Gamechangers: American Self-Taught Artists Shift the Narrative
During the 20th century, there was an unprecedented rise of American self-taught artists—from little-known painters and sculptors to a distinctive cohort of creators who made the art world take notice. Martín Ramírez, Nellie Mae Rowe, Judith Scott, Bill Traylor, and Joseph E. Yoakum are among those who asserted their perspectives and presences through creative acts despite societal, racial, gender-based, and other obstacles. Although working individually, they collectively redefined who could be seen as an accomplished artist. Leslie Umberger discusses “gamechangers”—artists whose autonomous paths, along with the critical debates surrounding their work, shifted the story of art in the U.S. in profound and lasting ways.
This lecture is presented in conjunction with the Menil Drawing Institute’s exhibition, Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw, on view through August 7, 2022.