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Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess celebrates George Gershwin's famed opera, as interpreted by visual artists since its creation. The exhibition includes a number of paintings from the 1930s era, including works by American regionalist George Biddle, who illustrated the original Porgy and Bess libretto in 1935. Beyond Catfish Row also includes paintings by Gershwin himself and works by American modernist Henry Botkin, who accompanied the composer to Charleston while he wrote the opera.
The 1930s works are paired with more recent interpretations by contemporary artists Kara Walker and Jonathan Green. One of the foremost artists addressing issues of race, class, and gender in America, Walker created a suite of twenty lithographs as illustrations for the Porgy and Bess libretto published in 2013. Green served as the visual designer contributing to costume and set design for the 2016 Spoleto Festival USA production of Porgy and Bess.