Harry Smith Anthology Remixed
REVIEW PAINTING, DRAWING, PHOTOGRAPHY, MUSIC
CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Jul
Artist, filmmaker, musicologist: just a few of the labels attached to Harry Smith, the great American polymath of the 1950s. This exhibition celebrates the chain-smoking maverick’s Anthology of American Folk Music, an 84-track collection from 1952.
This exhibition invited 84 contemporary artists and musicians to respond to tracks from the Anthology, thereby creating a plethora of ‘remixes’ via small paintings, collages, drawings and photographs. While they vary in quality, the combined effect of 84 tightly packed artworks, hung Salon-style over three walls, is visually arresting. Tracks from the Anthology quietly roll on in the background as we peruse the work. As it would take a long time to view every single work, viewers tend to select their personal favourites, as you might with an album of music, but certain works stand out, for instance David Sherry’s ironic twist on Ken Maynard’s ‘Lone Star Trail’, a photograph of a modern day cowboy in jeans and T-shirt riding through the Irish ‘outback’.
A celebration is created throughout, not just of Harry Smith’s important contributions, but of a fascinating and influential point in the history of Western music.