The artist Bill Traylor drew many, many abstract figures happily indulging in their favorite drink. This one, simply called “Drinking Man,” is featured in a current exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum until March 2019.
William “Bill” Traylor was born a slave and became the property of the Traylor Plantation in Lowndes County, Alabama in 1854. After Emancipation he worked years on his owners’ plantation as a sharecropper until his master died and masters' sons evicted him from land he'd been farming for many years. Traylor moved to Montgomery, Alabama at the age of 85 and began to draw. If he created works before the move to Alabama, they have yet to be found and identified as belonging to him. Traylor used a sidewalk as his studio. He used a fence situated behind him as a display wall. He preferred to draw on scraps of cardboard he’d salvage. Very few of his works are larger than 12" x 16".
His work sold for fifteen cents to two dollars to anyone who might walk by, and one man in particular would purchase supplies for Traylor and collect finished drawings and painting on a regular basis. A renowned quote attributed to Traylor is, "They buys 'em when dey don't even need 'em."
The collected pieces, an estimated 1500 created in a span of 10 years, were stored after an initial "exhibition" of Traylors' works was poorly attended. The collection was re-introduced to the art world in the 1970's, decades after the death of the artist.
Today Traylors' works, the few that are available, sell for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. An exhibition of works lent from collectors is currently on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum until March 2019.
The phenomenal and thriving artist Lina Iris Viktor will present her first major museum exhibit at The New Orleans Museum of Art, opening this fall. Titled Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred, the installation will be on display from October 5th, 2018 through January 6th, 2019.
A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred will feature an entirely new body of work created by Viktor that investigates the narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of Liberia. Throughout the exhibit, the artist reimagines the rich history of Liberia’s colonial past. “Liberia appears in Viktor’s re-imagining as a kind of paradise lost, and as a cautionary tale,” said Allison Young, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of Contemporary Art. “At the same time, her work transcends this narrative, revealing how examples of visual culture—from Dutch Wax fabrics to national emblems to gestures in the history of portraiture—exist as remnants of these colonial histories.”
Based in New York, the British-Liberian artist is highly known for her luxurious large-scale paintings and installations that are adorned with gold and include references to both modern and traditional West African culture.
“NOMA is pleased to present Lina Iris Viktor’s exhibition, and to foreground a lesser-known history of which the American South was a part,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “In this series, Viktor offers her unique perspective on a complex and multifaceted history.”
Programs related to the exhibition feature conversations led by Lina Iris Viktor and Allison Young, a film series, and a special talk with Viktor and curator Renée Mussai. For more information, please visit NOMA READ MORE........