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Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess

May 28, 2016 - October 9, 2016

Gallery 9

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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.

<i>Gershwin's Cottage on the Beach</i>, 2014, by Jonathan Green (American, b. 1955); acrylic on archival mat board; Courtesy of Jonathan Green Studios

Gershwin's Cottage on the Beach, 2014, by Jonathan Green (American, b. 1955); acrylic on archival mat board; Courtesy of Jonathan Green Studios

<i>Porgy and Bess, Embracing</i>, 2013, by Kara Walker (American, b. 1969); lithograph on paper; 15 x 18 inches; Museum purchase; 2015.005.0005

Porgy and Bess, Embracing, 2013, by Kara Walker (American, b. 1969); lithograph on paper; 15 x 18 inches; Museum purchase; 2015.005.0005

<i>Porgy and Bess with George, Near Folly Island</i>, 1934, by Henry Botkin (American, 1896-1983); watercolor and ink on paper; 16 1/2 x 19 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1988.011.0002

Porgy and Bess with George, Near Folly Island, 1934, by Henry Botkin (American, 1896-1983); watercolor and ink on paper; 16 1/2 x 19 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1988.011.0002

<i>Porgy and Moon</i> from <i>Porgy and Bess</i> the libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, illustrated by Kara Walker (American, b. 1969), 2013; published by Arion Press; Museum purchase; 2015.005.0001

Porgy and Moon from Porgy and Bess the libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, illustrated by Kara Walker (American, b. 1969), 2013; published by Arion Press; Museum purchase; 2015.005.0001

<i>Cabbage Row</i>, 1928, by Alfred Hutty (American, 1877-1954); etching on paper; 11 3/8 x 15 1/8 inches; Gift of Mrs. Alfred Hutty; 1955.007.0046

Cabbage Row, 1928, by Alfred Hutty (American, 1877-1954); etching on paper; 11 3/8 x 15 1/8 inches; Gift of Mrs. Alfred Hutty; 1955.007.0046

<i>Church Street Amusements</i>, 1930, by George Biddle (American, 1885-1973); watercolor and ink on paper; 15 1/4 x 11 inches; Museum purchase; 1985.027.0001

Church Street Amusements, 1930, by George Biddle (American, 1885-1973); watercolor and ink on paper; 15 1/4 x 11 inches; Museum purchase; 1985.027.0001

<i>The Battery, Evening</i>, 1931; by George Biddle (American, 1885-1973); oil on canvas; 26 1/2 x 26 1/2 inches; Museum purchase; 1999.002

The Battery, Evening, 1931; by George Biddle (American, 1885-1973); oil on canvas; 26 1/2 x 26 1/2 inches; Museum purchase; 1999.002