon in those days. I was an early entry into the All-Things-Eastern craze, having squeezed myself into a course on Buddhism at Harvard Divinity School. Even so, I had never seen Shankar perform or heard his music.

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Defying Gravity with Prima Ballerina, Maria Tallchief — by Deborah Levine

Maria Tallchief, international ballet superstar, inspired the ballerina in those of my generation caught up in the Dance Fantasy. Like gambling fever, the Dance can be all-consuming, easily contracted and a life-long passion.  I caught dancing fever at first sight,  growing up in Bermuda. I stared, open-mouthed when the square dance caller yelled ‘allemande right’ and my older brother Joe and his friends flew around the circle formation. “Me, too!” begged my five-year-old self. “Can I, huh, Can I?” The caller looked pained when Mom asked permission. “Yeah, OK. But only if she can find someone who’ll dance with a kid that young.” The deck was stacked against me, but Joe paid a friend sixpence to dance with me. My love affair with dance was off and running.

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