Last Days, closing Aug 17:
American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, NYC (at 66th St)
At the turn of the twentieth century, the field of American folk art was being defined by collectors, professional artists, critics, dealers, and curators whose search for an authentic American art seemed to be finally answered in works that presented a multivalent picture of national identity, faith, progress, ingenuity, community, and individuality. As the field matured under the umbrella of “folk art,” it was also expanded to include a wider variety of expressions and artists working in the present. For the last twenty years, the term “self-taught” has more regularly come to address artistic inspiration emerging from unsuspected paths and unconventional places, giving voice to individuals situated outside the social consensus. This exhibition proposes a reframing of the conversation to consider the continuum of American folk art through the concept of “self-taught genius” as an elastic and enduring notion whose meaning has evolved over time.
pictured: Archangel Gabriel Inn Sign & Phrenological Head (Asa Ames)