BURNAWAY's Best of 2015: Cultural Experiences

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BURNAWAY asked artists, writers, and curators from cities across the South to tell us about their favorite cultural experiences in 2015. Making the list was the Art Book Fair presented by Printed Matter in New York City, Patti Smith’s reading of M Train in Nashville, Andrea Fraser’s lectures at the Contemporary Art Center and UNO in New Orleans, and the Oakhurst Porchfest in Decatur, among others.
(Don’t miss our Best Exhibitions of 2015 and Favorite Reads!)
Let us know what your favorites were in our Comments section!

SCAD - Derrick Adams

The Northwest Atlanta Globe, a public art project by Allen Peterson, is created from hand-drawn maps from more than 135 community members.
The Northwest Atlanta Globe, a public art project by Allen Peterson, is created from hand-drawn maps from more than 135 community members.

Lisa Tuttle (Atlanta)
Artist
Hard one. Could be the recent Metropolitan Arts Fund luncheon, along with speaker Steve Tepper.
Also, Fahamu Pecou, Jonathan Bouknight, Sheila Pree Bright, Catherine Wilmer at MOCA GA.
And personally, assisting Allen Peterson to do community outreach and mapping for the Northwest Atlanta Globe for Fulton County’s Northwest Atlanta Library – the piece rocks!


Printed Matter's NY Book Art Fair is held each year at MoMA's Long Island City outpost, PS1.
Printed Matter’s NY Book Art Fair is held each year at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.

Daniel Fuller (Atlanta)
Curator at Atlanta Contemporary
Two really amazing moments, or series of moments. I have never missed one of Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fairs, but have always been on the ‘over spenders’ side of the table, but this year provided a fun collaboration with our homies at Art Papers. We split a table, Art Papers selling vintage issues, us getting several Nexus Press titles back out into the world. Victoria Camblin and I also gave a lecture at MoMA PS1 titled: “Love and Death in the Old South,” about print culture in Atlanta.
The 7th Inning School: Alex Robins (Philosophy Department, Emory University) and I hosted evenings of heady conversation at Atlanta Braves home games. We’d all buy the cheapest seats available ($7, an advantage of having a bad team) and each topic was inspired by the visiting team.  They were an experiment in alternative models for intellectual discussion. No required reading, no prepared speeches, just the natural flow of conversation and baseball. Again, over when they move up to the suburbs.


Patti Smith with her husband and collaborator the guitarist Fred 'Sonic' Smith, who died at age 45 in 1994. Her latest memoir, M Train, is filled with personal stories concerning memory and loss, travel, books, and a whole lot of coffee.
Patti Smith with her husband and collaborator the guitarist Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, who died at the age of 45 in 1994. Her latest memoir, M Train, is filled with personal stories concerning memory and loss, travel, books, and a whole lot of coffee.

Joe Nolan (Nashville)
Artist, writer, musician
Nashville’s best cultural experience was reserved for the 500 lucky ticket-holders who got to see Patti Smith read from her new M Train memoir at OZ. Despite getting over a cold, the godmother of punk followed-up her hilarious and moving reading with a short acoustic set that included a salute to Paris in the wake of the recent terrorist attack.


The Portland Rose Garden is the oldest official public rose test garden in the United States and features more than 10,000 roses.
The Portland Rose Garden is the oldest official public rose test garden in the United States and features more than 10,000 roses.

Amy Pleasant (Birmingham)
Artist
Visiting Portland’s Japanese Garden and the Rose Test Garden.


With photographs dispersed within the pages of lyrical prose, in Hold Still, Sally Mann delivers an engrossing and original form of personal history.
With photographs dispersed within the pages of lyrical prose, Sally Mann delivers an engrossing and original form of personal history in Hold Still.

Vesna Pavlović (Nashville)
Artist,  assistant professor of art at Vanderbilt University
Sally Mann’s reading from Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, in conjunction with Parnassus, Nashville’s go-to bookstore.


Book Club performs during the first Oakhurst Porchfest, which featured over 100 artists performing on front porches throughout the Decatur neighborhood. (Photo: Jonathan Phillips)
Book Club performs during the first Oakhurst Porchfest, which featured over 100 artists performing on front porches throughout the Decatur neighborhood. (Photo: Jonathan Phillips)

Terry Kearns (Atlanta)
Man About Town
The Oakhurst Porchfest was my favorite, the most memorable, the most people-oriented. It brought music to folks of all ages in their own neighborhood, on their own sidewalks and yards. It connected people and people with places as nothing else this year. Tuneful tunes in a variety of styles at family friendly volumes. Absolutely unique.


In Robert Altman's Nashville, the lives of numerous people in the Tennessee capital intersect in a myriad of ways.
In Robert Altman’s Nashville, the lives of numerous people in the Tennessee capital intersect in myriad ways.

Mary Addison Hackett (Nashville)
Artist
Watching movies in the dark: Tangerine and the 40th anniversary screening of Robert Altman’s Nashville at the Belcourt. 


Floyd Track, a member of New Orlean's Wild Tchoupitoulas.
Floyd Track, a member of New Orleans’s Wild Tchoupitoulas.

Rebecca Lee Reynolds (New Orleans)
Writer, assistant professor of art history at the University of New Orleans
My local culture pick is St. Joseph’s Night: A magic moment when I accidentally stumbled upon the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Mardi Gras Indian tribe in my neighborhood, starting out at dusk for their annual walk on St. Joseph’s Day last March. I followed along for a while, fascinated by their chanting and the whole tradition (some explanation here and some video here).
Art lecture pick: The best for intensity and level of analysis was Andrea Fraser’s artist talks at the CAC and UNO (University of New Orleans) last January, coordinated with her participation in Prospect.3; most curious was critic Dave Hickey’s talk at The Front last March, in which he came off sounding like a dinosaur.


Be sure to check back in the coming days for more of BURNAWAY’s Best Of 2015, including highlights and significant news stories and looking ahead to what is on the radar for 2016!