Born 1940 in Fuquay, NC; died 2015 in Ann Arbor, MI
Born in Fuquay, North Carolina, Beverly Buchanan (1940-2015) grew up in South Carolina. By the late 1960s, Buchanan had earned several university degrees in the sciences, and was working as a public health worker and educator in New York City and East Orange, New Jersey.
In 1971, Buchanan enrolled at the Art Students’ League, where she studied with Harlem Renaissance painter Norman Lewis. From that time on, Buchanan devoted her time to making art. In the 1970s, she considered herself an abstract expressionist painter and completed a series of “Wall” paintings which were exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey in 1976.
In 1977, Buchanan moved back to the South. From 1979 to 1986, Buchanan made a series of public stone sculptures across the American Southeast, which she allowed to decay over time and become part of the surroundings. Most notably, in 1979 she completed Ruins and Rituals (also the title of the Brooklyn Museum retrospective from 2016-2017), and in 1980 Marsh Ruins, with funding from a Guggenheim Fellowship. Some of these works can still be found, while others have withered away. They contemplate the idea of “ruination” and commemorate the history of Southern Black communities.
By the mid 1980s, Buchanan was exploring Southern vernacular architecture through her practice. She created a series of makeshift sculptures known as “shacks” in which she paid tribute to the improvised and self-built homes of Black communities in rural Georgia. Often attached to her sculptures were hand-written or typed narratives, which she referred to as “legends,” that gave voice to a cast of characters, some remembered and others imagined.
Buchanan’s later work is intimately linked to her natural surroundings and folk art. As a native Southerner, she drew on memories from her childhood as well as the lush Georgian landscape and yard art of local self-taught artists. A passionate gardener, Buchanan produced vivid oil pastel flower drawings and small assemblage works.
The winner of numerous honors during her long career, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Buchanan’s work is in the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Museum, among others. A posthumous solo retrospective, Ruins and Rituals, curated by Jennifer Burris and Park McArthur, was held at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2016-17.
Columbia University, M.P.H.
Columbia University, M.S.
Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Beverly Buchanan: The idea was to capture something closely related to a feeling, Gund Gallery, Gambier, OH
Beverly Buchanan: Northern Walls and Southern Yards, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Beverly Buchanan: Shacks and Legends, 1985-2011, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Beverly Buchanan: Habitat For Humanity, traveling exhibition, Paul R. Jones Museum, Tuscaloosa, AL; TRAX Visual Art Center, Lake City, SC
Beverly Buchanan: Low Country, David Klein Gallery, Detroit, MI
Beverly Buchanan and William Christenberry: The Streaming Light Through All Your Shacks' Cracks, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
Independent Art Fair, New York, Andrew Edlin Gallery
Beverly Buchanan: Ruins and Rituals, 1976-2013, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, Spelman Fine Art Museum, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
And You May Find Yourself..., Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
The Art of Beverly Buchanan, N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI
Home Place, Barbara Archer Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Response and Memory, Asheville Art Museum, NC & Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
Beverly Buchanan: Recent Work, Mary Pauline Gallery, Augusta, GA
Beverly Buchanan: Southern Saddlebags and Shotgun Houses, Lane Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Beverly Buchanan ‐ 6th Annual Masters Series, City Gallery East, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Atlanta, GA
Beverly Buchanan: Home is a Magnet, Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, New York, NY
Beverly Buchanan, Art Museum of Missoula, Missoula, MT
Beverly Buchanan, The Rural South: Drawings and Sculptures, Opelika Arts Gallery, Opelika, AL & Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Beverly Buchanan, Mclintosh Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Beverly Buchanan, Visual Witnessing: Portraits of Shacks and Their Yards, Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, New York, NY
Beverly Buchanan, Spirit Square Center for the Arts and Education, Charlotte, NC
Beverly Buchanan, Tubman African American Museum, Macon, GA
Beverly Buchanan, American Architecture: The Shack, The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
Beverly Buchanan: ShackWorks, A 16 Year Survey, traveling mid-career retrospective hosted by The Montclair Museum of Art, Montclair, NJ
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines (upcoming), Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Inheritance, curated by Rujeko Hockley, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Groundswell: Women of Land Art, curated by Dr. Leigh A. Arnold, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX
Calling, curated by Kathrin Bentele, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, DE
So let us all be citizens too, curated by Ebony L. Haynes, David Zwirner, London, UK
feel rubble, curated by NYU Gallatin, Governs Island, New York, NY
Dead Lecturer/Distant Relative, curated by Genji Amino, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY
The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
Toni Morrison’s Black Book, curated by Hilton Als, David Zwirner, New York, NY
Pavilions, Lisson Gallery, New York, NY
Boys & Girls, curated by Alex Berns, No Gallery, New York, NY
Colliding with History; African American Works on Paper from the Collection of Wes and Missy Cochran, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Gitte Villesen: It changed radically: grew fur again, lost it, developed scales, lost them, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, DE
Knowledge of the Past Is the Key to the Future, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Memories and Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art, International Arts and Artists, Washington, DC
The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture and the Sonic Impulse, curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Dream Monuments: Drawing in the 1960s and 1970s, curated by Erica DiBenedetto and Kelly Montana, Menil Drawing Institute, TX
Now Is The Time: Recent Acquisitions to the Contemporary Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, BA
Winterfest: An Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, curated by Saim Demircan in collaboration with Veit Laurent Kurz, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO
Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection, curated by Catherine Morris and Carmen Hermo, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Heavy Duty Paper, Division of Labour with Pitt Studio, Worchester, UK
You Can't Win: Jack Black's America, curated by Randy Kennedy, Fortnight Institute, New York, NY
Vernacular Interior, curated by Adeze Wilford, Hales Gallery, New York, NY.
She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, Gracie Mansion, New York, NY
The Warmth of Other Suns, Phillips Collections, Washington D.C.
Downsized: Small Scale Sculpture by Contemporary Artists, The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT
One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
GWTW, Martos Gallery, New York, NY
Rolling Stone Press: Human Considerations, Jepson Center for the Arts, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA
Dialectics of Entanglement: do we exist together?, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial, and the Gee's Bend Quiltmakers, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Room, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK
POWER, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965 - 65, curated by Catherine Morris, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Southern Accent: Seeking The American South in Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC, Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, KY
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
The Armory Show, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Haunts and Habitats, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
Purple States & Cafe Dancer Pop-Up, curated by Sam Gordon, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
African-American Voices, Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA
African American Artists From The Flomenhaft Collection, Flomenhaft Gallery, New York, NY
Mixing Metaphors: the Aesthetic, the Social and the Political in African American Art, Carter Presidential Museum in Atlanta, GA
Beverly Buchanan & Lillian Blades, Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA
Howard University BEWARE: Women Working at Flomenhaft's, Flomenthaft Gallery, New York, NY
Recollection: The Past Is Present, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
Collected. Propositions on the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
SELECTED HONORS AND AWARDS
Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award
College Art Association Achievement Award
Visiting Artist, Spring Island, SC
Anonymous Was A Woman Award, Anonymous Was A Woman, New York, NY
199 Georgia Women in the Visual Arts Honoree, The Georgia Commission on Women and the Georgia Women's History Month Committee
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in sculpture
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, NY
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
Groom, Amelia. Marsh Ruins. London: Afterall Books.
McArthur, Park and Jennifer Burris Staton. Beverly Buchanan: 1978-1981. Mexico City: Athénée Press.
Lax, Thomas J., When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South. New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Mitter, Siddhartha "A Vanishing Masterpiece in the Georgia Marshes," New York Times, July, 29.
Schwendener, Martha, “6 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now,” New York Times, April 27.
Fiske, Courtney, "Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial, and the Gee's Bend Quiltmakers," Artforum, October.
Russeth, Andrew, "Brooklyn Museum Adds Works by Emma Amos, Beverly Buchanan, Betty Tompkins, and Many More Women Artists to Its Collection," Art News, May 29.
Anastasia, Rhea, “Beverly Buchanan, Brooklyn Museum, New York,” Artforum, January.
Fox, Catherine, “Art history rewards the vanguard: Beverly Buchanan’s Ruins and Rituals,” ArtSatl, October 9.
Greenberger, Alex, "Beverly Buchanan House Sculptures Charm at Independent Art Fair," Artnews
Koplos, Janet, Beverly Buchanan: Ruins and Rituals at Spelman Museum, Burnaway: The Voice of Art in the South, October 20.
Martinique, Elena, “Beverly Buchanan's Iconic Sculptures and Works on Paper at David Klein Gallery,” Widewalls, June 19.
Sharp, Sarah Rose, “Beverly Buchanan’s Shack Sculptures Feel at Home in Detroit An exhibition at David Klein Gallery brings together Buchanan’s evocative shack constructions and pastel drawings,” Hyperallergic, July.
Villarreal, Jose, “Exhibition of Beverly Buchanan’s Shack Sculptures and Drawings opens up at David Klein Gallery,” Artdaily.org, June 16.
Rosenberg, Karen, “Haunting ‘Ruins and Rituals’ Begins ‘A Year of Yes’ at Brooklyn Museum,” The New York Times, November 10.
Maine, Stephen, “The Political Abstraction of Beverly Buchanan,” Hyperallergic, October 29.
Gotthardt, Alexxa, “The Brooklyn Museum Gives Fiercely Independent Artist Beverly Buchanan the Retrospective She Deserves,” Artsy, October 27.
Vogel, Wendy, “Beverly Buchanan Brooklyn Museum,” Artforum, October 21.
Cotter, Holland, “In Art This Fall, Women Win in a Landslide,” The New York Times, September 16.
"Beverly Buchanan at Andrew Edlin,” Art in America, May 21.
"Beverly Buchanan: Southern Vernacular," Museum of Arts and Sciences, September 3.
Son, Angela, "Interview with Beverly Buchanan," Art Animal, Nov. 8.
Dorian, Donna, "Telling Stories," Southern Accents, Vol.24: No.1.
Burchard, Hank, "Sculpting Women: Carving their Niche", Washington Post, June 26.
Glueck, Grace, "Beverly Buchanan", New York Times, Art Guide, March 6.
Iverem, Esther, "Sculpture Shaped from Time, Trouble and Triumph" Washington Post, July 7.
Donn, Jeff, "Athens artist turns southern shacks into her own personal parthenons," Savannah Morning News, March 10.
Sozanski, Edward, "Showing how a Shack can be a Work of Art," The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 2.
Murphy, Anthony, "Portfolio," American Visions, Vol.9: No.4.
Slesin, Suzanne, "The Shack as Art and Social Comment," New York Times, January 18.
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
The Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Los Angeles County Museum, CA
Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN
The Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
Morris Museum of Southern Art, Augusta, GA
Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Museum of Contemporary Art, LA
The Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY