I just posted two obituaries, both available on-line, of two female blues singers that were among the twenty-four pictured in my work, Blues Chapel. I created the piece last spring for Artista Vista, an annual art gallery festival in the downtown area of Columbia known as the Vista (our city's arts and cultural district). The installation was asked to the Sumter Gallery of Art for my first solo show in a "real" museum setting. This was held during the month of July. (Photo on top at right. A mini-video is available of this installation on MySpace, link at right!)
The photo on the lower left is the work in my studio for Artista Vista. Only sixteen of the twenty-four images are visible from this vantage point. Black theater curtains blocked all the other walls, focusing attention on the grouping. Ruth Brown is on the top row, second image seen from the left. Anita O'Day is in the same column in the bottom row. At this time, these two singers and KoKo Taylor (top row, first picture on left) were still alive. The past week or so changed things. O'Day and Brown have passed on.
As these events were unfolding, I was making arrangements for the group to be on view at Mac's on Main, a popular jazz club in Columbia. This will occur for Black History Month, all of February. I will meet with the owner to decide hanging location, lighting, and publicity tomorrow. I haven't decided whether to add the death dates or just let the group reflect the time at which I created the artwork. I'll think about it. I'd like to do what would be most respectful to the singers. I just don't know what that might be.