Exhibitions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
May 22 - September 23, 2018

This exhibition will present 30 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and quilts by self-taught contemporary African American artists to celebrate the 2014 gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art of works of art from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

National Gallery of Art
January 28, 2018 to May 13, 2018

Self-taught artists—variously termed folk, primitive, visionary, naïve, and outsider—have played a significant role in the history of modernism, yet their contributions have been largely disregarded or forgotten. Again and again in the United States during the past century, vanguard artists found affinities and inspiration in the work of their untutored, marginalized peers and became staunch advocates, embracing them as fellow artists.

de Young Museum
June 3, 2017 to April 1, 2018

"Revelations: Art from the African American South" celebrates the debut of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco major acquisition from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta of 62 works by contemporary African American artists from the Southern United States.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
September 1, 2016 to January 8, 2017

The Nasher Museum presented "Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art," which questioned and explored the complex and contested space of the American South. One needs to look no further than literature, cuisine and music to see evidence of the South’s profound influence on American culture, and consequently much of the world.

American Folk Art Museum
June 21 - September 18, 2016

Organized by the Ackland Art Museum, "Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett" is a groundbreaking retrospective of a passionately inspired and little-understood figure in twentieth-century American art. The first solo exhibition of Ronald Lockett’s art, "Fever Within" emphasizes the powerful themes the artist explored over the course of his career through about 50 of his works of art.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
August 22, 2015 to October 10, 2015

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art has organized a multi-faceted showcase of American artist and musician Lonnie Holley. The exhibition will feature a selection of 40 works on loan from the artist, collector William Arnett, and the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

80 Washington Square East Gallery, NYC
June 9 - August 7, 2015

Taking its title from folklorist William Ferris’s seminal text on Thomas’s work, "The Devil and His Blues" will be the first major institutional solo presentation of James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas’s sculpture to take place since the artist’s death in 1993. The exhibition will include 100 of his unfired clay objects.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
March 27, 2014 to June 29, 2014

"When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South" queries the category of “outsider” art in relation to contemporary art and black life. With the majority of work having been made between 1964 and 2014, the exhibition brings together a group of thirty-five intergenerational American artists who share an interest in the U.S. South as a location both real and imagined.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
May 25 - September 2, 2012

This 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 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.”

Ackland Art Museum
March 30 – July 1, 2012

One of America’s most remarkable living artists, Thornton Dial is widely recognized for his large-scale, multimedia assemblages, yet his most abundant body of work is his drawings, which he began producing in the early 1990s. Organized by the Ackland Art Museum, "Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper" will feature 50 of Dial’s earliest drawings from 1990-1991, a pivotal moment in his artistic career.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
February 25 - September 18, 2011

"Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton 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 works on view for the first time.

Museum of International Folk Art
November 16, 2007 – May 11, 2008

This exhibition puts the Gee’s Bend quilts in context by featuring the work of master quilt maker Mary Lee Bendolph and those she influenced, accompanied by the art of artists working in the found-object tradition who are part of her artistic sphere, including Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
June 4 – September 4, 2006

"Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt" features seventy spectacular quilts made by four generations of women in Gee's Bend, a small, isolated African American community in southwest Alabama. With bold improvisation of traditional quilt motifs, these women have created a style all their own. Made between the 1930s and the present, the Gee's Bend quilts’ bright patterns, inventive color combinations, lively irregularities and unexpected compositional variations make them outstanding examples of modern art.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
September 25, 2005 - January 8, 2006

This groundbreaking exhibition follows the artist’s exploration of interlined topics, including a halting suite of works about 9/11; contemporary "history paintings" on life in America since the events of 9/11; homages to his friends, the women quilt makers of Gee’s Bend, Ala.; memories of vanishing ways of life and his childhood in the the South; and evocations of human struggles for freedom.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
September 6 – November 10, 2002

"The Quilts of Gee’s Bend" celebrates the artistic legacy of four generations of African-American women from a small, historically all-black community in rural southern Alabama. This exhibition of over sixty extraordinary quilts that were made between 1930 and 2000 showcases a body of work that is bold, spirited, moving, and hailed by Michael Kimmelman, in The New York Times, as “some of the most miraculous works of art America has produced.”

Michael C. Carlos Museum at City Hall East
June 29 - November 3, 1996

"Souls Grown Deep: African-American Vernacular Art of the South," a groundbreaking exhibition of over 450 artworks by some 30 contemporary artists, highlighting a significant artistic tradition that has risen in concert with the Civil Rights Movement. This exhibition presents an art form that is universal in its appeal and currency yet highly individuated in its origins within the African-American South.

Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University
June 28, 1996 to October 15, 1996

Thornton Dial: Remembering the Road features 75 relief paintings works on paper and sculptures created by Alabama artist Thornton Dial over the last decade.

New Museum / American Folk Art Museum
November 17, 1993 - January 2, 1994

"Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger" was the first major solo museum exhibition of the 65-year-old African American painter. Organized by guest curator, Thomas McEvilley, this exhibition was presented at both The New Museum and the American Folk Art Museum. It included approximately twenty paintings at each venue, along with works on paper from 1988-1993.