Her Story: Self-Taught African-American Women Artists
This exhibition is organized in
recognition and observance of black history month and women's history month. It
is a comprehensive survey exhibition of self-taught African-American women
artists over the last thirty to forty years in the
Since I am a university teacher of art, my first purpose in curating this exhibition, is to show this extraordinary work to our art students, to the university as a whole, and to the larger community. As a collector of self-taught art, a visual artist, and a teacher, I have made use of my knowledge of these artists, as well as several collectors and dealers to find the best pieces that were available for the exhibition. I have chosen the works for visual impact, art historical significance, and in many cases, for content related to black history and/or women's history. My intentions have been to select a representative body of visual art made by these artists and design a visual exhibition which, hopefully, encourages and stimulates thought and discourse on the part of the viewers. Additionally, it has been my intent and hope, that this exhibition would provide a context in which scholars of black history and women's history could and would react and respond. Seventeen of the artists are self-taught. One of the women, Beverly Buchanan, is academically trained as an artist. Her work, in terms of concept/content, is intentionally influenced by self-taught art. Academically trained, mainstream artists have been influenced by self-taught art or "folk art" at least since the early part of the twentieth century with the cubist movement. In recent years, this influence has been a very important part of much contemporary, mainstream visual art. I have included Buchanan's work as an example but also to hopefully cause some discussion/discourse of this as a critical art issue.
There are many individuals and
organizations whose help, advice and support have made this exhibition
possible. I want to thank everyone who has loaned art or provided support and
they will be listed and acknowledged elsewhere. Here, I would like to
acknowledge and thank a few individuals who in various ways have helped make
this a much stronger exhibition than initially expected. Thanks to Barb Bondy, the
Most importantly, thanks to the artists whose homes I visited, and for the work they created and loaned. I am always humbled by the gracious warmth, courtesy, and generosity of these artists.