MEMPHIS ARTISTS IN REAL TIME
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art / 1934 Poplar Ave. January 29, 2021 - February 28, 2021
Johnathan Martin, Andrea Morales, Tad Lauritzen Wright
For Memphis photojournalists Johnathan “Malik” Martin and Andrea Morales, the answer may seem, at first, simple. Their job is to take pictures that tell a story to be used in digital or print journalism. In these examples, viewers experience powerful stories about Memphis during “Safer at Home” and the various crises that ensued after the pandemic began in March through the presidential election of November 2020. These pictorial accounts reveal both the acute distress on our community and moments of deep humanity that offer hope for the future. What Martin and Morales capture, how they capture it, and what they are thinking as they capture it, is examined here and in their own words. The powerful context of venerated photojournalist Ernest C. Withers, whose legacy they recognize in their own work, helps set the stage and remind us of Memphis’s globally recognized contributions to the field.
Studio artist Tad Lauritzen Wright’s context of artistic practice is completely different. Artistic isolation in the studio is the norm not the exception. The America portfolio, produced as a series of 25 line drawings, shows the artist’s humorous, satirical, and sobering take on current events through cartoonish, child-like drawings that drive home the often absurd nature of human experience. Nearby are several puppets from a series of videos that he produced for fun with his eleven-year-old daughter, Anna, while she attended school this spring online and at home. These amusing videos, made together as a father-and-daughter team, helped make meaning from the pandemic in real time and formed the point of departure for America.