Friday, February 16, 2018

A groundbreaking show presents a new, inclusive vision of American art

NEW YORK TIMESBy Roberta Smith
William H. Johnson’s “John Brown Legend,” circa 1945, makes the abolitionist its central image and shows him coming down from a cross and being greeted by a mother and her child. This rarely exhibited work is part of “Outliers and American Vanguard Art,” at the National Gallery.CreditSmithsonian American Art Museum, via National Gallery
WASHINGTON — Anyone interested in American modernism should see “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” at the National Gallery of Art. Flaws and all, this groundbreaking adventure highlights outstanding, sometimes rarely-seen artworks; revives neglected histories; and reframes the contributions of self-taught artists to this country’s rich visual culture. Limiting its scope to American art, it tries to map the intersections of taught and untaught over the last century, examining not only the place of self-taught art now but how it got here. It is extensive: about 280 artworks by 84 artists — and Ms. Cooke has organized them chronologically, in three sections. [link]

National Gallery of Art"Outliers and American Vanguard Art" (Through May 13, 2018); 3rd and 9th Streets along Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC; 202-737-4215, Other venues: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 24–September 30, 2018; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018–March 18, 2019