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Natural World - Cincinnati Art Museum

Commissioned by the Cincinnati Art Museum, Natural World is a collaboration between artists John Edmonds and David Hartt, poet and scholar Jason Allen-Paisant, and organizing curator Nathaniel M. Stein. The project explores meanings of nature and naturalness through overlapping dialogues with history, collections, and institutions. Hartt’s and Edmonds’s photography-based installations are presented in two dedicated galleries and selected sites throughout the museum. A companion book puts their work in conversation with new writing by Stein and Allen-Paisant.

Edmonds’s project, Father’s Jewels, is a profound meditation on family, reflecting on themes of identity, community, and belonging. Conceived in dialogue with works from the museum’s collection of African art and with the European artistic tradition, Edmonds’s pictures explore wounding, conflict, reverence, and love within and between generations of Black men. Hartt’s project, The Garden, examines ways of seeing and picturing that are rooted in European artistic, political, and intellectual traditions. Synthesizing concerns he has explored throughout his career, Hartt focuses on plant life as it negotiates the environment outside human-assigned physical parameters and social meanings. Both artists offer pivotal statements about what it might look like to include silenced positions in a shared conversation about the nature of the world.


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