On October 3, 2012 David Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clarke) took time out from their “Love This Giant” tour to visit the Souls Grown Deep Foundation warehouse in Atlanta.
Posted by Matt Arnett
My dad’s work documenting African American art has been compared often to the work of Alan Lomax, and his father John, who documented music of the people throughout the world (the most notable comparison was in a long article about Tinwood’s books in the Los Angeles Times Magazine). Sadly, they never met. In 1991, in an interview on CBS, Lomax made the statement below, which could very easily have been made by William Arnett .
“I think our job is to represent all the submerged cultures in the world. You and your CBS and other big amusement industries represent a way of silencing everybody. Communication was supposed to be two ways but it has turned out to be basically one way. From those people who can afford to own a transmitter, which costs a few million dollars, to the little guy who can afford to own a receiver that costs a few bucks. So there are millions of receivers and people at the other end and only a few transmitters, and I think that is one of the major, if not the major, human problem now. Because everybody is off the air.”
Alan Lomax, 1991
I think the internet has certainly made an impact on Lomax’s major concern, as it relates to music. Unfortunately, in the world of the visual arts, the transmitters (the museums and galleries) still have a stranglehold on the information and how and if it gets out. This is changing, but much more slowly than it should.
My dad (with the assistance of Jane Fonda) started Tinwood Books as a way to help even out the balance of power between the transmitters and the receivers.
A link to Darryl Pinckney’s article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine:
Listen to Conversations with David Lewis featuring Lonnie Holley and Bill Arnett.
Also check out Bill Arnett on Sidewalk Radio with Gene Kansas, where he discuses his unorthodox path through the world of art history and contemporary art.
On Wednesday, June 27, Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial opened at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The evening featured a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Creation Story: Gee’s Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial opened May 25, 2012 at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee. The exhibition explores parallels and intersections in the works of the world-famous Gee’s Bend quilters and the self-taught master of assemblage art, Thornton Dial. Quilts made by the women of Gee’s Bend, a small rural community southwest of Selma, Ala., feature a sophisticated orchestration of color and eccentric quasi-geometric shapes composing what the New York Times has said are “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.” The 82-year-old Thornton Dial has earned international recognition as one of the most compelling and original voices of our time. Rich in allusion and metaphor, Dial’s dynamic assemblages weave together memories of his own life with reflections on universal experiences of struggle and triumph. He shares with the quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend a debt to African American aesthetic traditions, most notably the cemetery constructions and yard art of the rural South, as well as an inventive approach to the reconstruction of found materials in the creation of an extraordinary visual poetry.
Exhibit runs May 25-Sept 2, 2012. www.fristcenter.org
This exhibition has been organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Atlanta, Ga.
The New Orleans Museum of Art celebrated the opening of “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial” on March 1, 2012, welcoming Dial and his family, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Indianapolis Museum of Art curator Joanne Cubbs, and many more supporters. The exhibit, on view until May 20, presents more than 40 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures.
“Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial a must-see at NOMA” - Read the review of Hard Truths in the Times-Picayune
HARD TRUTHS: THE ART OF THORNTON DIAL opens February 24, 2012 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The show was organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and curated by Joanne Cubbs. It features 70 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures, including 25 new works.
According to NOMA’s website:
Hard Truths: The Art of Thorton Dial highlights the artist’s significant contribution to the field of American art and shows how Dial’s work speaks to the most pressing issues of our time—including the war in Iraq, 9/11, and social issues like racism and homelessness. The exhibition presents 70 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures, including 25 new works. Spanning twenty years of his work as an artist, it is the most extensive showing of his art ever mounted and is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
We hope to see you there!
Thornton Dial’s artwork is featured in the recently released L’Art du Jazz, a compilation of essays edited by Francis Hofstein. Dial’s work is featured prominently in an essay by Greg Tate titled “Thornton Dial : libre, noir et éclairant les ténèbres du monde.” The book is only available in Europe. If you need a copy, click here.
A portrait of Thornton Dial graces the cover of Jerry Siegel’s recently released book of artist portraits titled Facing South. The book also includes portraits of Lonnie Holley and Charlie Lucas, both featured artists in the Souls Grown Deep Collection. According to the author’s site:
For more than fifteen years, Jerry Siegel has been photographing southern artists. Following in the footsteps of his namesake uncle, Jerry Siegel–who was one of the earliest collectors and promoters of southern artists–the younger Siegel continually traces regional southern artistic talent back to its creators, whom he captures in portraits as emotionally affecting as they are visually striking.
Facing South: Portraits of Southern Artists reproduces, in both black-and-white and color, one hundred of these portraits of the artists that Siegel has worked with–potters, sculptures, and photographers. Facing South also includes two essays, one on the nature of photographic portraiture by Julian Cox and one on the regional countenance reflected in Siegel’s portraits by Dennis Harper. Brief biographies of the one hundred subjects are also included.
December 23, 2011
Karen Wilkin of the Wall Street Journal included Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial in her Best of Art 2011 alongside major shows of Degas, de Kooning, and the new Islamic wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of Hard Truths Wilkin writes:
At the Indianapolis Museum of Art, “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial” honored an American original. The self-taught Mr. Dial, born in 1928 in rural Alabama, invented a personal, vernacular approach to collage: aggressively articulated, expressively—and beautifully—colored constructions incorporating a startling assortment of scavenged materials. Two decades of relief paintings, free-standing sculptures and drawings attested to Mr. Dial’s power. Their titles asserted deep convictions about ecology, civil rights, the role of women, and politics; their quirky materiality declared their affinity with the oddball objects in Southern “yard shows,” but no special pleading was required for the art or its author. Whatever the works’ lineage or motivations, whatever Mr. Dial’s history, “Hard Truths” was an impressive survey of first-rate works by a major artist. Period. Read more…