When the Stars Begin to Fall brings together 35 artists of different generations and working in different mediums who share an interest in the American South as both a real and fabled place. Key to the exhibition is the relationship between contemporary art, black life, and “outsider” art, a historically fraught category typically encompassing artists who have not received formal art training and who may have been marginalized in society. 

When the Stars Begin to Fall includes art works by self-taught, spiritually inspired, and incarcerated artists alongside projects by prominent contemporary artists such as Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, David Hammons, and Theaster Gates. It presents diverse artworks—from drawing and painting to performance, sculpture, and assemblage—unified by an insistent reference to place.

When the Stars Begin to Fall was curated by Thomas J. Lax for The Studio Museum in Harlem and organized for the ICA by Ruth Erickson, Assistant Curator.

Support for When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ed Bradley Family Foundation.

Support for the Boston presentation is provided by Charles and Fran Rodgers.