In Hale County, Alabama, Two Visions of Place

In Hale County, Alabama, Two Visions of Place

The New York Times

By Siddhartha Mitter
January 12, 2023

[Hale County] is where William Christenberry, who grew up in nearby Tuscaloosa with roots in the county, returned each summer for four decades, beginning in the 1960s, making quiet images of desolate buildings in landscape that have become photography canon.

RaMell Ross is Hale County’s latest visual chronicler and, as he puts it, “liberated documentarian.” He moved to Greensboro, Ala., in 2009 and lived there continuously for three years, teaching in a G.E.D. program, coaching basketball and photographing. Though now a professor at Brown University, he has made the county a long-term home and the fulcrum of his art projects.

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William Christenberry Studio Tours

William Christenberry Studio Tours

Saturday, October 8, 2022, and Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 1:30-2:30PM

Local non-profit, District Bridges Cleveland Park is hosting a fundrasing event featuring a chance to win the rare opportunity for a guided tour of Bill Christenberry’s Cleveland Park studio.

William Christenberry Acquisition: National Gallery of Art

William Christenberry Acquisition: National Gallery of Art

HEMPHILL is pleased to share the acquisition of William Christenberry's Memory Form II by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

William Christenberry (1936–2016) is best known for his artistic exploration of place, in particular the Black Belt region of Alabama, where he spent his childhood in Hale County. Working in a wide variety of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and assemblage, Christenberry focused on architecture, abandoned structures, and nature, and he studied the psychology and effects of place and memory. The National Gallery of Art has acquired the sculpture Memory Form II (1997–1998), a gift from Stephen Bennett Phillips in honor of Sandra Deane Christenberry, the artist’s widow.

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Ways of Seeing: Buildings and Monuments

Ways of Seeing: Buildings and Monuments

Birmingham Museum of Art: October 5, 2020 - March 14, 2021

“This show is also connecting Alabama artists to our global collection. William Christenberry is a perfect example of that. ‘Ways of Seeing: Buildings and Monuments’ shows his work alongside the work of a number of other artists who aren’t as connected to Alabama.

In that sculpture, Christenberry is expressing his feelings about Alabama and Hale County in general. I think this show is an interesting place to think about our very local context in Birmingham and our local context in the state of Alabama right now, through art which is exciting.”

– Kate Crawford, Curator of American Art, Birmingham Museum of Art

Read "Ways of Seeing" connects Alabama + worldwide artists — why we're drawn to it here.

Click here to learn more about Ways of Seeing: Buildings and Monuments.

"In the Galleries," Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post, December 11, 2020.

"In the Galleries," Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post, December 11, 2020.

William Christenberry's 2020 exhibition at HEMPHILL was reviewed by Mark Jenkins for The Washington Post.

"Like Warhol, Christenberry pondered consumer products, although with an emphasis on regional brands. A battered sign for Tops Snuff is the subject of three silk-screens, their printing roughened with sand and coffee grounds."

Read "In the Galleries: Perspectives on blending culture and identity" here.  

William Christenberry, Exhibition – VIDEO

William Christenberry, Exhibition – VIDEO

Created in conjunction with the William Christenberry exhibition at HEMPHILL, this video surveys the three sculptures featured in the show; "Night Spot," "Roadside Tableaux," and "Southern Monument XXII."

Artist: William Christenberry
Copyright: HEMPHILL Artworks
Photography & Video Editing: Hannah Davis
Music: As I Am - composed and performed by Kate Amrine on flugelhorn
Elegy - composed by Jessica Rudman, performed by Kate Amrine on trumpet
Both pieces are featured on Kate's first album As I Am
For more information about the composers please visit jessicarudman.com/ and kateamrine.com/
Photo by Jerry Siegel (jerry@jerrysiegel.com)

View on Vimeo

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

For Six Decades, William Christenberry Captured The Ramshackle Vernacular Of The South

02/21/2020

by Zachary Fine, Art in America 

35 Days

35 Days

In the galleries: A colorful survey of Washington artists

July, 29, 2017

Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post

35 Days is "a museum-worthy survey of D.C. art."

35 Days

35 Days

35 Days

June 24, 2017

Stephanie Rudig, Washington City Paper

"This isn’t just a Color School roundup, however: The show includes artists deploying color to completely different ends, like the trippy pattern-based work of Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, as well as some varying landscape photography artists like Anne Rowland and William Christenberry."

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

William Christenberry at Hemphill Fine Arts, Reviewed

July 3, 2015

Kriston Capps, Washington City Paper

"Grace and rot are twinned in Christenberry’s photos."

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

Artist Spotlight: William Christenberry

June 21, 2015

Clarissa Wittenberg, District Journal

"This is not really an art review; this is a reverence, an adoration."

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

William Christenberry at Hemphill

June 12, 2015

Caroline Jones, Washington City Paper

"In his latest show at Hemphill, viewers will be able to see the South as its cities have evolved from quiet streets dotted with retro cars to major urban centers over the course of Christenberry’s career."

William Christenberry

William Christenberry

After a lifetime of capturing what was, Christenberry faces what is

June 11, 2015

Neely Tucker, The Washington Post

"The show features 26 pieces, from his iconic large-format photographs of fading Southern buildings to the smaller snapshots made with his legendary Kodak Brownie."

REPRESENT

REPRESENT

At Hemphill Fine Arts, a retrospective show that's bigger than the gallery

November 15, 2013

Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post

"Several mini-shows nestle within “Represent,” Hemphill Fine Arts’s 20th-anniversary exhibition."

William Christenberry: Assembled Memory

William Christenberry: Assembled Memory

Galleries: William Christenberry’s Southern roots show in ‘Assembled Memory’

October 4, 2012

Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post

"William Christenberry has lived in Washington for more than 40 years, but he still regularly sifts the soil of his childhood home, rural Alabama. The South nurtures, inspires and probably terrifies him, as it has other noted artists and writers from the region."

William Christenberry: Assembled Memory

William Christenberry: Assembled Memory

Reviewed: William Christenberry at Hemphill Fine Arts

September 12, 2012

Louis Jacobson, Washington City Paper

"Models of humble buildings covered in a layer of creamy white? Got ‘em. Ridiculously rusted road signs? Yep. Detailed images of KKK hoods? They’re here, too."

Viewing Rm.

Viewing Rm.

"Viewing Rm." at Hemphill Fine Arts

February 4, 2011

Louis Jacobson, Washington City Paper

"The exhibit is variegated, but like any good combine painting (and those are included too) it coheres pretty well despite itself, as giants like Robert Rauschenberg mix with such local figures as Joseph Mills, Mingering Mike and Colby Caldwell."

Viewing Rm.

Viewing Rm.

Familiar favorites: Once more, with feeling

January 28, 2011

Jessica Dawson, The Washington Post

"Here hang big, striking works by Tom Downing and Jacob Kainen. Here, too, are precious works on paper by Al Jensen and Alma Thomas. That Eugene Atget picture of the taxidermist's vitrine? I'll take it."

William Christenberry: Vintage Kodak Brownies

William Christenberry: Vintage Kodak Brownies

William Christenberry's Kodak Brownie snapshots capture reality of South

February 14, 2010

Blake Gopnik, The Washington Post

"In the photos at Hemphill, you can almost feel the moment when Christenberry, on yet another trip home, spots a church or a Coke sign or a car that interests him, squares it up in his Brownie and snaps a record of it."

William Christenberry: Vintage Kodak Brownies

William Christenberry: Vintage Kodak Brownies

William Christenberry at Hemphill Fine Arts

February 5, 2010

Louis Jacobson, Washington City Paper

"Is there any visual artist whose work is shown more often in Washington galleries than William Christenberry’s? Probably not, yet seeing his 13-image exhibit at Hemphill Fine Arts, one has to admit his work usually merits another look."