The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, July 7, 2022


Kino Lorber announces revealing documentary about pioneering art sensation who was born into slavery
“An extraordinary artist… Traylor’s pictures stamp themselves on your eye and mind.” -- Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker



NEW YORK, NY.- This illuminating documentary explores the life of a unique American artist, a man with a remarkable and unlikely biography. Bill Traylor was born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama. After the Civil War, Traylor continued to farm the land as a sharecropper until the late 1920s. Aging and alone, he moved to Montgomery and worked odd jobs in the thriving segregated black neighborhood. A decade later, in his late 80s, Traylor became homeless and started to draw and paint, both memories from plantation days and scenes of a radically changing urban culture.

Having witnessed profound social and political change during a life spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration, Traylor devised his own visual language to translate an oral culture into something original, powerful, and culturally rooted. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings between 1939-1942. This colorful, strikingly modernist work eventually led him to be recognized as one of America’s greatest self-taught artists and the subject of a Smithsonian retrospective.

Using historical and cultural context, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life. Making dramatic and surprising use of tap dance and evocative period music, the film balances archival photographs and footage, insightful perspectives from his descendents, and Traylor’s striking drawings and paintings to reveal one of America’s most prominent artists to a wide audience.

The film reflects a tumultuous time of a forgotten world and its marginalized people, still reverberating today. A new lynching memorial and Legacy Museum from Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened in Montgomery in 2018 just blocks from where Bill Traylor used to sit and work. The film is a compelling human narrative that gives voice to a man who endures a long life of extreme hardships during an era of legalized racial indignities, to become one of America’s most prominent artists, exhibited in museums and collections worldwide. In 2020, the City of Montgomery honored Bill Traylor by dedicating an historical marker at the corner of N. Lawrence and Monroe St. where Traylor used to work. The film is a starting point for educational components including the neglected period of Reconstruction in American history, African-American Southern history, along with cultural elements of music, dance, style and relationships. And the overarching theme of art and creativity as expression and documenting a life is profound.




Bill Traylor was born around 1853, on an Alabama cotton plantation owned by John Traylor, near Pleasant Hill, Alabama, in Dallas County, close to the Lowndes County line. Born into slavery, Traylor was about twelve years old when the Civil War ended, ending his legal servitude but not the basics of his way of life: he continued to live near his birthplace for another six decades, working as a farm laborer and contract farmer for the Traylor family. In the late 1920s, his rural livelihood ended by poor harvest and bad health, Traylor moved to Montgomery, where he worked odd jobs in the segregated black neighborhood. A decade later, in his late eighties, Traylor became homeless and started to draw, both past memories from plantation days and current scenes of a radically changing culture. Traylor’s life spanned slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration—which led most of his children away from the South. When he died in 1949, he left behind more than 1,000 drawings and paintings made on discarded cardboard.

In 1939, in Montgomery, a local artist named Charles Shannon saw Traylor drawing and recognized the self-taught artist’s remarkable gifts. Shannon, along with other members of a progressive artists’ coalition called the New South, gave Traylor paints and pencils and bought paintings and drawings from him over the next four years. Another forty years would pass before the art world took notice of Traylor’s enormous legacy, which comprises the largest known body of drawn and painted images made by an artist born into slavery. Traylor’s life and work compel us to examine the genius of an old and infirm black man making his art on a street corner in Montgomery, Alabama.

Director’s Statement

My introduction to artist Bill Traylor came with the 1982 watershed exhibit “Black Folk Art in America” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I had applied for a small grant to film the opening, and interview the featured living artists who attended. Traylor’s iconic art was used for the exhibit’s poster and still hangs in my office. Since encountering Bill Traylor’s art almost 40 years ago, I have long contemplated his work, wanting to unravel and dig deeper into his world. Today, Bill Traylor is one of the most celebrated self-taught artists, with one of the most remarkable and unlikely biographies.

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts strives to broaden our understanding of this period of transformation, a time when black people prospered as business professionals in Montgomery, in spite of living through the fear and volatility of Jim Crow South that impacted daily life. Traylor created his own visual language as a means to communicate and record the stories of his life. Traylor’s art is the sole body of work made by a black artist of his era to survive. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings on discarded cardboard between 1939 and 1942.

Bill Traylor did not begin to draw until he was in his 80s; and when he did, his burst of creativity demonstrated a unique mastery of artistic technique. Without setting out to do so, he became a chronicler of his times










Today's News

April 11, 2021

Egypt unveils 3,000-year-old 'lost' city near Luxor

Brazil building new giant Christ statue, taller than Rio's

Turkey fights for return of a work it says was looted

Australian photographer June Newton dies aged 97

Martina Batan, New York art dealer consumed by a cold case, dies at 62

Galerie Templon presents twenty previously unseen watercolours by Anju Dodiya

Former SS canteen at Auschwitz bears witness to Holocaust history

Galería Elvira González opens its third solo exhibition of works by Chema Madoz

Kino Lorber announces revealing documentary about pioneering art sensation who was born into slavery

Art UK and Bloomberg Philanthropies announce a major partnership

Making music visible: Singing in sign

Bonhams appoints Helen Hall as Director of Entertainment Memorabilia

MOCA Tucson opens an exhibition of three major artworks by Pia Camil

Solo exhibition of new work by Wendy Red Star opens at Sargent's Daughters

Carvalho Park opens Yulia Iosilzon's second solo exhibition with the gallery

24 artists donate works to MASS MoCA for benefit auction

Ben Brown Fine Arts launches new gallery in Palm Beach

Emily Mullin's second solo exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery opens in New York

Remains To Be Seen by Travis Fox: A photo book and exhibit for Earth Day

Remy Jungerman's first major U.S. solo exhibition opens at Fridman Gallery

Nohra Haime Gallery opens an exhibition of recent landscape paintings by Adam Straus

Now on view at the Barry Art Museum 'Pandemic: Reflecting on a Year in Quarantine'

Lenz Press publishes 'Diego Marcon: Three Works'

How to Improve Your Conversation Skills?




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful