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University Museum Exhibition Spotlights Self-Taught Black Southern Artists

University Museum Exhibition Spotlights Self-Taught Black Southern Artists
Independent Expression: Self-taught Art of the Late 20th Century. Preview of Major Gift from Gordon W. Bailey.
Photo Courtesy of University Museum and Historic Houses

The University Museum at Ole Miss didn’t plan it that way, but its current preview exhibition, “Independent Expression: Self-taught Art of the Late 20th Century,” is nonetheless an ideal addition to the University of Mississippi’s month-long celebration of black history going on throughout February.

This premiere exhibition of the collection recently donated to the museum by Los Angeles collector Gordon W. Bailey is devoted exclusively to the works of self-taught black artists of the South, making it a natural albeit serendipitous addendum to a black history calendar chock full of events and activities.

Organized by guest curator James G. Thomas Jr., associate director for publications at the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the showing features captivating works in multiple media. Among a number of artists who collectively reflect Bailey’s appreciation of Southern vernacular artists, the exhibition includes artwork by O.L.Samuels, a Georgia native who now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, Fayette, Alabama’s Jimmy Lee Sudduth and Mississippian Luster Willis.

“Some of the themes explored by the artists are religion, social commentary and the hypocrisy of life,” said University Museum Collections Manager Marti Funke. “You will see art drawn from artists’ personal experiences and memories.”

The University Museum is located at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu or call 662-915-7073.

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