"Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor" Tour
ArtTable members were treated to an insider's tour of the Bill Traylor exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) by Leslie Umberger, the curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art. Traylor, born enslaved in rural Alabama, moved into the city of Montgomery where he started to draw the events of his life. He was self-taught and extremely poor, working with donated and found materials.The exhibit includes works from the beginning of his career in 1939 up to 1942, showcasing his natural talent and growth as an artist. Although he was illiterate, Traylor was aware of literacy and copied letters, including his own name, in a variety of his works. She noted that the works might be a commentary on wealth and social agency as well as race relations at the time. There are 155 works in the exhibition, and SAAM is the only venue for the retrospective.