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Displaying items by tag: American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum was cited by Roberta Smith of the New York Times for presenting one of the top ten exhibitions of the year: When the Curtain Never Comes Down.

This is the third year in a row that the museum has been honored by end-of-year praise. Last year, Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic was cited by art critics at Time Out New York as one of the top ten exhibitions of the year. And in 2013, Roberta Smith noted the importance of the museum's exhibitions of works by Bill Traylor.

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The Museum of Modern Art is planning its biggest masterpiece yet, not that you’ll get it.

The museum is moving ahead with plans for an estimated $93 million expansion at the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, according to an application filed with the New York City Department of Buildings Tuesday.

The plans for an adjacent lot, at 45 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, call for 32,842 square feet of new space, which will include theaters, a library/lounge, classrooms, exhibit space and gardens, the application indicates.

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Jean Dubuffet believed that art by self-taught and so-called outsider artists possessed an authenticity and creative imagination that was missing from professional art and from modern life in general. He called the work he favored “Art Brut,” collected it in great quantities and donated his accumulation of 4,000 examples to the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1971.

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The High Museum of Art has announced that Katherine Jentleson will become its curator of folk and self-taught art. The position, which has gone unfilled for nearly two years, was endowed last summer through a $2.5 million gift from Atlanta patrons Dan Boone and his late wife Merrie Boone.

Jentleson, a Ph.D. candidate in art history at Duke University and the 2014-15 Douglass Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will start at the High in September, She has worked at New York’s American Folk Art Museum and curated or assisted in organizing exhibits at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, N.C.

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In a letter he wrote in 1825, the American painter John Vanderlyn said that paintings by the itinerant portraitist Ammi Phillips were “... cheap and slight, for the mass of folks can’t judge of the merits of a well-finished picture.” Vanderlyn had gone to France for academic training. His masterpiece, “Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos” (1809-14), a suavely erotic, neo-Classical vision of a nude woman dozing in a pastoral landscape, is one of the gems of the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. But a discerning viewer today might well prefer Phillips. His “Girl in Red Dress With Cat and Dog” (1830-35) is one of the loveliest paintings by any American artist.

A wonderful painting attributed to Phillips is included in “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America,” an inspiring exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum.

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The self-taught artist Ralph Fasanella (1914-97), born in the Bronx to Italian immigrants, believed that painting could be a form of labor advocacy. He worked as an ice delivery man, a truck driver, a gas station owner and a union organizer, all the while developing his colorful and detailed scenes of working-class life (as in “Family Supper,” which shows his mother, a garment worker, taking her second shift at a crowded dinner table). He also made historical paintings, like the mid-1970s series of canvases documenting the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in Lawrence, Mass.

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The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth received an anonymous $10 million donation. The gift, which will be put towards building the centerpiece of the two-year renovation and expansion project:  a new Museum Learning Center.

The renovation project, helmed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects—designers of the American Folk Art Museum building and the new Barnes Foundation—is part of Dartmouth’s aim of beefing up its campus arts district. The expansion will increase the museum’s current 39,000-square-foot space by 15,000 square feet, giving it more room to show off the museum’s collection, which touts some 65,000 objects including paintings by Perugino, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Rockwell Kent, along with a collection of Assyrian stone reliefs. The expansion will also add three classrooms for the use of digital technology.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:43

British Folk Art Goes on View at Tate Britain

In this country, we don’t really go in for folk art – or at least, not in the way America does. Yes, there’s a collection of folk art on display at Compton Verney and another at the American Museum in Bath, but mostly it’s shown in local and regional museums. There’s nothing here on the scale or importance of the 150,000 works of art in the Shelburne Museum in Vermont or the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

British condescension towards the whole subject was encapsulated in Jeremy Deller’s and Alan Kane’s insufferably smug installation Folk Archive, a personal collection of objects that served to illustrate for a metropolitan elite what the common folk like to do in their spare time. Had these two conceptual artists not made the blindingly obvious point that that the paraphernalia of Morris dancing and effigies of the Pope and Guy Fawkes reflect something or other about the nation’s collective unconscious, such folk artefacts would never have been allowed to pollute the sacred grove of high culture that is Tate Britain.

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A groundbreaking exhibition originated by the American Folk Art Museum is on view from May 13 through August 17, 2014, at the Museum (2 Lincoln Square) before it embarks on a six-city US tour through early 2017. Self - Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum posits an original premise that considers the changing implications of self-taught in the United States from a deeply entrenched and widespread culture of self-education in the early national period to its usage today to describe artists working outside the art historical canon and often in isolated circumstances. A fully-illustrated color catalog with essays by the curators, published by the American Folk Art Museum and Marquand Books, accompanies the exhibition. A website about the exhibition can be found at

“This exhibition serves as a landmark,” commented Anne-Imelda Radice, Ph.D., Executive Director, “by locating the genesis of a field that has grown and become even more complex than ever before, and by clarifying its scope and substance. Self - Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum provides new insight into the critical role of artists all-too-often overlooked.”

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The American Folk Art Museum announced that it will open an annex for its collection and library in Long Island City, Queens, near the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. The 17,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to open early next year, will provide the museum with extra space for storage and exhibitions.

In 2001, the Folk Art Museum opened its monumental Tod Williams and Billie Tsien-designed building on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. The museum soon fell into financial turmoil and  in 2011, was forced to sell the building to the Museum of Modern Art and move to a smaller location in Lincoln Square. The Museum of Modern Art has since decided to raze the Folk Art Museum’s former home to make way for an upcoming expansion.

Founded in 1961, the American Folk Art Museum is devoted to traditional folk art and contemporary self-taught artists. Its collection includes over 5,000 objects from the 18th century to the present.   

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