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"The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and Sonic Impulse"

Boomer Magazine

by Annie Tobey

The newest exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts explores and celebrates the culture of African Americans in the South. The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse highlights Black visual art, music, and video, melding the media in a feast for the senses. By transporting the viewer into the African American experience, The Dirty South exhibition at Richmond’s VMFA makes Black joy, tenacity, and sorrow more accessible and understandable.

As a white woman who has been working to learn the fullness of the American experience, I found The Dirty South to be both educational and emotional. The diversity of media and genre in the exhibition and the import of its message encouraged a slow, deliberate perusal of the displays. The background of issues over the past year – and beyond – imbued the message with an even greater meaning.


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