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Current Exhibition

Optician's Trade Sign

E. G. Washburne & Co.

Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art

March 15, 2019–July 28, 2019
At the American Folk Art Museum
Lincoln Square, Manhattan

Folk art has flourished in the heart of New York City since the eighteenth century, contrary to popular belief that it was a rural genre that reflected local tastes, traditions, and needs. In fact, many of the objects that have been associated with the heartland were manufactured and used in New York City by artists and artisans who, in the tradition of self-taught artists around the world, learned their skills by joining family businesses, apprenticing to masters, or by teaching themselves the expertise needed to produce those pieces that we now consider among the core expressions of American folk art. Around 100 works of art by self-taught artists tell the story about New York City as the center of America’s financial and commercial world from two perspectives simultaneously: “The Art of Business” portrays the people and places that were part of the city’s thrumming commercial life, and “The Business of Art” highlights the diverse mediums and formats used by the artists, artisans, and manufacturers. The exhibition will draw on the collections of a number of New York City museums, including the American Folk Art Museum, The New-York Historical Society, and historical societies and museums in all five boroughs, as well as private collections.

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Current Exhibition


Malcah Zeldis

New York Experienced

February 19, 2019–May 30, 2019
At the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
Long Island City, Queens

New York Experienced explores the connection between self-taught art and the New York spirit through a selection of works from the American Folk Art Museum’s collection made in the greater New York City area. The metropolis’s distinctive magic is often credited to the large, diverse, and enterprising population who call the city and its environs home. The artworks on view by such artists as Ralph Fasanella (1914–1997), Malcah Zeldis (b. 1931), Gregorio Marzán (1906–1997), and Harry Lieberman (1876–1983), among many others, reflect daily life in and around the city from recognizable cityscapes and private domestic scenes to abstract works that reveal interior lives through the act of making.

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