Starting Jan. 19, 2018, you can peruse a heck of a lot of American folk art at the Gibbes Museum of Art. A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America will be on display on the museum’s third floor from Jan. 19-April 25. The exhibit exclusively features art from the private collection of Barbara L. Gordon, with works from all over the country, created between 1800 and 1925.
For a refresher on art history 101, we turn to internationalfolkart.org for a definition of folk art.
Folk art is the art of the everyday.
Folk art is rooted in traditions that come from community and culture.
Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics.
Folk art encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more. If traditional materials are inaccessible, new materials are often substituted, resulting in contemporary expressions of traditional folk art forms.
In a statement Gordon says, “In the years immediately following the Revolutionary War, Americans left the places where their families had been rooted and moved to new lands being settled. In Eastern cities, the well-to-do patronized trained artists who had studied at home or abroad. However, to meet the demand of customers who were living far from urban centers, self-taught artists arose to create art for customers or for their own pleasure.”
And so, American folk art — from paintings to sculpture to furniture — was born.
A Shared Legacy will be grouped into three main sections: The fine art section features commissioned works like portraits, specific events, and biblical subjects; the sculpture section includes figureheads for sailing vessels, signage, and carousel figures; and the German-American art section features art made in the 18th and 19th century that employs iconography brought from Europe.
The exhibit features over 60 pieces, including rare paintings by Edward Hicks, Ammi Phillips, and John, Brewster, Jr. Executive director of the Gibbes, Angela Mack, says, “Every area of the rich folk-art tradition is represented in this exhibition, and we hope the experience broadens and enhances visitors’ understanding of American art.”
To enhance your exhibit-viewing experience, consider snagging a ticket to the collector led tour with Gordon on Jan. 19 from 2:30-3:30 p.m.