Closer-Look Tours, Craft Nights, and Live Music: February eNews 2012

This e-mail has been forwarded by Catherine Smith (csmithsmithusa@gmail.com)

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American Folk Art Museum

Thanks to those of you who joined us in some of the activities for this year’s 20th annual Outsider Art Fair. Kicking off the weekend Friday afternoon was lively discussion with artist Kevin Sampson about the “Roots of the Spirit” installation in Venice in 2011. Rounding out the weekend on Sunday morning at the museum, we hosted Uncommon Artists XX, the Anne Hill Blanchard Symposium, to a standing-room-only crowd!

We are back in action with a full month of tours, live music events, and crafting workshops, including a very special workshop on the strip-piecing quiltmaking technique inspired by Anglo and African American cultural traditions. Visit the museum calendar for more information.

Click here to read the wonderful review of “Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined” in the New York Times. Ken Johnson lauded the show as “a wonderful exhibition” from “this irreplaceable institution.”

A big thank-you to all our members and contributors for your continued support. Our January 17th exhibition opening was a great success and we hope to see you at the museum soon.

Photography by Eric Harvey Brown.
Shop Highlight

“Love Is All You Need” Pillow

A perfect gift for Valentine’s Day (or any occasion), this cozy handhooked pillow is sure to add warmth and charm to any room. The pillow is made of 100 percent New Zealand wool and is designed by Laura Megroz. It has a zippered velveteen backing and comes complete with a pillow insert. Imported. 8 x 24 in.

Regular price: $38.00
Member price: $34.20
To order, please call 212. 595. 9533, ext. 124.

Exhibitions
Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined (through September 2, 2012)

Life is not lived in black and white: reality may have the tinge of dreams and dreams an air of reality. This provocative tension exists between the experiential nature of early American folk art and the fantastical imagery it often displays—between what is real and what is imagined. The same is true of the work of contemporary self-taught artists, which may introduce unique—and sometimes puzzling—expressions that illuminate the iconoclastic nature that is the flip side of the collective American psyche. More>

9/11 National Tribute Quilt (on continuous view)

The 9/11 National Tribute Quilt represents the response of the Steel Quilters of United States Steel Corporation to the events of September 11, 2001. This small quilt club conceived the monumental undertaking, ultimately receiving quilt blocks from all fifty states as well as Canada, Spain, Denmark, and Australia. The quilt measures eight feet high by 30 feet wide, and is constructed of 3,466 blocks in six panels. The four central panels form a montage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center against the New York City skyline. These are flanked by panels dedicated to the lives extinguished on the four flights and at the Pentagon. Each three-inch-square block bears the name of one person who perished in the disaster. More>

Collection Highlight & Folk Art Fun

On display in Jubilation|Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined is Bill Traylor’s Man with a Plow. Traylor made art for only three years, from 1939 to 1942, by which time he was in his 80s. Traylor had spent his entire life at the George Traylor Plantation in Benton, Alabama, first as an enslaved child and fieldworker, then—after emancipation—as a freed farmworker. When he left the plantation at age eighty-four and moved to Montgomery, he freed his artistic spirit as well. In those three short years, the artist created art on the streets of the city. He worked with found material—laundry shirt boards for a surface, discarded pencil stubs and paint for line and color—and in a very public setting, producing about 1,500 works on paper.

Traylor was a master of composition and a gifted storyteller. He demonstrated his consummate skill and confidence with a strong, unwavering pencil line, sharply delineated forms against plain backgrounds, and an overall interaction of negative and positive space. Evident pencil markings illustrate the artist’s process; he would usually lay down geometric shapes in pencil to create an animal, person, or architectural folly. Then he would fill in the lines with paint of a very limited palette—usually red, blue, brown, and black. Traylor’s documents of the life around him are stripped of extraneous detail, pared down to their essences, and transformed into universal works of iconic power.

Man with a Plow reveals Traylor’s ability to imbue his images with a sense of optimism. An electric-blue male figure stands behind common elements of a working farm—the mule and the plow. The man manages the large mule before him with delicately penciled reins. His determined expression and sprightly gait are underscored by one leg flung forward with grace. The mule works cooperatively and vigorously, judging from the position of his forelegs, which are elevated and in motion. Traylor’s innate understanding of this basic farm chore is clearly communicated in this sensitive reading.

Thanks to everyone who entered January’s Folk Art Fun contest and congratulations to our winner, Kathy Anderson. If Marino Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace of the World were actually built, the palace would stand 136 stories and 2,322 feet, which would have made it the tallest building in the world at the time Auriti imagined it.

This month’s challenge: Posthumous portraiture was most prevalent in America during the nineteenth century, when the importance of the nuclear family resisted even death’s efforts to tear it asunder. Portraits after death were taken from the corpse, adapted from existing daguerreotypes, based on earlier portraits, or even modeled on family members with similar features. Can you indentify two of the three symbols in this portrait attributed to George G. Hartwell that indicate the painting was created posthumously?

To win a copy of Painted Saws/Jacob Kass, e-mail your answer to Courtney Wagner at cwagner@folkartmuseum.org, with “Folk Art Fun” in the subject line.

Calendar of Events

Tuesday, 2/7
1 pm
Closer-Look Tour

With curator emerita Lee Kogan

Wednesday, 2/8
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

Thursday, 2/9
1 pm
Public Tour
With the museum’s gallery guides

6 pm
Make It Thursday
Leather Card Holders with museum staff

Friday, 2/10
6 pm
Free Music Fridays
Featuring Alec Gross and John Schmitt

Tuesday, 2/14
1 pm
Closer-Look Tour
With curator emerita Lee Kogan

Wednesday, 2/15
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

Thursday, 2/16
1 pm
Public Tour
With the museum’s gallery guides

Friday, 2/17
5:30 pm
Free Music Fridays
Featuring Warren Scott Band, Bryan Dunn, Andi Rae Healy

Tuesday, 2/21
1 pm
Closer-Look Tour
With senior curator Stacy C. Hollander

Wednesday, 2/22
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

Thursday, 2/23
1 pm
Public Tour
With the museum’s gallery guides

6 pm
Make It Thursday
Lace Knitting with designer Shirley Paden

Friday, 2/24
5:30 pm
Free Music Fridays
Featuring Jeremiah Birnbaum, Steph Allen, Julia Barry

Sunday, 2/26
11 am
Craft Workshop: Strings & Scraps Quilt Block
In celebration of Black History Month

Tuesday, 2/28
1 pm
Closer-Look Tour
With curator emerita Lee Kogan

Wednesday, 2/29
2 pm
Guitar Afternoon
With jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guests

DAVID AND CATHERINE STOLP CRANE (detail) / Sheldon Peck (1797–1868) /Aurora, Illinois / c. 1845 / oil on canvas / 35 11/16 x 43 5/8 in. / American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.51

AURORA (detail) / artist unidentified / New England / c. 1818–1822 / watercolor on silk with applied gold foil and paper label, in original gilded wood frame / 21 3/8 x 24 5/8 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.46 / photo © 2000 John Bigelow Taylor

NATIONAL TRIBUTE QUILT (detail) / organized and assembled by the Steel Quilters / Pittsburgh / 2002 / cotton and mixed media / 8 x 30 ft. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of the Steel Quilters: Kathy S. Crawford, Amber M. Dalley, Jian X. Li, and Dorothy L. Simback, with the help of countless others in tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on America, 2002.14.1

MAN WITH A PLOW/ Bill Traylor (1852/56–1949) / Montgomery, Alabama / c. 1939–1942 / poster paint and pencil on paperboard / 15 x 25 3/4 in. / American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.267 / photo courtesy Sotheby’s New York

CHILD HOLDING A DOLL AND SHOE / attributed to George G. Hartwell (1815–1901) / probably Massachusetts or Maine / c. 1845 / oil on canvas / 26 3/4 x 21 3/4 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Robert Bishop, 1992.10.1 / photo by Gavin Ashworth



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