Everyone has a story to tell—a life lived, witness to and participant in events both private and shared. Such moments are captured by American folk and self-taught artists in powerful visual narratives that offer firsthand testimony to chapters in the unfolding story of America from its inception to the present. This exhibition showcases more than seventy stellar works of folk and self-taught art from the museum’s collection. Beautiful, diverse, and truthful, the art illuminates the thoughts and experiences of individuals with an immediacy that is palpable and unique to these expressions.Learn more
The works of art on view in Six Decades of Collecting Self-Taught Art provide a rich snapshot of the museum’s extensive and growing collection of more than 8,500 works of art. The selection conveys the museum’s commitment to study, preserve, and present the complexity, ingenuity, and relevance of artistic creations that have emerged in the United States and internationally.Learn more
By its nature, the signature quilt is meant to be read not only as a whole but also square by square. Although the form is known by various names—including friendship, album, and fundraising quilts—what all of these types share in common is the composite nature of the quilting project, in which individual signed blocks have been brought together to form a larger design. Often a group undertaking, each block was typically named for, and frequently made and/or paid for by, a different member of a community.Learn more
PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie presents the first international survey of self-taught photography. Gathering works dating from 1870 to the present by artists from various countries, the exhibition reveals the critical potential of this still relatively unexplored segment of the research on art brut.
Major support for this exhibition is provided by Julie Lindberg, with additional support by Deborah Davenport and Stewart Stender, David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, Michael Del Castello, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation, and the Council for Traditional Folk Art.Learn more
Accra-based artist and craftsman Paa Joe (b. 1947), known for his figurative coffins that draw from the traditional Ghanaian custom of abebuu adekai, gained international recognition in seminal presentations like Magicians of the Earth (Pompidou, 1989). This exhibition presents a unique series of large-scale painted wood sculptures commissioned in 2004 and 2005—architectural models of Gold Coast castles and forts that served as way stations for more than six million Africans sold into slavery and sent to the Americas and the Caribbean between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Once forced through these “Gates of No Return,” they started an irreversible, perilous journey during which many died. This production alludes to Paa Joe’s coffins, seen as vessels ferrying the dead in the afterlife, speaking to spirits separated from bodies in trauma. Archival documents and recordings accompany the show.