When one hears that a book has been banned by a local board of education or from a local library, the natural assumption is that it must have been obscene or so gross or grotesque to warrant that action. Wrong! Works by authors such as Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck and similar leading literary lights have all earned that distinction at one time or another. Even the popular children’s book “Captain Underpants” ( a fav among grade schoolers) is coming under fire now. Captain Underpants may be silly, but certainly not obscene or lewd in any way; and hey, it gets kids WANTING to read!
This is why this week, September 21-27, has been declared Banned Book Week by the American Library Association. You may think this has little to do with the Visual Arts—but you would be wrong. The Corvidae Collective, located in the Arcade in downtown Nashville is currently hosting an exhibition called LIT, which features artwork inspired by popular books which have been banned by those who are seeking to protect us from ourselves, or perhaps just don’t like the political message a book contains. Lest we forget, in Nazi Germany, first they burned the books and then they burned the Jews; now, just the other day, even writing the truth about ISIL on Facebook earned an Arab woman torture and death in Iraq. That is why we have a First Amendment; free speech and a free press are the first line of defense against tyranny. This art exhibition celebrates that right.
Located at No. 11 in the Arcade, located between fourth and fifth avenues north in downtown, the Corvidae Collective is featuring works by artists Heather Nevay (Glasgow, United Kingdom), Terry Montimore (Philadelphia, PA), Alexis Witherspoon (Grand Junction, CO), Dina D’Argo (Nashville, TN), Megan Kelley (Nashville), John Yandall (Nashville), Mandy Peiz Moody (Nashville), Kay Meadows (Nashville) Amy Pragnell (Nashville) Jeff Bertrand (Nashville) Stevie Bailey (Nashville) Alex Lee (Nashville) and Judah Noah (Nashville).
Some of the paintings include Yanall’s painting “Catch 22” (inspired by Joseph Heller’s anti-war novel); Terry Montimore’s interpretation of “Catcher in the Rye;” Jeff Bertrand’s rendition of “A Clockwork Orange” rendered in mixed media on wood; as well as Megan Kelley’s take on Earnest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.”
This Saturday, September 27, the gallery will be hosting a special event in concert with the show and Banned Book Week. So you are all invited to come down to the Arcade this Saturday from 3:30-5:30 pm to meet the local artists responsible for the compelling works in our “LIT” exhibition. All artworks are based on banned or challenged books of classic literature and those books will be available to browse through in the gallery and there may be some readings as well. This would be a good time to take in the exhibit, since it closes October 1.
So support the arts and come on down; you may even something you like and buy it. You never know.