The Art and Legacy of Ronald Lockett

Hey Y’all!

This is an invitation to very special event today, Tuesday, July 19th 6pm – 10:30 at the American Folk Art Museum. I assure you won’t want to miss this. The short story is I have a limited number of tickets (value of $35) to attend an extraordinary event exploring the art and legacy of Ronald Lockett (1965–1998, Bessemer, Alabama).

The Panel and After Party

First, there will a panel of contemporary artists and arts professionals including Cre8tive YouTH*ink’s new friend Kevin Blythe Sampson who will be considering Lockett’s remarkable life and work. A bumping party with live DJ, hors d’oeuvres and plenty to drink will follow the discussion. This event is presented by Young Folk, the young patrons of the American Folk Art Museum. Young Folk also generously provided us our tickets. Organized by Emily Counihan and Donnamarie Baptiste.

Ronald Lockett

Born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama, Lockett learned to paint by watching his older cousin, the celebrated self-taught artist, Thornton Dial (1928–2016), whose work was inspired by the African American tradition of yard displays. Lockett watched as Dial built an incredible body of large-scale paintings coated with tar-thick paint, insight and anger. His work has been described as monumental, propulsive and spirited and that address social injustices such as poverty, the war in Iraq and the African slave trade. Lockett spent a lot of time with Dial, who encouraged him and was the only person who took him seriously.

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Lockett on his porch

Lockett always knew he wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t until his early twenties that turned his attention to making art in earnest. By the time of his death at age thirty-two from HIV/AIDS-related pneumonia, Lockett had produced more than 350 works.

Ronald Lockett went largely unrecognized in his lifetime.

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Ronald Lockett, Timothy (Oklahoma Series) 1995, sheet metal, tin, wire, paint and nails on wood.

Ronald Lockett is now considered the youngest noteworthy southern African American vernacular visual artist. During his life, Lockett agonized over the plight of inner-city city black males—whose loudest cultural sign is the fear they provoke throughout American society. Working within the artistic traditions of found materials, Lockett addressed subjects of racial, economic, and political unrest, including the unfulfilled promises of the civil rights movement and environmental degradation.

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Untitled, circa 1985, tin, nails and pencil on woo

The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 2 – Organic New York (w/ Sofia Maldonado and H Veng Smith)

Volume 2 of the Art School Without Walls – Organic New York

Los Galeristas Adolescentes will work with Sofia Maldonado and H Veng Smith, two visual artists of diverse backgrounds and artistic styles, to create a public art piece in an abandoned space in Manhattan.

Coming to 5th St. & Avenue D on May 20, 21, and 22!

Mural by Sofia Maldonado, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The overpopulated urban landscape urges us to paint a mural that celebrates the native floral and fauna species of the area while simulating a sense of nature in a community that lacks it. Many Manhattan neighborhoods such as Harlem and Lower East Side have empty corner lots. We simply want to revive one of them with a public art piece. The mural’s images will be painted on the building’s walls, facing the street, and will provide engaging artwork for both pedestrians and motorists to enjoy.

The mural will incorporate latex and aerosol paints that enhance the development and appearance of the site and will not have an adverse effect on the safe and efficient movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic. Vibrant eye-popping mural colors will be considered, but will be complimentary and harmonious with the exterior colors of the building structure, and consistent with the chosen theme.

H VENG Smith

The mural hopes to engage the local community as well as all passers-by. “Organic New York” will use art as a tool for social change by beautifying a neighborhood through the transformation of an abandoned lot.  It will engage the community and bear new interpretations to a forgotten space, as well as by showing that idle spaces can be used to create new worlds.

The Art School Without Walls revives the spirit of apprenticeship in the arts bypassing traditional arts education by pairing urban teens with working artists in the production of significant works of public art.

Props to the artist Retna for supporting the Art School Without Walls, Volume 2 – Organic New York.

The Art School Without Walls, Vol. 1


Organic New York  is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Let’s Go Met!

Click here to see a clip of the day’s activities!

Stephanie, Moise J., Alicia, Sarah, Edwina, a random guy, Taz, Mark, Sabrina, Crystal, Ja Lisa, Nibor, and Chris emerge from the Egyptian galleries

Reblogged from Niborama

I’ll always remember how proud I felt bounding up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the summer of ’82, where, as a recent Yale art-history graduate, I’d landed a coveted summer internship. In addition to helping in the education department, I sat at the front desk and also gave tours of the collection, discoursing on everything from Dogon sculpture to Jackson Pollock. Though I return to the Met often, to cover interesting shows and trends, or simply to enjoy the art, it was a special moment for me when I entered through a modest doorway on the lower level last Thursday and made my way to the group visits department, where my lecturer’s badge was waiting.

Rectified map by Mark G

Soon enough our ARTnews interns and Galeristas Adolescentes, helmed by Mista Oh!, made their way there too, and we talked for a bit about what an encyclopedic museum is and how to use the Met (and its website) for inspiration, information, and more. And then we were off for our day of looking and sketching, winding our way through the Egyptian Wing, into the Engelhard Court, along a multicultural array of arms and armor, and past Europe’s decorative arts before emerging in Central Park for frisbee and lunch, which was delivered to the museum’s steps (great idea Mista Oh!–and thanks Retna!).

We spent the afternoon wandering through the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, where we made some more great drawings. Along the way we talked about things like primitivism, Orientalism, the language of color (and, in the case of our early-bird interns, institutional critique, courtesy Andrea Fraser, upstairs). Everyone had a great time and learned a lot–and I learned that I need to be more modest in my ambitions as a tour guide. Next time we’ll tackle the second floor.

Click here or below to see a clip of the day’s activities!