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University Museum Presents Self-Taught Art

Untitled (Standing Figure), O. L. Samuels,Promised Gift of Gordon W. Bailey
Untitled (Standing Figure), O. L. Samuels, Promised Gift of Gordon W. Bailey

Exhibition seeks to interpret ‘Independent Expression’ works without marginalizing as ‘folk’ art

By Tad Wilkes, Nightlife & Lifestyles Editor


The University of Mississippi Museum will be presenting a preview of the major gift of artworks that was donated by noted Los Angeles art collector Gordon W. Bailey, who is a staunch advocate of Southern vernacular artists. The exhibit will run from January 22 through April 6, with an opening reception January 24 from 6 to 8 p.m.

This exhibition, “Independent Expression: Self-taught Art of the Late 20th Century,” was organized by guest curator James G. Thomas Jr., associate director for publications at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and features a selection of captivating works in multiple media. A more comprehensive exhibition is planned for later this year.

“Historically, the art in this preview exhibition has been referred to as ‘folk,’ but it is important to understand and acknowledge that these artists’ creations have a rightful place within the canon of American art,” said Mr. Thomas. “It is not improper to view the art within the contexts of style, race, region, or religion, but for too long the work of self-taught artists has been marginalized. The creative process varies little, if any, between fine art and folk art. The difference here, as I see it, is that the self-taught artist is merely untrained, not less skilled.”

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