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Bill Traylor, Untitled (Man Carrying Dog on Object)

ca. 1939–1942, Poster paint and graphite on cardboard

13 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches

Collection High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

Purchased with funds from Mrs. Lindsey Hopkins, Jr., Edith G. and Philip A. Rhodes, and the Members Guild

Dear Readers,


I take great pleasure in presenting this April 2018 issue of The Art Section. The Art Section is now eleven years old! We published our first issue in May of 2007.

In this issue, I am happy to feature articles that address the writers' passions about art and artists from very personal perspectives.


Debra Purden writes on the artist Bill Traylor. She and Valerie Rousseau have a book on this artist that will be available in October. Traylor, who was born into slavery in 1853 on a plantation in Benton, Alabama, spent most of his life after emancipation as a sharecropper. In his 80's, Traylor began making drawings on cardboard on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama. The exhibition Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor will be at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in Washington, DC from September 28, 2018 to March 17, 2019. This will be the first major retrospective of this artist, or of any artist who was born into slavery. It is a great pleasure to have Debra's writing on Traylor in The Art Section.


Mildred Thompson (1936 – 2003) was an artist who was born 83 years after Bill Traylor in the Jim Crow South. I had the opportunity to interview Melissa Messina, the curator of the Mildred Thompson Legacy. Thompson came to Atlanta in 1985 to be an artist-in-residence at Spelman College. I knew Mildred as a colleague, and Melissa knew her as a student, when she later taught at The Atlanta College of Art from 1990 to 2000. Mildred's work is finally getting the attention it so well deserves, albeit posthumously. Her works are in exhibitions at venues that include National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, Galerie Lelong in New York City, and Victoria Miro gallery in London.


Philip Auslander has written an article that raises questions about the relationship between performance art and celebrity culture beginning with artists who addressed the media landscape in the early 1980s. Phil writes about artists such as Marina Abramovic, Laurie Anderson, and Ann Magnuson to chart the art world's ongoing, but ultimately futile, resistance to popular culture and celebrity.


Please do look at our updated archive. We have made accessible many articles that were unavailable until recently. You can now enjoy many significant writings by our many contributors over the course of the past eleven years.


Many thanks,


Deanna Sirlin


The Art Section


Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, New York currently living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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