Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace at Hudson River Museum
914-963-4550 hrm.org Ages: All Ages $5; $3 seniors/children 5-16 years old; free children ages 5 and younger
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Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace is the first major museum exhibition dedicated to this mid-career, self-taught artist. The exhibit shows the dramatic, biographical nature of Rembert's art as it documents the tumultuous moments of civil rights history. More than 50 original works that Rembert created from stretched, stained, and etched leather, historical photographs of his life, and a new documentary of his work, created by noted filmmaker Vivian Ducat, will be on view. In the galleries, traditional gospel music, pivotal for Rembert, will be heard in recordings, and Rembert will both sing gospel songs and discuss his experiences in the galleries on several dates. Rembert, a boy growing up in 1950s rural Georgia, did backbreaking labor in the cotton fields. As a young man, he barely escaped arrest during a 1960's civil rights march, and survived a near lynching. A prisoner serving an unjust seven-year sentence, he learned to make pattern and design on hand tooled leather by watching a fellow inmate create tooled leather wallets. Years later in colorful tableaux on tanned leather, Rembert conjured a world of incredible brutality and close personal ties existing in discomforting proximity. Amazing Grace's riveting themes include the Cotton Field series, where cotton balls snake relentlessly through rows where field hands toiled. Another theme explores the lighter side of Rembert's memories of small town Cuthbert, Georgia. He populates his canvases with the town's characters and scenes of a pool hall, jazz club, cafe, and church meetings. The exhibition is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Bartholomew F. Bland. Through May 5.