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North Carolina to stage first show on American South

'Southern Accent' combines art and music to showcase the impact of the American South on US culture

Art and music will be the focus of the first exhibition to explore the cultural output of the American South. “Southern Accent” will include work by around 60 artists such as Radcliffe Bailey, Romare Bearden, William Eggleston, Deborah Grant, Dario Robleto, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker and Jeff Whetstone. There will also be an extensive listening library, where visitors can hear a range of music from performers from James Brown, Elizabeth Cotton and Dolly Parton to Lynyrd Skynyrd, R.E.M. and Outkast. “We want to demonstrate what a tremendous impact the Southeastern US has had on American culture,” says Trevor Schoonmaker, the chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in North Carolina, where the exhibition is scheduled to open on 1 September 2016 (until 8 January 2017). The artist and musician Harrison Haynes has worked with Schoonmaker on the music library, while the exhibition is being co-organised by Schoonmaker and Miranda Lash, a curator at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, the second venue for the show (additional venues had not been confirmed as we went to press). “The South is a huge and contested topic and we don’t want to overly intellectualise it or define it,” says Schoonmaker, who was recently appointed artistic director of the 2017 Prospect New Orleans triennial. “We want to create a feeling when you step into the show of a shared sensibility, and hope that the diverse range of artistic perspectives will question prevailing mythologies of the South and create a composite portrait of Southern identity.”