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Vision and Vernacular: Eight African-American Artist in Venice



For over a century the Venice Biennale has been the worlds leading cultural institution, promoting new artistic trends and contemporary art; giving cutting edge artists an international platform. This year, the Venice Biennale will unveil, “Vision and Vernacular: Eight African-American Artists in Venice”. The exhibit is presented by The American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), and it will be the first time folk art (self taught artists) is presented on such a prestigious international platform.

Tin Man

Tin Man

The question of who becomes a formally trained versus a self taught artist is inextricably tied to economics, which all too often dictates the difference between fine art and popular (street) art. With this exhibit, Venice Biennale will give new validity to art that has spoken for inner-city peoples for decades.

Mr. Imagination

The eight artists selected by AFAM to show in Venice will execute an on-site original instillation at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, on the Grand Canal. Installation artists include, Lonnie Holley, Gregory Warmack (a.k.a Mr. Imagination), Charlie Lucas (a.k.a. Tin Man), and Kevin Sampson; who will represent the marksmanship of African American Contemporary Outsider Artists. The remaining four artists, Steven Ogburn (a.k.a. Blade), Chris Ellis (a.k.a. Daze), Lin Felton (a.k.a. Quik), and Aaron Goodstone (a.k.a. Sharp) will represent the diversity of the urban vernacular of Graffiti.


The Exhibit opens in June and will serve as a catalyst of recognition for self taught artists everywhere.

****UPDATE 4.26.11****

Benetton, who had planned to cooperate with the American Folk Art Museum on an exhibition of African American self-taught artists and graffiti muralists in Venice during the Biennale, announced that they will postpone the project. The site-specific exhibition was planned for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a property owned by the Benetton family, adjacent to the Rialto Bridge. “This is a very large historic building and has been unoccupied for many years,” said a Benetton spokesperson. “Due to its condition, we were unable to obtain the necessary permits, certifications, and finish the modifications necessary to insure the safety of the crowds expected for this exhibition. The project has been postponed to the reopening of the Fondaco after its renovation by Rem Koolhaus.”

Image Layout by C_Rocka

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