The film Mr. Dial Has Something to Say raises key questions about the meaning and history of African American art. Three area artists and Mint Museum Curator of Contemporary Art Brad Thomas will discuss issues posed by the film and the exhibition Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial in a panel format, moderated by Mary Curtis. Among the topics are: Has Afro-American improvisational visual art been disregarded by the mainstream art world as less important? Have terms such as “outsider”, “visionary”, “primitive”, “folk,” “self-taught”, and “naive” – all of which have been applied to Mr. Dial’s particular style of art—downgrade the importance of art? Are works produced by artists who never receive formal training equal in dollar value to pieces created by talent honed in art classes? On a more fundamental level, what is art, where is it born, and who decides what is great art? Panelists include Nellie Ashford, a self-proclaimed folk artist whose paintings portray families, children and dancers in vibrant detail, Chris Watts, a Charlotte artist who uses mixed-media and combines photographic elements with paint on large-scale canvases, and painter and UNC Chapel Hill professor Juan Logan.
Thornton Dial (American, b. 1928)
Stars of Everything, 2004
Paint cans, plastic cans, spray paint cans, clothing, wood, steel, carpet, plastic straws, rope, oil, enamel,
spray paint, and Splash Zone compound on canvas on wood
98 x 101 1/2 x 20 ½ in.
Collection of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Photo by Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio