The World of the Rural Studio

Last month, Metropolis editor-in-chief Susan Szenasy noted the extraordinary attention that Auburn University’s legendary Rural Studio has received, including the PBS documentary, Citizen Architect. Now, Mix ‘n’ Match, a photography exhibition that opens this week in downtown New York, shows that inventive architecture was not all that came out of that intensely creative place.

At the same time that the PBS documentary was being made, photographer Cynthia Connolly was at the Rural Studio, processing her photographs in a dark room that she built for herself in a barn. 40 of those photographs will now be displayed at The Quality Mending Co., where they will be re-arranged by a new guest curator every two weeks, along with the other objects in the store. The images are of the natural landscape and built environment of the Alabama Black Belt – the context within which the Rural Studio was conceived.  Its founder Samuel Mockbee encouraged his students to “Proceed and Be Bold,” to go forth into the communities around the Studio, and build for them.  Connolly’s photographs of signs, buildings, barns and trees, are an intimate examination of precisely those communities, presented in an innovative and bold format that Mockbee might well have enjoyed, and showing us another side of that utopian architectural experiment.

More details of the exhibition on our online events listings.

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