Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery

Austin, TX


Self-Taught Texas Artists Recognized in Traveling Exhibition


David Strickland, Scarecrow


The Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery at The University of Texas at Austin presents Spirited Journeys: Self-Taught Texas Artists of the Twentieth Century August 29 through October 19, 1997. Spirited Journeys features 150 works by 35 artists who exemplify the variety of thought and expression, the cultural diversity, and the outstanding quality of self-taught or "folk" artists working in Texas during the twentieth century. This exhibition examines for the first time the work of self-taught Texas artists within a cultural and art-historical framework, as well as within the broader context of twentieth-century American folk art. It is also the first exhibition of its kind to include environmental work.

Huntington Art Gallery Director, Jessie Otto Hite, states, "The Huntington is proud to organize and present this exhibition celebrating and showcasing artists who might have been previously overlooked or not officially acknowledged for their important and meaningful contributions to art. I expect this exhibition will ignite public interest, provide important critical and scholarly documentation on these artists and their works, and continue to open doors for all self-taught artists."

Consuelo Gaonzales Amezcua, The Smile of a Texan Girl


Texas, by virtue of its location and history embracing aspects of both the South and the West, its vast geographic area, and its large and ethnically diverse population, has been fertile ground for a vast amount of creative, self-taught artistic production. However, an extensive, academic study of self-taught art produced in this state has remained conspicuously absent from the expanding body of research on contemporary folk art. Spirited Journeys aims to fully investigate and document these artists and their work, while also presenting for the first time a state-wide traveling exhibition making these works accessible to a wider and expanded audience.

Ike Morgan, Untitled



The exhibition displays some of the finest examples of objects created by the most outstanding Texas artists. Some of the artists included in the exhibition are among the preeminent self-taught American artists of this century, including Eddie Arning, Rev. Johnnie Swearingen, and Frank Jones. Other artists, such as Mark Cole Greene, will be presented in a museum for the first time in their career. "The artists selected for this exhibition are individuals whose work represents a unique vision and style developed on their own, uninfluenced by other artists, trends, or formal art traditions," explains the exhibition's curator, Lynne Adele. "These artists are drawn to artmaking for very different reasons. Their frames of reference are linked to personal experiences and in direct response to cultural stimuli rather than to an academic tradition. They differ from each other greatly in their modes of expression, yet their works continue to speak to viewers in a universal language."

Selections have been drawn from a number of sources including: The Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, Austin, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; The Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas; Whitehead Memorial Museum, Del Rio, Texas; as well as galleries and private collections.

Fannie Lou Bee, The Quilting Bee

Ed: The Arthur M. Huntington Art Gallery Austin, TX has become the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. There are no futher articles under the name of Arthur M. Huntington Art Gallery.

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