Memphis Social Curatorial Statement

   ‘Memphis Social’ will be a unique event, mixing contemporary art and community, planned for Memphis, Tennessee, from May 10th through the 18th, 2013. 

   For up to date information about event times and venues, please visit our Facebook page at: 

  Beautiful Fields 

envisions an exhibition that encompasses both aesthetic and social concerns. Memphis remains a city with deep cultural resonance in both the national and international imagination.T

he transformative struggle for racial and economic equality in Memphis, and rich 

cultural traditions in the arts, especially in music, have designated the city as a world significant place. Our project will present artists and arts and social collectives that will creatively frame and present such topics as aesthetics, ethics and social engagement. 'Memphis Social' will invoke utopian vision, temporary architecture, social sculpture, and project-based community practice, addressing social formations such as pluralism and democracy that intend to inspire debate and catalyze community exchange.


   Beautiful Fields has secured the Marshall Arts Center in Memphis with the assistance of its founder Pinkney Herbert, as one  of the multiple venues projected for this event. We have also secured, Through Crosstown Arts, Memphis, a modernist ruin of a defunct Sears Distribution Center, formerly a major employer in Memphis. In the shell of the garage we will present artists’ projects in its existing bays. On the roof of the garage we are presenting a variety of social organization-based performances including a citywide “drum line” band competition. The downtown area of South Main St. near Beale St. is another significant locale intersecting both American musical history and the civil rights movement. The Hyde Gallery at the Memphis College of Art will be a focal point here. Nearby is the Lorraine Motel the location where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and which houses the American Civil Rights Museum. We will use this area’s empty lots and vacant commercial spaces to host arts and social collectives in a three–day opening event including a film series, a temporary radio station and a show of photography documenting 1950’s bohemian life in the American South. In the Binghampton neighborhood , will include the Caritas Community Center, a locale center servicing Memphis’ senior population. The Caritas space used to be a Masonic lodge and has a large hall with a proscenium stage. We will present a form of contemporary street dancing called “Memphis Jookin'” by U-Dig Dance Academy. This school services the youth of the community and hosts dance competitions.

   The show’s area-wide approach will allow for the various venues to mirror a multi-disciplinary approach toward ‘the social’. We have invited artists, both local and international, to participate with work that addresses the theme in lyrical and poetic ways that will augment the overall intent of the show.

Artists invited to participate include  Tracy Moffett, Greely Myatt, Virginia Overton, William Eggleston, Aviva Rahmani, Bullet Space Collective, David Sandlin,Kara Walker, Stewart Home, Mitch Epstein.Nancy Spero and Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook among many other artists and social organizations.