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.

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

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