NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 8, 2023)—Celebrating guitars, photography, and more, the Frist Art Museum will hold a weekend-long Frist Arts Fest on June 3–4 spotlighting the exhibitions Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, Guitar Town: Picturing Performance Today, Ron Jude: 12 Hz, and Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature.
On Saturday, guests can enjoy live guitar-centric musical performances in the auditorium organized with event partners WNXP 91.1. On Sunday, programs geared toward children and families include sets by The Rock and Roll Playhouse inspired by artists represented in Storied Strings and an instrument petting zoo with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
All weekend long, there will be songwriters performing in the Turner Courtyard; exhibition tours; artmaking activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery and in the studios with Hatch Show Print, Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, and Turnip Green Creative Reuse; food trucks; games; a photobooth; and more.
Admission to Frist Arts Fest is free for Frist members and guests ages 18 and younger. For all other guests, the regular $15 Adult Admission will apply both days. All normal discounts are suspended during the weekend.
For a full schedule of events, visit FristArtMuseum.org/event/frist-arts-fest.
Live Music Schedule
11:00 a.m. Nat Meyers
1:00 p.m. Megan McCormick
3:00 p.m. Josh Halper
Saturday auditorium performances organized with event partners WNXP 91.1
Noon: Sarah Faith
2:00 p.m. LadyCouch
4:00 p.m. Joshua Dylan Balis
2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The Rock and Roll Playhouse (30-minute sets)
1:00 p.m. Aaron Vance
3:30 p.m. Sarah Peacock
Exhibitions On View
Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art
May 26–August 13, 2023
Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art is the first exhibition to explore the instrument’s symbolism in American art from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Featuring 125 works of art as well as thirty-five exceptional instruments, the exhibition will demonstrate that guitars figure prominently in the visual stories Americans tell about themselves.
Works by artists such as John Baldessari, Thomas Hart Benton, Lonnie Holley, Dorothea Lange, and Annie Leibovitz and seminal instruments by Fender, Gibson, and C. F. Martin & Company show how guitars have served as symbols of American history, cultural attitudes, identities, and aspirations. For the presentation at the Frist, notable instruments and other artworks drawn from Middle Tennessee collections will be on view, reflecting Nashville’s internationally renowned status as “Music City” and a mecca for outstanding guitarists and socially impactful music.
The works in Storied Strings are organized into twelve thematic sections: Leisure, Culture, and Comfort: 19th Century America, Amateurs and Professionals, Hispanicization, Hawaiiana, Blues and Folk, A Change Is Coming, Iconic Women in Country Music, Cowboy Guitars, Making a Living, The Visual Culture of Early Rock and Roll, Personification, and Aestheticizing a Motif. Linking these disparate themes is the premise that the guitar, as a visual motif, has long enabled artists and their human subjects to address themes and tell stories that otherwise would go unexamined. The accompanying three hundred–page catalogue positions the guitar within a nexus of art, music, literature, and cultural histories.
Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Guitar Town: Picturing Performance Today
April 21–August 20, 2023
Conte Community Arts Gallery
Guitar Town: Picturing Performance Today features work by ten Nashville-based photographers who capture the energy of Nashville’s diverse music scene through images of guitar players performing in venues across the city. Highlighting a variety of musical styles and attitudes, the photographers employ dramatic angles, surprising cropping, and hair-trigger responses as they capture decisive moments in each performance.
The photographers in the exhibition are Angelina Castillo, Lance Conzett, Steven Cross, Emma Delevante, H.N. James, John Jo, Laura E. Partain, John Partipilo, Jenni Starr, and Diana Lee Zadlo. Through images of musicians including Brandi Carlile, Sierra Ferrell, Brittany Howard, Peter One and Jess Sah Bi, Marty Stuart, William Tyler, Adia Victoria, Jack White, and Yola, viewers see how the performers’ self-presentation—clothing, hair, stance, and facial expressions—provide visual links to the music they are making and bring viewers into the room with the audience to share the visceral experience.
This sense of immediacy is particularly acute in photographs from intimate venues like DRKMTTR, Exit/In, Fond Object, and Mercy Lounge, some of which have closed or changed to new management in recent years, unable to survive Nashville’s rapidly changing real estate environment. Such losses have raised questions about the city’s capacity to remain a haven for small clubs and independent musicians. Despite this, the photographers in this exhibition celebrate a community of musicians that continues to be dynamic, mutually supportive, and ever adaptable. Nashville—Guitar Town—is still the place where music of all types can be heard and enjoyed.
Guitar Town: Picturing Performance Today was organized by Frist Art Museum Chief Curator Mark Scala and Curatorial Intern Sydney Stewart.
Ron Jude: 12 Hz
May 26–August 13, 2023
Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
Ron Jude’s imposing, large-scale black-and-white photographs made in Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Iceland depict the raw materials of the planet and its systems—lava flows, rocks formed from volcanic ash, river and tidal currents, and glacial valleys—that are the foundation of organic life. Stripped bare of the evidence of human existence, they remind us that these natural phenomena operate indifferently to our presence in the face of an imminent ecological crisis. The exhibition’s title references the lowest threshold of human hearing, 12 hertz, suggesting the powerful yet frequently imperceptible forces that shape the physical world and the limits of human perception.
Jude’s photographs have been widely exhibited around the world and are held in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Jude is also the author of twelve books—most recently, 12 Hz (2020). He has received numerous grants and awards, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019. He is a professor of art at the University of Oregon and lives in Eugene.
Ron Jude: 12 Hz was organized by the Barry Lopez Foundation for Art & Environment
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature
April 7–September 17, 2023
This magical, family-friendly exhibition celebrates the creative and ecological achievements of the beloved English author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first self-published in London in 1902, and 22 other children’s books, Potter imagined an enchanting world of animals and gardens. Through letters, photographs, sketches, watercolors, and more, this exhibition explores how Potter developed her stories and characters. It also reveals that Potter’s books were just one manifestation of her love of nature—she engaged in scientific studies, farming, and land conservation as well. Drawn to Nature shows all these facets of Potter’s remarkable life and legacy in vibrant detail.
Created by the V&A – touring the world
Studio Activities Sponsor: Brown Brothers Harriman
Photobooth Sponsor: Hi-Fi Media Co.
The Frist Art Museum is supported in part by The Frist Foundation, Metro Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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About the Frist Art Museum
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Art Museum offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. Information on accessibility can be found at FristArtMuseum.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors ages 18 and younger and for members, and $15 for adults. For current hours and additional information, visit FristArtMuseum.org or call 615.244.3340.