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Six Decades Collecting Self-Taught Art

August 26, 2019–January 3, 2021
At the American Folk Art Museum
2 Lincoln Square, Manhattan

The works of art on view in Six Decades 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.

For centuries, changes in personal life, culture, and technology have provoked meaningful artistic responses and practices. The expansive perspective taken through this exhibition embraces diverse narratives and finds entry to connect these works of hand, heart, and mind to our contemporary perceptions. Works by Edward Hicks and other nineteenth century artists tell the story of historical folk art in the United States. Twentieth and twenty-first century works by idiosyncratic artists such as Aloise Corbaz, Henry Darger, Horace Pippin, and Judith Scott further demonstrate unconventional paths to creativity that may translate alternative experiences, circumstances, and systems of belief.

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Outpost Raid: Champagne Sector; Horace Pippin (1888-1946); West Chester, Pennsylvania; 1931; oil on fabric; 18 x 21 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York; Gift of Patricia L. and Maurice C. Thompson Jr., 1999.25.1; Photo by John Parnell

Paix Christi (double-sided); Aloïse Corbaz ((1886–1964); Switzerland; Mid-twentieth century; Crayon, colored pencil, geranium-flower juice, and thread on machine-woven paper; gift of Etienne Forel and Jacqueline Porret-Forel in honor of Sam and Betsey Farber, 2002.8.1B; Photo Credit: Gavin Ashworth⁠⠀

Untitled (Long Pole); Judith Scott (1943–2005); Oakland, California; 1995; Yarn and fabric with unknown armature; 4 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 101 in.; gift of Creative Growth Art Center, 2002.21.4; Photo Credit: Gavin Ashworth

Colonel Jack F Evans; Henry Darger (1892–1973); Chicago, Illinois, United States; Mid-twentieth century; watercolor, pencil, ink, and collage on board; 13 3/4 × 11 1/2 in.; Museum purchase © Kiyoko Lerner, 2002.22.5. Photo Credit: Gavin Ashworth


The Learning and Engagement Gallery is sponsored in part by Daniel Greenberg, Susan Steinhauser, and the Greenberg Foundation. Installation photography by Olya Vysotskaya