‘Southern Accent’ Is a Revolutionary Exploded Diagram of Southern Identity in Contemporary Art


Skylar Fein, “Black Flag (For Elizabeth’s)” (2008), wood, plaster, and acrylic, 43.5 x 72 x 1.25 inches, collection of Dathel and Tommy Coleman (courtesy the artist and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana, © Skylar Fein)

Proud to bring news of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University‘s revolutionary exhibit on the South in contemporary art to other parts of the country in this review for Hyperallergic. Southern Accent brought me into a direct confrontation with my own Southern-ness and biases, and it compelled me to tell my own story through the artworks, which, it strikes me, is a prime marker of a successful exhibit. You have until January to see it, but do go sooner rather than later so you can go again.

The HB 2 Issue

D1If you only read the INDY once in your life, make it this week’s very important issue. Our HB 2 special begins with a deep dive into the thirty years that got us here by the unparalleled Barry Yeoman, and then dials in on a wide array of perspectives and issues from Paul Blest, Lily Carollo,Hannah Pitstick, Abigaile Hoile (who is in high school, and scarily good at writing), Fred Hobson, Jane Porter, and Grayson Haver Currin. I’m proud of the very small hand I had in putting this together, and of the writers and photographers and designers who contributed so beautifully, but it was really Jeff Billman’s project, and my hat is off to him for putting so much vision, energy, leadership, and substance into anatomizing an issue as important and bewildering as HB 2. This is the INDY at its best.

INDY Week at the AAN Awards

WE’RE NUMBER TWO! WE’RE NUMBER TWO! (Except V.C. Rogers, who took home first place for cartooning.) This year, INDY Week did pretty good at the national AAN Awards in Austin, Texas, which Jeff and I just got back from; we won at least second place in all five categories in which we were nominated. Read the finalists and winning stories below:

ARTS FEATURE circulation under 45,000

First Place: Rap’s Poetic License: Revoked by Sam Lefebvre, East Bay Express

Second Place: Code Green by Brian Howe, INDY Week

Third Place: Best of Enemies by Chris McCoy, Memphis Flyer


MUSIC WRITING circulation under 45,000

First Place: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matt Stieb, San Antonio Current

Second Place: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Grayson Haver Currin, INDY Week

Third Place: We’ll Always Have Short Vine by Brian Baker, Cincinnati CityBeat

Honorable Mention: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Alex De Vore, Santa Fe Reporter


BEAT REPORTING circulation under 45,000

First Place: Farming, Sustainability and the Environment in Western NC (I; II; III; IV; V) by Carrie Eidson, Mountain Xpress

Second Place: Criminal Justice Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by John H. Tucker, INDY Week

Third Place: Cops and Courts (I; II; III; IV; V) by Mark Davis, Seven Days


ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 45,000

First Place: What Was Withheld; The Sonic Sweet Spot; and Oceanic Aspirations by Sarah Burke, East Bay Express

Second Place: Rite of Refusal;Identity Crisis; and Blackboard Shattering by Byron Woods, INDY Week

Third Place: Fifty Shades of Grey; Is Loving the Wrong Approach?; and I Thought I Might Find You Here by Eileen Townsend, Memphis Flyer

Honorable Mention: Jess T. Dugan’s Portraits Look Into You; Art in Odd Places; and The “Visual Anthropology” of Bayeté Ross Smith by Richard T. Reep, Orlando Weekly

CARTOON (listed alphabetically by last name)


First Place: V.C. Rogers, INDY Week (I; II; III; IV; V)

Second Place: Jen Sorensen, Jen Sorensen Comics (I; II; III; IV; V)

Third Place: Harry Bliss, Seven Days (I; II; III; IV; V)

James Blake in Hyperallergic


I’m pleased that my first piece about one of my favorite musicians, James Blake, is also my first piece for one of my favorite websites, Hyperallergic, with more to follow. In it, I exhume a bit of personal history through the obsidian idiosyncrasies of Blake’s superlative Overgrown and his new album, The Colour in Anything, all while trying to get at the elusive thing that makes his music stand out uncannily in a crowded field. Read it here.