Five U.S. museums are diversifying their collections with help from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Five U.S. museums are diversifying their collections with help from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

The Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art have acquired a total of 51 works by 30 African American artists of the South from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF). The acquisitions include a large number of quilts by the revered quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, which are heading to the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the MFA Boston, and Spelman College. The Brooklyn Museum will also acquire works by Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, and James “Son Ford” Thomas; the Dallas Museum of Art is acquiring works by Dial, Ronald Lockett, and Nellie Mae Rowe; and the Morgan is acquiring drawings by Dial, Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.

SGDF Announces Five Museum Acquisitions and First-Ever Sale of Artwork to Fund Advocacy Activities

The Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF) continues to place works from its foremost collection of artworks by artists from the African American South in leading institutions around the country, today announcing agreements with the Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. An additional sale of a single artwork, Thornton Dial’s 2002 painting Fading, at Christie’s on November 16, 2018, will support the recently announced multi-year Souls Grown Deep Internship Program, which establishes paid opportunities for undergraduate students of color to work with museums receiving art from the Foundation to contribute to the study and exhibition of this artwork.

Five More Museums Acquire Art From Souls Grown Deep Foundation - The New York Times

Five More Museums Acquire Art From Souls Grown Deep Foundation - The New York Times

In a strategic effort to reshape the narrative of American art, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation will help five museums acquire paintings, sculptures and works on paper by self-taught African-American artists of the South. These acquisitions bring to 12 the number of museums that have received more than 300 works from the Atlanta-based nonprofit, through gifts and purchase.

Can You Copyright a Quilt? — The Nation

Can You Copyright a Quilt? — The Nation

In 1998, an art collector named William Arnett arrived in Wilcox County, Alabama. Over the next two years, he went door to door in the African-American hamlet of Gee’s Bend, asking women if he could see their quilts: vivid, off-kilter assemblages of worn denim, outgrown school dresses and other salvaged bits of cloth, particular to Gee’s Bend and nowhere else.

A History of Salvage - The Nation

A History of Salvage - The Nation

“History Refused to Die” proved to be a striking title for a memorable exhibition. On view at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art through late September, it marked a gift to the museum of 57 works from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta, an organization whose name derives from a poem by Langston Hughes. The foundation was started by William S. Arnett, a collector of African art who became fascinated in the 1980s by the work of self-taught black artists in the American South. Convinced that their art was part of a coherent tradition reflecting “the rich, symbolic world of the black rural South through highly charged works that address a wide range of revelatory social and political subjects,” Arnett has sponsored research, publications, and exhibitions on the subject. He has found himself dogged by controversy at times: In 1993, the arch-philistine Morley Safer aired a segment on 60 Minutes suggesting that Arnett was exploiting the artists whose work he promoted. (A full quarter-century later, Safer’s charges remain unsubstantiated.) And the gift to the Met testifies not only to the generosity of Arnett’s intentions but also to the abundant riches of the world he dedicated so much of his life to helping preserve.

Twenty-six siblings and a child labour camp: how Lonnie Holley’s epic life led to the year’s best album - The Guardian

Twenty-six siblings and a child labour camp: how Lonnie Holley’s epic life led to the year’s best album - The Guardian

Traded for a bottle of whiskey as a child, he grew up with burlesque dancers and liquor store owners, and was nearly killed in a horrific car accident. Yet through his sculpture and music, he has become a true American visionary.

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Board Chair Mary Margaret Pettway Named 2018 Alabama Humanities Fellow

Souls Grown Deep Foundation Board Chair Mary Margaret Pettway Named 2018 Alabama Humanities Fellow

National Public Radio’s Michel Martin will moderate the second Alabama Colloquium, set for Oct. 1 at the Birmingham Museum of Art, building on the strong foundation laid in the inaugural event in 2017. Alabama Humanities Foundation will honor eight fellows, who will be featured in a lively discussion of their roots in Alabama and the impact humanities has played in their lives.

Muses: Lonnie Holley on Thornton Dial, African Village in America, and Gee’s Bend Quilts - ARTnews

Muses: Lonnie Holley on Thornton Dial, African Village in America, and Gee’s Bend Quilts - ARTnews

Lonnie Holley is an artist and musician who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1950. His work as a visual artist found support from the Atlanta-based Souls Grown Deep Foundation and appeared in the recent exhibition “History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Musically, Holley garnered praise for a 2013 album, Keeping a Record of It, issued by the label Dust-to-Digital and subsequent releases—including MITH, a moving new album with Holley playing keyboard and singing spiritually searching songs—on Jajaguwar. For the latest “Muses,” Holley wrote to ARTnews with artists who mean a lot to him.

African American Artists Are More Visible Than Ever. So Why Are Museums Giving Them Short Shrift? - artnet News

African American Artists Are More Visible Than Ever. So Why Are Museums Giving Them Short Shrift? - artnet News

Our research finds that less than three percent of museum acquisitions over the past decade have been of work by African American artists.

One Man's Trash Is Another's Salvation - The Bitter Southerner

One Man's Trash Is Another's Salvation - The Bitter Southerner

Lonnie Holley, who was stolen from his mother and beaten in an Alabama work camp by the time he was 11 years old, found salvation in things the rest of us throw away. Today, “Queen Sugar” author Natalie Baszile reckons with the otherworldly creations and music of one of the South’s most distinctive artists.