News & Events

June 29, 2018

At what point does an artist become so thoroughly absorbed into the mainstream art world that the term “outsider artist” no longer applies? And is it even a useful term in the first place, or does it only constrain our understanding of an artist’s work? These questions are at the heart of the current conversation around self-taught artist Thornton Dial, who was born into poverty in Alabama in 1928 but lived to see his work acquired by some of the most august museums in the world.

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June 28, 2018

A monthly gathering of personal enthusiasms and observations about the passing scene, Field Notes will, in the tradition of The Nation, draw attention to things overlooked or often misunderstood. This first installment of Field Notes celebrates the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, where the story of American art is being rewritten in museums across this country.

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May 24, 2018

American art from the 20th and 21st centuries is broader, and better than previously acknowledged, especially by museums. As these institutions struggle to become more inclusive than before, and give new prominence to neglected works, they rarely act alone. Essential help has come from people like William Arnett and his exemplary Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Their focus is the important achievement of black self-taught artists of the American South, born of extreme deprivation and social cruelty, raw talent and fragments of lost African cultures.

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