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Black Folk Art in America, 1930-1980

DATES July 04, 1982 through September 12, 1982
  • July 4, 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.
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