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Willie Little at Oregon Contemporary

August 5–October 2, 2022

Reception: August 6, 5–8pm
Artist conversation: August 6, 5:30pm

Willie Little’s solo show In My Own Little Corner is on view at Oregon Contemporary. The third and last exhibition in Oregon Contemporary’s expansive program Site, a series of exhibitions by Oregon artists in place of the Portland2021 Biennial, is titled In My Own Little Corner. The exhibition is a multimedia, interactive installation made up of vignettes from the artist’s hometown close to Little Washington, North Carolina, that expose the frequently untold tales from the perspective of a rural Black child while also highlighting the universality of the inner turmoil that many gay children go through.

The phrase “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I would be whatever I want to be” appears in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which inspired the song’s title. The artwork encourages the audience to step inside the fantasy world of a young, Black, gay boy from a rural area of North Carolina. The piece consists of theater walls, salvaged furniture, images, and a soundscape taken from Little’s most recent autobiography/art book, In the Sticks. Through sight, sound, and discovered objects, these vignettes are tableaus that take the observer to a period of time and location from his past. They expose some of the artist’s aspirations, struggles, and unease that he went through as an inventive and sensitive youngster growing up in Pactolus, North Carolina in the 1960s and 1970s, a period of profound change, when Little fervently wished to one day leave the suburbs.

Black author and multidisciplinary artist Willie Little. In addition to addressing issues of racism and Black Lives Matter, social justice, and his early experiences of growing up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina, his visual narratives capture a rapidly disappearing aspect of rural southern life. Little combines real-life stories, sculpture, painting, sound installations, reconstructed buildings, and repurposed artifacts. His exploration of the signs of physical and sociological decline in American civilization runs throughout all of his work. The American Jazz Museum, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the Smithsonian Institution, and Noel Gallery have all hosted solo exhibitions of Little’s work. He currently splits his time between Portland, Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay region.

The Oregon Center for Contemporary Art is a location devoted to the arts, society, and the limitless potential of modern art. We provide inspiring art programs for Oregon’s local communities.

In My Own Little Corner is generously supported by Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights initiative. Oregon Contemporary is also supported by The Ford Family, Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, VIA Art Fund and Wagner Foundation, the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund, the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Other businesses and individuals provide additional support.

Oregon Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, Oregon 97217
United States

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