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Displaying items by tag: bill traylor: drawings from the collections of the high museum of art and the montgomery museum of fine arts

The American Folk Art Museum in New York is currently presenting the exhibition Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The show features over 60 drawings by the self-taught artist Bill Traylor (1854-1949), many of which have never traveled past the southeastern United States. The exhibition is complemented by Traylor in Motion: Wonders from New York Collections, which includes additional works on loan from private collections.

Traylor, one of the most significant outsider artists, was born into slavery on an Alabama plantation. Following emancipation, his family farmed on the plantation until the 1930s. In 1939, Traylor moved to Montgomery and spent much of his time drawings images of the people he saw on the street and scenes pulled from his memory illustrating his time spent on the farm. Over the course of four years, Traylor produced between 1,200 and 1,500 drawings.

While he garnered little recognition as an artist during his lifetime, Traylor began to gain notoriety during the 1970s thanks to his friend, Charles Shannon, the foremost champion his work. The R.H. Oosterom Gallery in New York mounted the first significant exhibition of Traylor’s work, which led to nearly fort solo shows and hundreds of group exhibitions. Traylor’s drawings now reside in major public collections including that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Montgomery Museum of Art in Alabama hold the largest public collections of Traylor’s drawings.

Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts will be on view at the American Folk Art Museum through September 22, 2013.

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Two years ago, the Folk Art Museum in New York City was on the brink of closure due to its poor financial standing. Most of the museum’s troubles stemmed from a $32 million construction project that placed a flagship building next door to the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. After the project drew to a close in 2001, the Folk Art Museum struggled to pay off their debt to the Trust for Cultural Resources and in 2009 the institution defaulted on its payments. Desperate, the Folk Art Museum sold their flagship building and moved into a smaller space and drastically reduced its budget.

Now, after some major sacrifices, it appears that the Folk Art Museum has regained its footing. Attendance is expected to reach 80,000 this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2013; last year the Folk Art Museum welcomed 66,000 patrons. A number of major donors are back on board with the museum including the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, which recently gifted $25,000 to the institution. The Folk Art Museum will also participate in this summer’s highly anticipated Venice Biennale by sending an artwork from its collection to the show.

The Folk Art Museum has been strengthening its relationships with other institutions through collaborative exhibitions. The museum is currently hosting an exhibition of William Matthew Prior (1806-1873) oil paintings titled Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed (on view through May 26, 2013), which was organized by the Fenimore Art Museum is Cooperstown, NY. The exhibition Bill Traylor: Drawings from the Collections of the High Museum of Art and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, which features a range of works by the self-taught artist, Bill Traylor (1854-1949), will open on June 11 and run through September 22, 2013.

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