Saturday, May 26, 2018

At the Met, a riveting testament to black self-taught artists of the American South

THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Roberta Smith
Thornton Dial’s two-sided relief-painting-assemblage, “History Refused to Die” (2004), also gives this Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition its title. His work is in conversation with quilts by, from left, Lola Pettway (“Housetop,” circa 1975); Lucy T. Pettway (“Housetop” and “Bricklayer” blocks with bars, circa 1955); and Annie Mae Young (“Work-clothes quilt with center medallion of strips,” from 1976).
American art from the 20th and 21st centuries is broader, and better than previously acknowledged, especially by museums. Essential help has come from people like William Arnett and his exemplary Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Their focus is the important achievement of black self-taught artists of the American South, born of extreme deprivation and social cruelty, raw talent and fragments of lost African cultures. The Met was the first of the foundation’s beneficiaries, receiving a gift of 57 artworks by 30 artists in 2014. Now, the museum celebrates its fortune with “History Refused to Die: Highlights From the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift.” [More]

Metropolitan Museum of Art: "History Refused to Die: Highlights From the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift" (Through Sept. 23);  xxxx; (212) 535-7710, metmuseum.org.
Collector William Arnett sitting next to some of his collection. Raised in the segregated South, Arnett prefers to call himself a corrector, not a collector.