Fahamu Pecou’s paintings, which respond to representations of black masculinity in popular culture, have been exhibited across the U.S. and abroad and collected by several major museums. But even with a career very much on the rise, the artist acknowledged that he would be significantly challenged when he was announced as one of three Georgians selected for a 2013-14 Working Artist Project by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.
MOCA GA launched the Working Artist Project in 2007 to reverse a stream of accomplished visual artists leaving Atlanta in search of better opportunities and support. Its three honorees each year receive a stipend (currently $12,000) and a studio assistant, among other benefits, to support the creation of a major exhibition over a year’s time for MOCA GA, a nonprofit institution located in Buckhead.
The idea is to provide a rare degree of support so that the artists can produce their very best work, free from demands of the marketplace.
Pecou’s exhibit, “Grav-i-ty,” which includes paintings, drawings and sound installation, opens with a public reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12.
“I’ve been observing what’s been happening with this prize over the last few years, and I know several of the recipients and I’ve been able to see what they’ve been able to do with the prize,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in July 2013 after a ceremony in which he was announced (along with Scott Ingram and E.K. Huckaby) as a project honoree. “I’m just excited about the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to being able to commit myself to working on a project of this scale. I’ve done several gallery exhibitions but something on this level is a new step.”
In his artist statement for “Grav-i-ty,” Pecou said he chose the title because it suggests “both the physical concept of gravity — as in the force that presses matter towards the Earth — as well as the notion of something being grave and serious.”
Certainly, in the wake of grand jury decisions not to pursue trials in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Pecou’s art could not be more topical.
“As a society, we give up on black boys before we ever give them a chance,” Pecou continues in his artist statement. “We meet them with fear and loathing. …
“But what if we resisted this idea of gravity? What if we believed in black boys instead of belittling them? Could they … Would they fly?”
On the day that “Grav-i-ty” closes, Feb. 14, Pecou also will have an exhibit open at the High Museum of Art. In paired solo shows, he and Brooklyn artist José Parlá will respond to the work of Cuban painter Wifredo Lam in the late artist’s concurrent exhibit “Imagining New Worlds.”
MOCA GA is located at 75 Bennett St., Atlanta. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. $8; $5 students with ID and ages 65 and older. 404-367-8700, www.mocaga.org.
High Museum gets crafty
The Indie Craft Experience, which presents emerging crafters whose work often is informed by a graphic design edge in marketplaces around the city, will set up for the first time at the High Museum of Art this weekend.
Handmade at the High, 4-9 p.m. Dec. 12 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 13 in the museum’s Robinson Atrium, will present more than 55 regional artists.
The show/sale is free. High admission is $10 after 4 p.m. Fridays; $3 off museum admission with a Handmade at the High sticker on Saturday, Dec. 13. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4400, www.high.org.
Indie Craft Experience also is running a holiday pop-up shop at its storefront space in Candler Park daily (except Mondays) through Dec. 24. 1390 McLendon Ave. N.E., Atlanta. ice-atlanta.com.
Focus on 8 regional photographers
Atlanta Photography Group Gallery will open the exhibit “Portfolio 2014” with a 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 reception.
Juried by Richard McCabe, photography curator at New Orleans’ Ogden Museum of Southern Art, it showcases the work of eight Southern photographers: Dennis Church of Bonita Springs, Fla.; Justin Cordova, Foley, Ala.; Betty Press, Hattiesburg, Miss.; Lissette Schaeffler, Miami; Laine Wyatt, DeLand, Fla.; and Teri Darnell, Laura Noel and Jerry Siegel of Atlanta.
Juror McCabe will give a gallery talk at 11 a.m. Dec. 13.
Noon-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays. Free. Tula Art Center, 75 Bennett St. N.W., B-1, Atlanta. 404-605-0605, atlantaphotographygroup.org.