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Highlights from Self-Taught Genius

September 27, 2017–February 8, 2018
At the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
Long Island City, Queens

The new Self-Taught Genius Gallery in Long Island City launches with a selection of icons from the landmark exhibition Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum, which toured nationally from 2014 to 2017. Generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, both the new gallery and the namesake exhibition shows folk and self-taught art from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries drawn from the museum’s collection of more than 8,000 works of art.

Highlights from Self-Taught Genius is cocurated by Stacy C. Hollander, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Chief Curator, and Director of Exhibitions, and Dr. Valérie Rousseau, Curator, Art of the Self-Taught and Art Brut, both of the American Folk Art Museum.

Installation photos by Olya Vysotskaya.


Exhibition-related Programs

Critical Walk-through: Teju Cole on Self-Taught Genius
Materials and Textures: A Family Art Workshop in Self-Taught Genius
Critical Walk-through: Sarah Suzuki on Self-Taught Genius


Image credits: Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog; Ammi Phillips (1788–1865); vicinity of Amenia, New York; 1830–1835; oil on canvas; 30 × 25 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum; gift of Ralph Esmerian; 2001.37.1. Photo by John Parnell.

The Artist and His Model; Morris Hirshfield (1872–1946); Brooklyn, New York; 1945; oil on canvas; 44 × 34 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum; gift of David L. Davies; © Robert and Gail Rentzer for Estate of Morris Hirshfield, licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; 2002.23.1. Photo by Matt Flynn.

Birds Got to Have Somewhere to Roost; Thornton Dial Sr. (1928–2016); Alabama; 2012; wood, carpet scraps, corrugated tin, burlap, nails, and enamel on wood; 61 1/4 × 48 × 10 in; Collection American Folk Art Museum; gift of the Thornton Dial Family; © 2016 Estate of Thornton Dial / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; 2013.6.1. Photo by Stephen Pitkin / Pitkin Studio.

Untitled; John Bunion (J. B.) Murray (1908–1988); Sandersville, Georgia; late twentieth century; pen, ink, crayon, and watercolor on paper; 14 × 10 3/8 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum; gift of Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner; 2006.20.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Aurora; artist unidentified; New England; c. 1818–1822; watercolor on silk, with applied gold foil and paper label, in original gilded wood frame; frame dimension: 24 7/8 × 28 3/8 × 2 ¼ in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum; gift of Ralph Esmerian; 2005.8.46. Photo by John Bigelow Taylor.

Original Design Quilt; Carl Klewicke (1835–1913); Corning, New York; c. 1907; pieced silk, faille, taffeta, and satin; 60 x 72 ½ in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum; museum purchase; 2012.1.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.


Major support for the Self-Taught Genius Gallery is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Booth Ferris Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Ford Foundation, public funds from 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.

American Folk Art Museum Opens an LIC Gallery
– Victoria Zunitch