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MEMORY IS A STRANGE BELL

THE ART OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY

OGDE N MUS E UM OF S O UTHE RN A RT


MEMORY IS A STRANGE BELL THE ART OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY OCTOBER 5 - MARCH 1, 2020 OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART ESSAYS BY BRADLEY SUMRALL RICHARD MCCABE RAMELL ROSS MAJOR SPONSOR BELGER FOUNDATION SUPPORTING SPONSOR ROGER OGDEN & KEN BARNES THE SCHLEY FAMILY FOUNDATION HOST COMMITTEE SHELBY COBB CAROLYN & JERRY FORTINO MONICA ANN FROIS & EVE BARRIE MASINTER MIKE GOODRICH SANDRA B. HELLER STUART B. HURT SHARON & GUS KOPRIVA DALE A. MOTT & KENNETH P. HYLE, JR. SHERRY OWENS KAREN & CAMERON REZAI HOLLY & GEOFFREY P. SNODGRASS

COVER: HOUSE AND CAR, NEAR AKRON, © 1978 WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY


MEMORY IS A STRANGE BELL

THE ART OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY


“MEMORY IS A STRANGE BELL – JUBILEE AND KNELL.” - EMILY DICKINSON, 1882 No other artist in the American South engaged more deeply and consistently with the concepts of time, place and memory through their art than William Christenberry. Memory is a Strange Bell: The Art of William Christenberry takes its direction from a line of Emily Dickinson – often quoted by Mr. Christenberry – to explore the role of remembrance and the passage of time in the artist’s work. Christenberry’s love of poetry has long been established, and his work is filled with the influence of American free verse masters such as Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams. When Walker Evans first encountered Christenberry’s small Brownie prints of Hale County, Alabama, he described them as “perfect little poems.” This exhibition not only traces the trajectory of Christenberry’s career through style and medium in his studio practice, but also conveys his poetic voice throughout his work. Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1936, William Christenberry had deep familial and cultural ties to Hale County – a place made famous through the writing of James Agee and the photographs of Walker Evans in the book,“Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” After studying painting and sculpture at the University of Alabama, Christenberry lived briefly in New York City and then in Memphis before settling in Washington, D.C. in 1968. As an artist, his work moved easily from Abstract Expressionism to figurative realism and had strong connections to Pop Art and documentary photography. Although widely known as a pioneering master of color photography as an art form, Christenberry was a multifaceted artist – engaging painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, found object assemblage, printmaking and installations, to weave a deeply personal narrative with universal relevance. As an educator, he was a well-respected teacher, lecturer and mentor to hundreds of students at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. For half a century, Christenberry made annual pilgrimages home to Hale County, documenting the landscape, signage and vernacular architecture transformed by the passage of time. Through a focused examination of particular structures – the Palmist Building, the Green Warehouse, the Abandoned House Near Montgomery – Christenberry created mythic symbols of a changing culture and very personal symbols of a life lived fully. “They are not self-portraits,” he said, “but they are everything I know.” Through the poetic use of signifiers that permeate his body of work from the earliest objects to the last – the gourd tree to represent a connection to the land, unity and shared values; the Klan hood to represent hatred, evil and the darkest side of the human soul – Christenberry created a body of work that is both a celebration of all that the artist held sacred about his native South, and a condemnation of the worst parts of the culture. -3-


A writer and man-of-letters from Greensboro, Alabama, Randall Curb, first made the connection between Christenberry and poet, William Carlos Williams, in his brilliant 1999 article published in Oxford American, “The Literate Art of William Christenberry.” In his essay, he draws connections between Christenberry’s work and authors such as Eudora Welty (herself a great photographer), William Faulkner, James Agee and others – all great influences on Christenberry. It is his comparison with Williams, though, that explains so much of Christenberry’s ability to elevate simple vernacular tableaus or objects to mythic icons of place with such economy. What Christenberry draws from the modernist and imagist movements in poetry is a precision of imagery expressed in clear, crisp language. Take House and Car, Near Akron, Alabama, 1978, for example. By framing these objects in his camera lens, capturing the image, printing the photo and giving it a title – Christenberry elevates this simple house and beat-up old car into the lofty realm of art. Like Williams’ famed red wheelbarrow from “Poem XXII” – so much/depends/upon/a red wheel/barrow/glazed with rain/water/beside the white/chickens – Christenberry tells the viewer that “so much depends on the blue car beside the white house.” Williams tells a story – complete with lighting, action, time and place – in the space of a single sentence. The line-breaks slow the reader to contemplate the importance of each word. In the end, the reader is left with the yellow light, saturated color and fresh smell of that moment after the rain has ended. Christenberry uses that same precision in his photographs, to the same effect. While Williams never tells the viewer why so much depends on the red wheelbarrow, the viewer can glean why so much depends on the blue car by placing it in context with Christenberry’s life’s work. Both car and house – and ultimately his own shadow – become appositive images to the passage of time. With each captured image, Christenberry is saving the landscape of his youth, both natural and man-made, from the passing of seasons and the entropy of oxidation and decay. Yet, by returning each year, and photographing the same places, he is documenting more than the object or moment – he is capturing time itself. Even the untrained eye, perhaps especially the untrained eye, can see in these images Christenberry’s love of Hale County – the land, its vernacular structures and the people that built them during the hardscrabble period of the Great Depression. Even the very soil, the red earth, takes on sacred tones in his sculptures and images. However, Christenberry was deeply aware that there was another side, a darker side to his landscape, his culture – and as he would find out – his very history. The image of the Klan hood appeared in Christenberry’s work after he sought out a Klan meeting as a curious young man. The encounter haunted -4-


the rest of his life. He slowly developed a body of work to deal with that evil and the terror it manifested, to work it out within himself through his art. “As a Southerner, as a human being (let’s leave it that way), again how could I, how can I, not at least, albeit one time privately, come to grips with the racism, the darkness,” Christenberry explained. “I think, I believe, I know that the hooded head form, and what it represents, what that organization represents, is the most terrifying and the most terrible thing in mankind’s history anywhere and in any country. And it hurts terribly.” In 1962, the first Klan hood appeared in his drawings. That work developed into tough large-scale mixed-media paintings such as Hate I and Hate II, which were shown at Memphis’ Brooks Memorial Art Gallery in 1963. These were shocking paintings to an audience who had only recently embraced Abstract Expressionism. Using art to tackle social justice issues, especially the Klan, was new and disturbing to many of the supporters of Southern art museums. Despite much criticism, controversy and censorship scandal, Christenberry continued to explore the subject with Initiation in 1964. He eventually built a large-scale installation known as the Klan Tableau, which was stolen from his studio in 1979. The theft shook Christenberry – and his wife and children – to the core. Initially believing it was the Klan that had stolen it, he began to have dreams in which the hood and house forms merged. In his work, this merger – of the symbol of shelter with the symbol of hate – manifested in his Dream Building and K-House series. Although the original Klan Tableau was never found, he rebuilt it, exhibiting it several times – always to controversy. “Some people have told me that this subject is not the proper concern of the artist or of art. On the contrary,” he said, “I hold the position that there are times when an artist must examine and reveal such strange and secret brutality.” Although the Klan hood is an image that permeates Christenberry’s body of work – a dark and haunting evil – there is another form that repeats from the earliest drawings to the last – a symbol of unity and shared values. This object stands apart in Christenberry’s vocabulary of icons – both of the landscape and in it, both natural and man-made. It is an object that has always crossed the boundaries of race and economics in the deep South ever since it was universally adapted from the Indigenous Peoples. It is the gourd tree. A gourd tree is a house for a migrating bird called a Purple Martin. Farmers hang dried gourds on a pole to attract this bird to make its home on their land from the spring through the summer. “It’s good for them because one Purple Martin is known to eat around 2,000 mosquitoes a day,” Christenberry explained. “I’ve seen gourd trees on abandoned television antennas, I’ve seen them on clotheslines, and I’ve seen them on fences.” -5-


The gourd tree is both vernacular architecture and natural object. It represents hard work, reliability, purpose and connection to the land. To me, it is the most hopeful of Christenberry’s symbols. The gourd tree first appears in the earliest abstract drawings. It has been the subject of every camera he used. He created many sculptures which included a gourd tree element. In the final years of his life, the gourd tree was a key element of his Southern Trees series. These final, minimal and abstracted drawings in ink or pencil at the end of his life are some of the most elegant and lyrical works of his career. It is hard to say how future generations will view Christenberry’s work, although I feel confident they will view it. Can a generation detached from his historical context understand this work as a poetic meditation on place, or will they see only nostalgia? Once the last remnants of the landscape of Christenberry’s youth have fallen to the ravages of time, will these images be viewed simply as historical documents? I posit that they will not. By looking inward to the love he had for this one place, to the pride he found in the most humble structures, as well as the shame of the most evil actions – Christenberry crafted an epic visual poem of one place understood fully. His art will not only stand testament to the masterful hand of its maker, but will serve as cultural memory. “Memory is a Strange Bell – Jubilee and Knell.” Bradley Sumrall Curator of the Collection Ogden Museum of Southern Art

GOURD TREE NEAR AKRON, ALABAMA, 1981, DYE-TRANSFER PRINT, PRINTED 1981, EXHIBITION PRINT, 16 X 20 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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EGG CARTON CROSS, HALE COUNTY, ALABAMA, 1975, DYE-TRANSFER, PRINTED 1981, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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FIRST DRAWING AFTER EYE OPERATION, 1960, PENCIL ON PAPER, 16.5 X 13.625 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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GOURD TREE, 1961, COLORED PENCIL ON PAPER, 16.5 X 13.5 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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FRUIT STAND, 1963, OIL ON CANVAS, 68 X 166.5 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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FRUIT STAND, SIDEWALK, MEMPHIS, TENN., 1966, DYE TRANSFER PRINT, PRINTED 1981, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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HEAD, 1960, OIL PASTEL AND PENCIL ON PAPER, 11.25 X 9 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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FIGURE, 1959, MIXED MEDIA AND COLLAGE ON PAPER, 11.625 X 8.875 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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ADVERTISEMENT, 1964, MIXED MEDIA WALL CONSTRUCTION, 59 X 33 X 8 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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CONSTRUCTION DRAWING I, 1967, ACRYLIC AND CHARCOAL ON PAPER MOUNTED ON CANVAS, 45.75 X 30.5 INCHES, COURTESY OF BELGER FOUNDATION

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DAUPHIN ISLAND, ALA., 1974, POLAROID SX-70 PRINT, 4.2 X 3.5 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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THE NORTH STAR When music legend Johnny Cash passed away in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine asked Bob Dylan to share some thoughts on his friend. “In plain terms, Johnny was the North Star; you could guide your ship by him – the greatest of the greats then and now.” Within the context of Southern art, it could be said that William Christenberry is the embodiment of the North Star – illuminating the way and providing guidance toward greatness for generations of artists working in the South and beyond. Over the last 50 years, no other artist has captured the gestalt of the American South through their art like William Christenberry. With a studio-practice that includes photography, drawing, painting and sculpture – Christenberry is a renaissance man whose visual narrative has helped define the region to a national and international audience. The shadow Christenberry casts within the genre of Southern photography is particularly profound. He pioneered the use and acceptance of color within fine-art photography. His simple, eloquent, formal compositions recognize the extraordinary in the ordinary through long-term, time-based projects documenting a singular, yet changing place. These concepts, pioneered by Christenberry, are now standard-fare within contemporary photography. Most of all, it is his innovative use of the camera as a tool for storytelling that has inspired a new generation of photographers working in the American South. The Green Warehouse, the Palmist Building, the Bar-B-Q Inn and the Sprott Church are touchstones within the lexicon of his visual language and have become classics in the pantheon of Southern art. Throughout his career, Christenberry has experimented with and utilized multiple camera formats, photographic processes, materials and techniques. Although the photographic technologies employed by the artist have evolved and changed over the arc of his career, a central focus on the landscape and vernacular architecture of Hale County, Alabama remained constant. The storied power-center of Southern art and literature – Hale County – has been muse to Walker Evans, James Agee, The Rural Studio, RaMell Ross and Andrew Moore. Artists, architects, writers, filmmakers and photographers have made and continue to produce work inspired by the mythology and reality of this particular place located in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In Christenberry’s art, Hale County resonates with themes of memory, familial connections to the land and a strong sense of place and time. Memory is a Strange Bell: The Art of William Christenberry explores over 40 years of Christenberry’s photographic career. The exhibition divides the artist’s photographic work into three categories based on the era in which the photographs were made and the camera-type: 1960s - 70s, Kodak - 17 -


Brownie; 1970s, Polaroid SX70; and 1970s - 2000s, Deardorff 8”x10” view camera. The three categories or stages of his photographic work are examined within the context of the artist’s relationship with his mentor, Walker Evans, as well as the influence of William Eggleston and Lee Friedlander, both colleagues and friends. The formal compositional elements of Walker Evans’ photographs of 1930s Hale County included in James Agee’s classic book, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” as well as his personal friendship with the photographer, has most singularly guided the direction and formal aesthetic of Christenberry’s photography. In the early 1960s, Evans was the first to recognize the gravity and power of Christenberry’s photographs as stand-alone art objects. He also encouraged the return to his Hale County roots as subject for his work. Small delicate objects, Christenberry’s early Brownie images of Hale County, remain as perhaps his most beloved photographs. In 1973, he and Evans traveled together to Hale County to retrace and re-photograph some of the sites Evans had photographed in the 1930s. With Christenberry as his guide, Evans photographed exclusively with a Polaroid SX70 camera – a camera that Christenberry would later take up and incorporate in his own studio practice. In the 1960s, while living and teaching in Memphis, Christenberry found a life-long friend and ally in William Eggleston. Together, they would go on to pave the way for the groundbreaking use of color within art photography in the 1970s. Christenberry would continue to photograph almost exclusively in color throughout his career. In the mid-1970s, photographer and friend, Lee Friedlander, encouraged Christenberry to begin working with a large-format view camera. The view camera allowed Christenberry to achieve a higher degree of detail and technical proficiency in his photographic prints. From the 1970s on, his primary tool was a Deardorff 8” x 10” view camera. With the large-format camera, he photographed many of the same subjects he captured with the Brownie camera. As the vernacular architecture captured with the Brownie camera began to disappear, he began concentrating more on the landscape of Hale County with the view camera. Being recognized as a seminal figure in 20th century photography was a source of amusement for William Christenberry. For the most part he was a self-taught photographer who took up the camera out of necessity to make preliminary sketches for his paintings. He was never interested in the darkroom or printing his own work. Photography was a means to an end, another medium in his studio arsenal. Perhaps Christenberry’s naivety of the complex workings of the photographic process is one of the factors that make his work so endearing. With a simple and honest approach, Christenberry captured the beauty and richness of the American South. He also bravely examined a dark side of Southern culture through his focused look at the Ku Klux Klan. - 18 -


Authenticity is a virtue sought by those who seek truth. The art of William Christenberry achieves authenticity by making invisible emotions visible: his love of place, the gravity of memory, his desire to understand from whence he came. A rare commodity in today’s art world, authenticity cannot be faked; it is immediately recognizable, and should be celebrated. It is this honesty, this authenticity that – much like the songs of Johnny Cash – continues to inspire and attract subsequent generations. Through a focused examination of self and the place that sustained him, Christenberry created a body of highly personal work that is universal in its relevance. He provided a guiding light, a set of directional coordinates for artists that follow. In contemporary photography’s journey to define a sense of place and time, to explore myth and memory, or even to face evil in our midst, Christenberry is the true North Star. Richard McCabe Curator of Photography Ogden Museum of Southern Art

CHURCH, SPROTT, AL, 1971, DYE-TRANSFER, PRINTED 2003, AP V, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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TOP LEFT: WARSAW, ALA, AUG. 1974, POLAROID SX-70 PRINT, 4.2 X 3.5 INCHES TOP RIGHT: CUBA, ALA, AUG. 1974, POLAROID SX-70 PRINT, 4.2 X 3.5 INCHES BOTTOM LEFT: HULLS, ALA, 1974, POLAROID SX-70 PRINT, 4.2 X 3.5 INCHES BOTTOM RIGHT: MCINTOSH, ALA, 1974, POLAROID SX-70 PRINT, 4.2 X 3.5 INCHES THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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GHOST FORM, 1994, MIXED MEDIA SCULPTURE WITH HALE COUNTY RED CLAY, 16.75 X 34 X 20 INCHES, OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART, GIFT OF THE ROGER H. OGDEN COLLECTION, 2003.1.86

ABANDONED HOUSE IN FIELD (VIEW III), NEAR MONTGOMERY, AL, 1971, CHROMOGENIC PRINT, 3.25 X 5 INCHES, OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART, GIFT OF THE ROGER H. OGDEN COLLECTION, 2003.1.85

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CORN SIGN WITH STORM CLOUD, NEAR GREENSBORO, ALABAMA, 1977, DYE-TRANSFER, PRINTED 1990, ED. 12/25, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

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GREEN WAREHOUSE, NEWBERN, AL, 1973, DYE-TRANSFER, PRINTED 1981, ED. 5/25, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

BAR-B-Q INN, GREENSBORO, ALABAMA, 1971, DYE-TRANSFER, PRINTED 1990, APIV, 8 X 10 INCHES, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY, COURTESY OF HEMPHILL FINE ARTS

PALMIST BUILDING, WINTER VIEW, HAVANA JUNCTION, AL, DYE-TRANSFER PRINT, 1981, 20 X 24 INCHES, OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART, GIFT OF THE ROGER H. OGDEN COLLECTION, 2003.1.87

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DREAM BUILDING BLUE AND GOLD, 2001, SCREEN PRINT OVER ULTRA-LIGHT PARTICLE BOARD, 59 X 10 X 10, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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EXTRA FAMILIAR COMPLETENESS A William Christenberry image often maintains a quality of the ever postponed. It might sink into itself, its background gone into a funny familiarity. “You’ve seen me before” it exudes: the church, the barn, a car and a house, a sign or a collection of them, sometimes photographed many times with years in between. An image will generate a faux-memory; maybe it was seen on the calendar in that auto repair car garage, maybe in the anthology you skimmed or as décor in that hotel walkway, it could have been in the background of that TV show. You indistinctly feel it is an image you might take, or notice. Some of them even manage to be immanently historic, a disruption of our under-acknowledged carbon dating sense. Christenberry’s long-standing urge to document is secondary to a deeper pursuit, one operatively aligned with the treks of wildlife across vast terrains of land and sea, commanded by such a strong internal force as to not be commanded at all. While sometimes his images are strictly topographical records, he seems simultaneously after the invisible photograph, the extreme possibility for an image to paradoxically camouflage its form. He is no more satisfied with that final image than an astrophysicist is ultimately after the Hubble telescope’s two-dimensional approximation of a distant star cluster. Christenberry returns and returns again to the same coordinates. He is charting something intangible, using images in the guise of commercial objects and depictions of landscape as measurements. His pictures sometimes settle, without fuss, in an extra familiar completeness. America. “I’ve seen you before,’’ you feel, passively. It is irrelevant how or where. Ah, the sensorial tease of free will, the stage from which the educational reflection on the curation of our own imaginations is lost to the expanse of choice. For the American South, we draw on a Walker Evans printed, William Christenberry dyed coloring book. One time through and it is clear that with one hand, artists and craftspeople implement the world. They give concepts, words and sentiments a recognizable body, material form, something for people to bump against. And with their other hand, they reverse this order of creation and furnish our intuition. Some of Christenberry’s sculptures are made in the mechanic tradition of photographic reproduction. Often photographed too, they are meant to twin the real structures that enliven and entomb their often - Hale County coordinates. Christenberry gives his memory the tools and permission of a forger. A memory that might seek a material immortality. To hold and behold in reality, and collect dust. A memory that seeks to be subject to - 25 -


the eyes and mind of time at another scale. These sculptures clone the object and site of feelings from single cells of experience; they desire to be accurate and portable, to travel the earth and escape the context and environment of their origin, to moonlight as born again. The capacity for much of Christenberry’s compositions and formulations to steadily refuse foreignness, that they quietly persist as universal factoids, sometimes transformed, sometimes in mime, reveals much of the cultural work they perform. It is his output’s clarity of identity that largely accounts for its power. He situates the vernacular aesthetics of the landscape and architecture at the center of his practice, while avoiding all people and the overtly loaded cultural codification of their skin. Christenberry, resistant to the blinding stimulus of good intention, does not leverage his social status to directly represent minority communities. Without this belief in the exploration of marginalized communities for personal growth, and in turn, artistic capital, the energy of his efforts compound, crystallizing as the pure aesthetic counterpoint to slang. Without deep consideration, we know the ununified existence of slang riddles the American South. Born as friction’s natural resource from the drag of disenfranchisement, slang finds form in county road sermons and children’s names. It is shaped into tire yard structures and nail art designs. It is choreographed handshakes and step routines, steeped wild, calm and in ruckus, tucked in warm-ups, and of beads of sweat above glares galore; it appears in jest, in spite, innate and enacted. Slang contorts in the organic manner of particle bonding across the fertile-soiled Black Belt. Slang appears right up to the edges of William Christenberry’s oeuvre. It lingers there, peering in from the contours of his practice while in reverence of and camaraderie with, its other half. Christenberry’s myopic focus on his gaze and personal and historic roots to the region resolves into a singular inquisition, that, when it soars, is capable of distilling the embraced-horror of his close relative’s Ku Klux Klan membership into work transcending the ‘is it a critique’/’is it reifying’ dichotomy to mingle near the ineffable societal contributions that expand our awareness of the psyche’s complexity and moral flexibility. His Klan room, its paraphernalia, sculptures and images, as a whole and in each individual piece, are rigorous studies that arrive without anger or hate, sensationalization or fantasy. They appear to emerge from a pure obsession and fear. Christenberry is haunted. Perhaps obsession and fear of the terrific reflection of a potential self. Who could get as close to this subject, dream it without schizophrenia and paranoia? Not I. Who could get as close to the humid and stale and hooved events of all the cotton darkness to photograph, other than someone who the Klan considered a - 26 -


potential ally, a potential convert, a potential brother in arms. Not I. One must ask: what separates William Christenberry from those members? How is he immune to the drug of bigotry? The bound and inevitable muteness of his images, the chronic Christianity of his Klan sculptures, ahhhhhhh, to be an American. Once viewed, encountered after the bounty of his other work, his faithful return to his Klan interest unearths a startling truth. All of his work references the Klan. The barns they met in, the houses for family dinner, a road patrolled, the landscape that oxidizes their ideological fire. Our American South. Christenberry does not romanticize, and instead measures and charts and manufactures and enlist these mediums to usher that feeling of completeness, normal and uncanny in familiarity, absent of the perspectivalism of slang. His identity slips away. Translucent now, his gaze pictures and relays the undramatic content of the historic South. No bull’s-eye. You do not notice they are without pretension. You do not notice they are not mercurial or stylized. They are pre-existing observations, banal and obvious, inextricable from time. Their psychic prods stand still, listening to the minute hands on the artists and craft-folks’ clocks. RaMell Ross American artist

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PAGES 28 AND 29: K-HOUSES, 1996, INK ON PAPER, 5.75 X 4 INCHES EACH, THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHRISTENBERRY

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INITIATION, 1964, OIL ACRYLIC, COLLAGE ELEMENTS AND TAR ON CANVAS, 102 X 132.5 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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SELF PORTRAIT, 1959, PENCIL ON PAPER, 16.325 X 13.75 INCHES, COURTESY OF THE BELGER FOUNDATION

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Memory is a Strange Bell: The Art of William Christenberry  

Memory is a Strange Bell: The Art of William Christenberry