Howard Finste, American (1916-2001) - Dinosaur, 1990 - Wood, nails, paper and felt marker. Gift of the Alice Yelen and Kurt Gitter Collection 1991.1218.1

BIRMINGHAM, AL - The Birmingham Museum of Art announces a gallery dedicated to folk art through 2009. Folk art is a term that encompasses works that also have been called outsider, naïve, primitive, visionary, and self-taught. Some of these artists represent art forms, such as quilting, that are passed down through generations, while others employ their own ingenuity to respond creatively to their environments. Objects in this gallery will rotate throughout the year. Visit often to see the changes in this gallery.

George Williams, American (b.1911), Crucifix, 1989 - Paint, wood, nails. Gift of the Kurt Gitter and Alice R. Yelen Collection 1991.1165The work of folk artists is regularly displayed in the Birmingham Museum of Art's contemporary art galleries. The creation of this dedicated folk art gallery is in response to the considerable visitor interest and enthusiasm for the exhibition Alabama Folk Art, organized in 2007 by the Museum in a 10,000 square foot space located at the historic Young & Vann Building in downtown Birmingham.

"We are delighted once again to present these artists and their works to our visitors," says Gail Andrews, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art. "Folk or self taught art has a strong legacy in the South and in Alabama in particular. The depth and complexity of southern traditions and peoples have come together here in an environment conducive to the creation and acceptance of these remarkable works of art."

Three installations during 2009 will include artists such as Mattie Green, Minnie Black, Thornton Dial, Burgess Delaney, Howard Finster, Lonnie Holley, Charlie Lucas, and Mose Tolliver, among others. All of the artists included are American, many are African-American, and most are from the Southeast.

"These artists have various motivations and inspirations," says Ron Platt, Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, who organized the current installation in the gallery. "They are driven by religious beliefs, the desire to chronicle family history or daily observations, or the impulse to bring forth imagery suggested to them in natural forms or objects. All of their works demonstrate how creativity and artistic talent has no set path and knows no bounds."

Minnie Black - American (1899-1996) Untitled (Critter) - Gourd, glue Gift of Kurt Gitter and Alice R. YelenObjects on display are from the Museum’s permanent collection, augmented by occasional private collection loans. Gail Andrews, R. Hugh Daniel Director, and Emily Hanna, Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Americas, in turn will curate two more installations in this gallery over the course of the year.

Birmingham Museum of Art

Founded in 1951, the Birmingham Museum of Art today has one of the finest collections in the Southeast. Its collection of more than 24,000 paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and decorative arts represents a rich panorama of cultures, including American, African, Asian, European, Native American and Pre-Columbian.

The Birmingham Museum of Art is located in the heart of the City’s cultural district. Erected in 1959, the present building was designed by architects Warren, Knight and Davis of Birmingham, with a major renovation and expansion by Edward Larrabee Barnes of New York completed in 1993. The facility encompasses 180,000 square feet, including a splendid outdoor sculpture garden. Visit : http://www.artsbma.org/

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Michael Caine on Art

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