By Catherine Fox
ArtsAtl, June 19, 2018
Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943), Adelard the Drowned, Master of the “Phantom,” ca. 1938–1939, oil on board (Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Bequest of Hudson D. Walker from the Ione and Hudson D. Walker Collection)
Individuals committed to changing perceptions of outsider artists were also important in each period. Beginning in the ‘80s and continuing to this day, Atlantan Bill Arnett has played a singular and far-reaching role in bringing recognition to African American self-taught artists. He discovered or brought to the fore such major artists as Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley and the Gee’s Bend quilters. He collected more than 1000 works by 160 artists, much of it made of ephemeral materials by artists too poor to care for their work.
“Bill saved this art,” says Maxwell Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. “He was the aesthetic filter and conservator.”
Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917–2000), Sidewalk Drawings, 1943, gouache on paper (Collection of Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn)