Norton Museum of Art

West Palm Beach, FL



Steve Lehman / American Hollow

January 20 - February 25, 2001


The Norton Museum of Art opens a new exhibition entitled American Hollow on January 20, 2001. This exhibition is organized in conjunction with Rory Kennedy's documentary film American Hollow, and is comprised of 60 silver-gelatin prints by award-winning photographer Steve Lehman, which form the principal content of the exhibition. (left: Iree: The Family Matriarch, 1999 © Steve Lehman, silver-gelatin photographs, 20 x 20 inches)

These powerful photographs present a life-affirming exploration of the lives, hopes and dreams of a unique and distinctly American family, the Bowling clan. The hills of Appalachia are the stuff of legend, and the area populated by the Bowlings proves no exception. The photos, which record this unchanging landscape with detachment and without inflection, focus on the inhabitants of the hollow, in a series of soberly composed, rigorously framed portraits of daily life that are remarkable for their feeling and, in spite of evident sympathy, reserve. Taken together, they capture the tension between new and old worlds. (right: Steve Bowling sorts the moss he has gathered. Florists throughout the country will use the moss both as potting soil and as decoration, 1999 © Steve Lehman, silver-gelatin photographs, 20 x 20 inches)

Covering the better part of a century taken from different vantage points, they will lend rare depth and texture to the story of an American family. Traditional bluegrass music mirrors the depth and richness of oral and visual Appalachian traditions, and will be featured in the exhibition along with three quilts made by Iree Bowling. During the run of the exhibition there will also be regularly scheduled screenings of the film American Hollow, the 90-minute documentary about the Bowling family and Appalachia, directed and produced by Rory Kennedy for HBO. (left: The Family Matriarch, 69 year-old Iree Bowling, stacks wood for the wimter, 1999 © Steve Lehman, silver-gelatin photographs, 20 x 20 inches; right: Locust Trees, 1999 © Steve Lehman, silver-gelatin photographs, 20 x 20 inches)

This visually rich exhibition examines issues of the rural life in Appalachia that take place in a microcosm largely untouched by the rapidly developing world around them. Above all, American Hollow is that rare experience: a sympathetic and strength-giving portrait of love and kinship in the face of hard times.

American Hollow is co-organized by the Norton Museum of Art and Umbrage Editions. The local presentation of this exhibition is generously funded in part through a grant from the Chastain Foundation, with national support provided by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Sidney Kimmel and the M.L. Ward Foundation.

Additional venues include the Dayton Art Institute; the Chesapeake Arts Center, Baltimore; the University of Kentucky Arts Museum; the Southeast College Museum, Cumberland, Kentucky; and the Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.

A hardcover catalogue of 128 pages with over 100 photographs in black and white, with an introduction by Ms. Kennedy, a preface by Robert Coles, text interviews by Mark Bailey and photographs by Steve Lehman accompanies the exhibition.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/23/11

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