The history of folk art has been written and rewritten several times over the last few decades. The quilters of Gees Bend, for example, gained attention for stitching together sophisticated abstract patterns that demolished any notion that folk art was the provenance of naive or untrained craftsmen. And then there's the late Thornton Dial Sr., an Alabama-born artist whose exciting, confident fusions of painting and sculpture placed him firmly in the modern tradition alongside such celebrated artists as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In fact, contemporary perceptions of folk art have changed so much in recent years that curators and academics are finally taking it as seriously as it deserves to be taken. A lot of people aren't even comfortable calling it folk art.
On Tuesday, February 19th, Kristin Congdon, professor of film and philosophy and director of the Cultural Heritage Alliance at the University of Central Florida, will deliver a lecture about the importance of folk art as collective memory. Congdon, who appears as a helpful and informative bobblehead doll on the Florida Folk Art website folkvine.org, is also juror for the Third Annual Art Education Exhibition opening on Friday, February 22nd, at the University of Memphis' Jones Hall Gallery.
Kristin Congdon Lecture, Tuesday, February 19th, at 7 p.m., University of Memphis Meeman Journalism Building Auditorium