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Our Neighbors Collect: African American Art
September 8, 2006 - October 29, 2006
Working in cooperation with the Morris Museum’s Friends of African American Art, the museum has assembled an exhibition representing work held in local private collections. Many of America’s most important African American artists have roots in the South—something that is often reflected in their work—and, early in the twentieth century, many of them became very influential. Limited resources often led them to develop multiple skills—as artists, educators, curators, critics, and entrepreneurs. Some black artists drew their inspiration from the folk culture of the region. Beverly Buchanan and Benny Andrews, both represented in the exhibition, characterize this. Others—including Mose T, Clementine Hunter, and Margaret Ramsey—are genuinely untutored artists who have drawn on and depicted folk visions and personal experiences. It is hardly surprising that so many African American artists have worked outside formal traditions, since so many were deprived of formal art training. Each has improvised highly individual symbols, forms, and techniques to convey his or her ideas and feelings.