On view from December 9 through March 12.
Taking its name from the term used in rural agricultural communities to describe the summer period when farmers have completed their preparation of the crops and anxiously await the harvest, Laying-by Time: Revisiting the Works of William Christenberry is a survey of work of by the renowned artist that reflects on his upbringing in Hale County, Ala., and his yearly pilgrimages to the area to experience this quiet, yet restive period. The exhibition will be on display from Dec. 9 through March 12 at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Decker Gallery in the Fox Building, at 1301 W Mount Royal Avenue.
Though his work is heavily influenced by his experiences in Alabama, Laying-by Time features photography, paintings and sculpture that transcend the region.
“Great art is a creative prism through which we can consider our personal and collective experiences,” said Kimberly Gladfelter Graham, exhibition curator and MICA Curatorial Studies faculty. “William Christenberry’s masterful work allows us to relate to an important place and time in the shaping of our American story and to consider our personal choices in its continued unfolding.”
The work on view in Laying-by Time explores this American story, and is exemplified by the controversial and rarely exhibited Klan Room Tableau, a multimedia installation that is the artist’s response to the human capacity for hatred and violence that he believed was epitomized by the Ku Klux Klan. The installation features sketches, figurines, iconography, objects and dioramas that document the pervasiveness of the KKK in his home state.
More than a chronicle of the South’s dark history, Laying-by Time celebrates Southern culture while exposing its narratives of racial and social inequality as urgent and contemporary concerns of the entire country, not historical footnotes isolated to the South.
“It is an exploration of the microcosm to reveal the macrocosm, the specific and personal to reflect the general and universal,” Gladfelter Graham said. “Christenberry’s work offers a window through which we can consider our experiences and a nexus at which we can gather and to contemplate our past, present and future.”
For more information, visit mica.edu/laying-by_time.
Christenberry’s art spans painting, photography, sculpture and drawing, and he has received numerous honors and accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been exhibited at museums and academic institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; and Foundation Mapfre, Madrid; The Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; the University of Virginia; and Rice University, Houston. His work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, and others.
Support for the exhibition has been provided by the Maryland Humanities Council; the Brenda Brown-Lippitz Family Foundation, Baltimore, Maryland; and the John & Maxine Belger Foundation, Kansas City, Missouri.
MICA’s Decker Gallery in the Fox Building is located at 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD.