Category Archives: Howard Finster

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

As August winds down, galleries and museums are gearing up for the fall. Some of the interesting current and upcoming shows featuring work by self-taught artists include:

Sam Doyle / Dr. Crow / c. 1980-1985 / Housepaint on tin / 42.5 x 26.5 in.

Into the Mainstream: Self-Taught Artists from the Garbish and Gordon Collections,” at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, on view through December 31, 2011. This exhibition, organized in conjunction with Old Dominion University, considers the position of self-taught and folk artists with the narratives of art history.

You Better Be Listening: Text in Self-Taught Art,” on view at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, through January 14, 2012. Highlighting the multiple uses of text in works of outsider art, “You Better Be Listening” draws on works by Howard Finster, Sister Gertrude Morgan,  Dwight Mackintosh, and Royal Robertson.

Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the Collection,” at the Menil Collection, Houston. Organized around works by artists who had little contact with the mainstream art world, “Seeing Stars” will include drawings by Charles A.A. Dellschau, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfii, and Joseph Yoakum, among others. Opening September 23, 2011, the exhibition will remain on view through January 15, 2012.

Simply Iconic,” a selection of works by artists including Sam Doyle, Herbert Singleton, and Purvis Young, on view at La Luz De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, from September 2 through October 3, 2011.

Minnie Evans: Paintings and Drawings,” at Luise Ross Gallery, New York.  On view from September 8 to October 29, 2011, this show will feature works spanning four decades of the artist’s career.


“Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster” in Jacksonville

Howard Finster / The Super Powers / July 21, 1985 / Tractor enamel on wood / 48 × 48 in. / Courtesy John Denton

“Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster” is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville through August 28, 2011. Celebrating the range of imagery in Finster’s fervently religious art, the exhibition includes works revealing angels, UFOs, and historical and popular figures interspersed with bible passages and declarations of faith.

Finster created art in service to his faith and as a way to spread his religious message. While he became a well known figure in popular culture (designing album cover art for both REM and the Talking Heads), Finster’s art nevertheless revolved around spirituality.

Organized by the Krannert Art Museum, “Stranger in Paradise” considers the layout of Finster’s Paradise Gardens, where the artist both created and displayed his work beginning in the 1970s. Enjoy this installation shot, from the museum’s Facebook page, which hints at the way Finster’s portrait busts were staggered on the ground within his garden.

Installation at MOCA Jacksonville / Photo by Ben Thompson

Arient Collection of Self-Taught and Outsider Art on View at the Koehnline Museum of Art

Lee Godie / Prince Charming / 1980s / Paint and ballpoint pen on canvas / Courtesy Koehnline Museum of Art

Beginning May 5, 2011, works from Jim and Beth Arient’s extensive collection of outsider art will on view at the Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, IL. “Arient Family Collection: Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century” will include 50 works by artists including William Dawson, Lee Godie, and Howard Finster.

The Arients have collected outsider art for more than 30 years, and the exhibition aims to show the range and breadth of their collecting practice. “Arient Family Collection” will reveal how the collection was formed, highlighting the books that influenced the Arients (including “Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists” by Bert Hemphill and Julia Weissman) as well as ways that the couple acquired art (directly from artists, rather than via dealers).

The exhibition will remain on view through August 18, 2011.

“We Are Folk: Exploring Traditions in Southern Folk Art” to open at the Hudgens Center for the Arts

Minnie Evans / Untitled / 1968 / Mixed media on paper mounted on canvas board / 21 x 27 1/2 in.

“We Are Folk: Exploring Traditions in Southern Folk Art” will open at the Hudgens Center for the Arts, Duluth, GA, on March 8. Curated by Steve Slotin and potter Michael A. Crocker, the exhibition includes works by self-taught artists Howard Finster, Minnie Evans, and Clementine Hunter, among others.

I find the term “traditions” to be tricky when discussing works by self-taught artists. Can we argue that Finster, Evans, and Hunter worked within established traditions even though each has a distinctly unique body of work? Does an artist’s southern geography mean (s)he necessarily works within southern artistic parameters? I am interested to see what Slotin and Crocker have to say–I hope they send us installation shots!

“We Are Folk” is on view through May 21.