Exhibitions: Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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    Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980

    • Dates: July 4, 1982 through September 12, 1982
    • Collections: American Art
    Press Releases ?
    • Date unknown, 1982: “Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980”, an exhibition featuring over 325 works by twenty Black folk artists will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from July 3rd through September 12, 1982.

      This unprecedented exhibition explores the achievement of 20th century Black folk art as seen in paintings, wood carvings, ceramics and utilitarian objects. The majority of the artists represented began making art as older adults, and almost all of them attribute their motivation to personal revelations. They take their inspiration not only from memory, nature, and everyday events but also from dreams, visions, and religious prophets to renowned politicians, fantastic creatures to farm animals, and faraway lands to hometown scenes. Most of these talented artists were not formally trained, and the works demonstrate a break from traditional and formalized art.

      “Black Folk Art in America” displays a wide variety of art forms. There are imaginary landscapes by Joseph Yoakum, painted tin sculptures and whirligigs by David Butler, a miniature navy created by Walter Flax, and narrative Biblical paintings by Sister Gertrude Morgan. The show examines the significance of Black creative ability within the context of folk art.

      A 175 page catalogue of the exhibition ($20) will be available at The Gallery Shop at The Brooklyn Museum. In addition, to a special Art School course, a lively series of public programs will be presented in celebration of the exhibition.

      “Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980” is supported by grants from the Atlantic Richfield Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency, Washington, D.C. The exhibition was organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1982, 006-7. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

    • GOING OUT GUIDEJuly 24, 1982 By Richard F. Shepard"JUST FOLKS We never speak of folk writing, but we do speak of folk music and folk art, works created by people who are not professionals, who do something else for a living and who are not ''educated'' in more formal modes of expression. An exhibition of art by a folk who form a special category in American society is now on view, through Sept. 12,..." (New York Times Fee Required)
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    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
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