Dear members and friends,
On behalf of all of us at the American Folk Art Museum, I wish you all a bright holiday season. I am pleased to report that the American Folk Art Museum is publishing more than 10,000 pages of original research and scholarship in the fields of traditional and early American folk art and the creative expressions of self-taught artists. The Museum received grants from Trustee Karin Fielding and her husband, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, which matched funding from the Friends of Heritage Preservation. These grants were spurred by a gift from the American Folk Art Society, and together they made possible the digitization and publication of original issues of The Clarion and Folk Art, magazines the Museum produced from 1971 through 2008. These 118 lavishly illustrated volumes were scanned page by page, and they are now available here, where you can also find an index of the major articles in each issue. Browsers are now able to search for terms in the text by issue. However, soon it will be possible for browsers to search by artist, title, or type of artwork, with a more detailed, overarching index of the entire body of magazines.
alt_quilts: Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes, Stephen Sollins continues through January 5, 2014. The lively color and playful imagery of Luke Haynes’s quilts juxtaposed with Stephen Sollins’s works—all meticulously assembled from carefully charted bits of used paper—provide interesting counterpoint and insight into the meanings and forms of quilts in our day. Stephen Sollins will lead a tour in our galleries on Thursday, December 12, at 6 p.m., discussing the traditional quilts on view in the exhibition and how they embed (no pun intended) aspects of communication by their patterns and artistic choices. This program is free, but reservations are recommended; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Artist Sabrina Gschwandtner’s assemblages are made with film footage, which she found at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and which she sewed together, strip by strip. The historic film footage depicts work that, like quiltmaking, is traditionally associated with women. The multicolored hues of the aged and discolored film, some of which has been intentionally painted or scratched by the artist, also make this work an important homage to quilts. Shown on lightboxes, these works are deceptive and dramatic. I urge you to see the exhibition before it closes next month. Chief Curator Stacy C. Hollander, who organized the exhibition, will lead a tour on Thursday, December 12, at 1 p.m.—not to be missed!
Dr. Valérie Rousseau, Curator of Art of the Self-Taught and Art Brut, returned from an October trip to Paris. At the Outsider Art Fair Paris, she organized two panel discussions sponsored by the Museum, with international scholars and curators Jean-Hubert Martin, Nanette Jacomijn Snoep, Sandra Adam-Couralet, and Barbara Safarova. In addition, she delivered a lecture on Bill Traylor and art brut in the United States during a seminar led by associate professor Barbara Safarova at the Collège International de Philosophie, in collaboration with La maison rouge & abcd. Rousseau is the editor of the proceedings of the American Folk Art Museum’s recent Bill Traylor symposium, which will be published soon.
Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art opens on January 21, 2014. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year.
The Honorable Anne-Imelda Radice, PhD