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Taylor, Bill - SAAM Washington

Between Worlds
Bill Traylor is one of the most celebrated American self-taught artists. His drawn and painted imagery embodies the crossroads of multiple worlds: black and white, rural and urban, old and new. His life—which spanned slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Great Migration and foreshadowed the era of Civil Rights—offers a rare perspective to the larger story of America.
The Art of Bill Traylor is the first retrospective ever organized for an artist born into slavery and the most comprehensive look at Traylor’s work to date. The exhibition (29.09.2018 - 17.03.2019), for the first time, will carefully assess Traylor’s stylistic development and interpret his scenes as ongoing narratives rather than isolated events. His layered messages blended common imagery with arcane symbolism and used ambiguity as a means to explore themes of freedom and struggle in the Jim Crow South. His work balances narration and abstraction and reflects both a personal vision and the black culture of his time. (Text: SAAM)