Distance: 6.3 miles, yoga stretch
Mary T. Smith (1904-1955, Mississippi) in her painting yard and Untitled, 1987, housepaint on board
So, when Ciwt heard that the de Young Museum had acquired a large collection of African American Art from the South, her reaction was "Here in San Francisco? Please, how patronizing can you get?" (Yup, true confessions, that's what she thought) The show was proudly hung about a week ago, and today, expecting very little, Ciwt walked over to see it. Within a few minutes she was on the verge of tears where she stayed throughout the entire exhibition.
Even if any of the collection purchasers were the slightest patronizing, the pure Soul, bedrock authenticity and immediacy of each and every piece in the show overrides that or any cynical thoughts like Ciwt's in a nanosecond. These artists are not crafting art to sell; they were and are standing in their backyards or sitting in their crowded sewing rooms communicating with their art, speaking through it - sometimes to humans, sometimes to God, much time to both. These artists are "self-taught," "outsider," "naive" in art parlance - and their art is devastatingly powerful in person.
Even the quotes encountered throughout the show are killers. Hear some of the hard truths of Thornton Dial (1928-2016, Alabama) : Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of world. It can lead people through the darkness and help them from being afraid of the darkness. Art is a guide for every person who is looking for something.
The show is up until next April at which time the pieces will be integrated and rotated with the rest of the de Young's superb American Art collection. Ciwt will be back often - so her readers will hear more about Revelations.