Atlanta Contemporary to Exhibit at Fourth Paris Internationale

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The cover of Kevin A. Smith’s artist book Bobby, published by Nexus Press in 1985.

Next week, Atlanta Contemporary will join forty-two galleries and seven other nonprofit spaces from twenty-one countries at the fourth edition of Paris Internationale, an art fair established in 2015 as an alternative to traditional art fairs and with the specific aim of supporting younger emerging artists. According to its website, Paris Internationale “keeps its participation costs as low as possible to encourage risk taking and to present its audience with exhibitors at the forefront of contemporary practices.” In addition to Atlanta Contemporary, other exhibitors at this year’s fair include New York-based galleries such as Bodega, Company Gallery, and Chapter NY, London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and galleries based in cities as various as Jakarta, Warsaw, and Mexico City. The fair takes place from October 17 through October 21 in Paris.

At Paris Internationale, Atlanta Contemporary will present “History of the soul,” a collection of artworks curated by Daniel Fuller centered around Bobby, an artist book by Kevin A. Smith published by Atlanta-based Nexus Press in 1985. Created using imaging technology on an early Macintosh computer, Bobby tells the story of a lonely young boy who, while hiding in a closet, develops a relationship with another boy, perhaps his imaginary friend, characterized in Atlanta Contemporary’s statement as “his shadow, a black version of himself.” “History of the soul” presents this narrative as a metaphor for “same-sex, interracial love,” using Bobby as a point of departure for considering other artistic voices that have been “politically disembodied or obscured.”

A young RuPaul on an episode of the American Music Show in 1985.

In addition to Smith’s artist book, Atlanta Contemporary’s presentation will include drawings by self-taught artist Guy Church (whose work was also featured in the 2016 Atlanta Biennial), quilt-like works by the late Kentucky artist Jessie Dunahoo, works by Eddie Owens Martin (also known as Pasaquan’s St. EOM), and drawings by Athens-based artist Katya Tepper (who was profiled last month by Erin Jane Nelson for BA). “History of the soul” will also feature a selection of clips from the archives the American Music Show, an Atlanta-based, public-access TV show now famous for featuring drag queen and actor RuPaul’s television debut during his time in Atlanta in the 1980s.

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