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Stranger, Harder, Brighter: The 2019 Burnaway Reader
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This limited-run print anthology features the magazine’s best stories since its tenth anniversary last year alongside newly commissioned essays and profiles.

Stranger, Harder, Brighter is Burnaway’s first print publication in five years and its most ambitious yet, representing a renewed editorial vision and expanded cultural scope for the magazine. Following assistant editor Jasmine Amussen’s “Letter from Atlanta: Old Town Fury Road”—which traces the rise of Lil Nas X and the Black Yeehaw Agenda, accompanied here by a new post-script—Stranger, Harder, Brighter is organized into three thematic sections that reflect the concerns and questions Burnaway has pursued in the past year.

In “Cartographies of the Global South,” artists, writers, and curators consider intersections between the American South and the Global South, particularly acknowledging shared histories between the Caribbean and South Florida, as well as the presence and influence of Latinx and Afro-Latinx communities in the region. In the following section, “Artworks and Art Workers in Crisis,” artists and their allies raise urgent questions about the fraught dynamics between art, labor, class, and technology in the twenty-first century. Artists from Kentucky to Mississippi to Miami are the subjects of the anthology’s final section, “Profiles and Conversations.” In addition to Diana C. Stoll’s portrait of East Tennessee photographer Mike Smith and a photo-essay documenting Joe Minter’s African Village in America in Birmingham, this section features a new profile of artist Coulter Fussell—whose quilts indiscriminately merge the influences of contemporary abstract painting and Southern craft—and brief sketches of eight artists across the South by curator Daniel Fuller.

Punctuating each of these three sections is an installment of “Mood Ring,” the series of artists’ projects introduced by Burnaway this year. Mo Costello meditates on lyrical images of intimacy and loss, Brian Hitselberger is redeemed by the power of drag, and—in a print exclusive—Emma McMillan spatially inverts architecture as painting in the shadow of John Portman.

Stranger, Harder, Brighter is not only an anthology but also a guidebook for contemporary art in the South, featuring guides to museums and galleries in Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, New Orleans, and Miami, and an index of DIY spaces across the region.

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