SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS: Homemade Art from the Becky & Wyatt Collins Collection
Feb 03, 2017 — Aug 12, 2017
Guest Curated by Gus Kopriva
An encyclopedic survey of vernacular Southern art, this exhibition comes to the Hilliard from the Collins’ New Iberia home, where they have amassed over 2,000 objects. The exhibition is organized by Gus Kopriva, an independent curator and the owner of Redbud Gallery in Houston, Texas.
Spiritual Journeys will be accompanied by a new publication that features essays interpreting the Collins’ collection, including texts by Gus Kopriva, Hillard Museum staff, and collections expert Bradley Sumrall of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Among the many artists represented in this project are Mary T. Smith, Howard Finster, David Butler, Tom “Deacon Man” Steck, Minnie Black, B. F. Perkins, Sam Doyle, Theora Hamblett, Pat Juneau, James “Son” Ford Thomas, Helen LaFrance, Reverend Herman Hayes, Mr. Imagination, Clementine Hunter, Jimmy Sudduth, Rita Fontenot, Prophet Royal Robertson, Tim Lewis, Shawne Major, Burgess Dulaney, and others.
In his selections for the show, Kopriva carefully considers the very subjective and social constructions of cultural categories such as “self-taught,” “outsider,” “contemporary,” “folk” and “visionary” art forms. The diversity of materials and backgrounds represented in this exhibition forges a dynamic understanding of place. Spatially, it is organized as a trip through 20 states.
“Becky and Wyatt Collins have simply collected what they enjoy,” says Kopriva. “In their quest for outstanding pieces of art, they have traveled all across the south, from remote farms and juke joints, to festivals and auctions. Theirs is a collection that has been built piece-by-piece, traveling through the backcountry and larger urban areas, forging close relationships with countless artists and craftspeople.
The exhibition also features four documentary films that explore the individual practices of many artists on view. Included are James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas: Artist (2015) by Jeffrey Wolf and Zach Wolf, MAKE (2011) by Scott Ogden and Malcolm Hearn, God’s Architects (2008) by Zachary Godshall,
and Made in Mississippi: Black Folk Arts and Crafts (1975) by William R. Ferris.
Spiritual Journeys: Homemade Art from the Becky and Wyatt Collins Collection has been generously supported by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.