fall 2013 / 7
Cole confronts prevalence of intolerance through “Hate
Project” art installation
Just what does “hate” mean? How does it spread?
How can intolerance be stopped?
Those questions and more were raised by “The
Hate Project,” an art exhibition by BSC Art and
Art History Professor Steve Cole that debuted at
Birmingham-Southern’s Durbin Gallery Sept.
6-26. Timed to launch the same month as the 50th
anniversary of the racist bombing at Birmingham’s
16th Street Baptist Church that killed four girls, the
installation depicted the prevalence of intolerance
and hate nationwide.
The installation mapped the 1,000-plus hate
groups currently active in the United States
as identified by the Southern Poverty Law
Center. Groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, White
Nationalists, Christian Identity, Neo-Nazis, Anti-
Gay, Racist Skinheads, and more were represented
by 10-inch cast figurines arranged state-by-state on a
42-foot gallery floor.
The project was supported by a grant from
the Associated Colleges of the South. As well as
opening a community-wide dialogue about hate, it
was designed to give BSC students an opportunity to
help craft the piece and to get hands-on experience
planning an exhibition, from organizing the gallery
space to dealing with storing and shipping the work
when it travels to other locations later in the year.
“The Hate Project” was part of “Forward,
Ever Birmingham!,” BSC’s commemoration of
Birmingham’s pivotal role in the movement for and
toward global human rights.
As part of the commemoration, best-selling author
Sena Jeter Naslund ’64 visited campus in September
for a “
: Presentation, Reading, and Book
Signing.” Naslund’s novel,
, is set in civil
rights-era Birmingham and takes its title from the
Sept. 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist
On Nov. 2, a ceremony will be held to honor
Ulysses “Skip” Bennett ’67, the first black student
to matriculate at BSC, during halftime of the
Homecoming football game at Panther Stadium.
Cole in his studio with his dog, Twombly.