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Best Thematic Show

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One Planet Under a Groove: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art offered Atlanta artists the kind of high-powered exhibition of provocative, timely work they would normally have to travel to New York to ingest. Instead, New York curators Franklin Sirmans and Lydia Lee's groundbreaking exhibition brought the goods to Atlanta. In a show that originated at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, One Planet featured a brilliant array of old and new top-notch international artists such as Adrian Piper, Nikki Lee, Mel Chin, Chris Ofili and Keith Haring, all investigating the impact of graffiti, hip-hop and race on American culture and art. The show also marked the SPELMAN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF FINE ART's refreshing new focus on showing cutting-edge work.

350 Spelman Lane, 404-215-2583. www.museum.spelman.edu

How free are you really? BEACON DANCE built To Air is Human -- the finale of their four-part epic, "The Elemental Project" -- around several slightly subversive questions about freedom. Dressed in billowing white, the dancers moved through a dilapidated warehouse in a series of multidisciplinary improvisations inspired by the qualities of air, then shed their clothes and walked out a back door into the obliging rain. Art and politics don't always mix well, but director D. Patton White deftly avoided the Potemkin pitfall with rich and surprising movement, breathing soaring visions of anarchy into the dreams of somnolent souls.

www.beacondance.org

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