The documentary, “Mr. Dial Has Something to Say" is now available to view online in its entirety for free on Vimeo. Check it out.
The documentary was produced by Atlanta Public Television and directed by Celia Carey.
Agreed! The profile of Bill Arnett and Thornton Dial in the New Yorker was really good!
I thought this article on Bill Arnett, a white collector and curator (that’s an incomplete way of describing him), and Thornton Dial, a black Southern artist, is the only interesting feature on art I’ve ever read in the New Yorker.
Two passages I loved:
"[Arnett’s] cats are named Giuseppe, Lottie, Harito, and Julio Caesar — all ‘fancy’ names, out of fear that those without them would feel slighted."
"Arnett noticed a tin of homemade banana pudding and dipped himself some. Dial murmured, ‘Mr. Arnett at home, ain’t he? You can bet that. He at home.’ He didn’t say much else.’"
This is being a little melodramatic, but I think the article highlighted everything I love and hate about art. The fact that a man like Dial makes art in the first place, to stay busy because he “ain’t no sit-down man.” The fact that his art is questioned because it’s championed by someone like Arnett who is not within the “institution.”
When the article quoted Susan Krane, the director of the San Jose Museum of Art, I audibly growled: “There was also a question because Bill was creating art history around these artists while functioning as a dealer and promoting exhibitions. If you’re a museum person, it raised every red flag you’re taught to pay attention to.”
I wonder if Susan Krane pays attention to the New York art world? Because whatever faults she ascribes to Bill Arnett describe the New York art world perfectly.
High art as we see it in cultural institutions has become so tangled in bullshit that I hardly go see it anymore, not unless I have to write about it. The piece sort of gave me hope that there’s still some reason to make art at all. Read it for no other reason besides the fact that the writer, Paige Williams, wrote a really beautiful story.
Armageddon (Atlanta, GA)
Looking forward to seeing this tomorrow.
A Closer Walk with Thee, 2010.
Such a great performance last night by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi to end an impressive symposium at the IMA, Hard Truths: A Forum on Art and the Politics of Difference, which had presentations by Julian Bond, Joanne Cubbs, Theaster Gates, Fred Moten, Franklin Sirmans, and Greg Tate. The whole event will was recorded and will be available on ArtBabble.org
There’s been so much going on the past week, I’ve made my first first list of links.
Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton dial is now up at the IMA until September.
Along with Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley is getting a lot of attention (a photo I took with my phone of both arriving at the IMA last week)
Along with Paddy Johnson, I think Quora is pretty cool and could be as important as Wikipedia one day, and perhaps one day even kill e-mail distribution lists (too bad Jerry Saltz and others aren’t on board, yet). Check out William Beutler’s two part examination of the project as he compares it to Wikipedia:
Speaking of Wikipedia, there’s been a lot going on with my friends’ work.
Helping to install Art of Alabama by Thornton Dial with Brad Dilger. We’re so lucky at the IMA to have a great photographer (Tad Fruits) to document the artworks and our practice of installation.
IMA conservator Kathleen Kiefer talks about Thornton Dial’s use of textiles in his artworks (very sparkly).
Letting His Life’s Work Do The Talking; Thornton Dial and Hard Truths featured today in the New York Times. Photo above by Josh Andersion/NYT.
IMA Chief Photographer Tad Fruit’s images from our 2009 visit to Thornton Dial’s studio. You can read his thoughts about the trip on the IMA’s Blog, Capturing the Tiger: Photographing Thornton Dial.