Alan LeQuire: Nashville Public Library January 23 - May 31, 2009 Cultural Heroes
A note about the artist <ul><li>Nashville artist Alan LeQuire is perhaps best known for his Athena Parthenos , the largest indoor sculpture in the western world, permanently installed in Nashville’s Parthenon. His work was chosen to be part of the permanent art chosen for Nashville Public Library, and his six bronze doors with friezes form the main entrance to the library. </li></ul><ul><li>A figurative sculptor who has become well-known for his public commissions and for his sensitive portraiture, LeQuire achieved his training through the traditional method of a series of apprenticeships both in Europe and the United States at a time when figurative art had fallen out of favor in American academic institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>LeQuire works in virtually all sculpture materials, both direct carving and casting in his own foundry. </li></ul>
(1895 – 1937) Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bessie Smith began as a street performer and became one of the most successful vaudeville artists of the 1920s. Her recordings have had a tremendous influence on many blues and jazz artists. Bessie Smith Bessie Smith By Alan LeQuire Painted plaster
(1915 – 1959) One of the greatest jazz vocalists of the twentieth century, Billie Holiday faced many hardships throughout her life. She was one of the first black female singers to work with a white orchestra and to perform at Carnegie Hall. Billie Holiday Billie Holiday By Alan LeQuire Painted plaster
(1912 – 1967) A prolific writer and performer, Woody Guthrie was a folk singer who transformed the ballad into a vehicle for social protest. He traveled the country during the Depression singing and writing about the hardships endured by poor people and migrant workers. Woody Guthrie Woody Guthrie By Alan LeQuire Painted plaster
(1888 – 1949) Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly , was a musical virtuoso, a dynamic performer, and a prolific song writer. While in prison in Louisiana he was "discovered" by John and Alan Lomax who recorded him for the Library of Congress. His vast songbook has remained an important resource and inspiration for many subsequent artists. Lead Belly Lead Belly By Alan LeQuire Painted plaster
(1898 – 1976) Despite the racism he fought throughout his life, Paul Robeson was a successful scholar, athlete, singer, actor, and social activist. His courage fighting against bigotry and inequality was an example for the civil rights activists of the 1960s. Paul Robeson Paul Robeson By Alan LeQuire Painted plaster
Artist Statement <ul><li>One of my favorite places is the Cluny Museum in Paris. Inside are displayed the heads of the kings of France which were broken off the façade of Notre Dame during the French Revolution and rediscovered during the 1970s. These large-than-life stone heads are so beautiful and are displayed in such an ethereal setting that they continue to affect me now, years after I first encountered them. </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to create something myself which would have a similar effect and presence. I am not interested in mythological subject matter, but instead, real people whose art succeeded despite obstacles. I began to compile a list of personal artist role models. </li></ul><ul><li>These are the first five of an ongoing series of colossal portrait heads, which I call Cultural Heroes. I experimented with various ways of handling the material (clay), always with the intent to make the material and its treatment at least as important as the subject matter. </li></ul><ul><li> -- Alan LeQuire </li></ul>
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