January 10 – February 11, 2018

Curated by Marcus Jahmal


Hawkins Bolden, Archie Byron, Marcus Jahmal, Bessie Harvey, William Hawkins, Tau Lewis, Joe Light, J.B. Murray, Curtis Santiago, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mary T. Smith and Qiarah Torrè


Yard Show is an exhibition highlighting self-taught artists of the African diaspora that ranges in scope from living, non-degree artists working within the spectrum of contemporary art to American self-taught masters such as William Hawkins, Mary T. Smith, Bessie Harvey and Joe Light. Despite differences in geography and artistic intent, these artists approach similar themes and explore their personal histories through art making.

The short-lived heyday of African American outdoor art environments, or “yard shows,” created in the South following the Civil Rights Movement was one of the most important moments in the history of American art, yet the artists who created these epic yard shows remain understudied, undervalued, and more often than not cast into the vague territory of outsider and vernacular art. Forward-thinking individuals and organizations such as the Souls Grown Deep Foundation have long fought to integrate this work into the dialogue of contemporary art as well into the collections of major museums. While this is heartening and finally having an effect, it is still an uphill battle. These artists are far too often pushed into the realm of folk art despite having produced work that is more disruptive, singular and culturally expressive than this label can possibly connote, and which is more stylistically original than the vast majority of American contemporary art.

Artwork made by artists of the African diaspora in North America is inherently imbued with the wealth of pre-Columbian ancestral knowledge that has been passed down for centuries. Vibrant colors, highly unique forms, a complex usage of found materials and invented languages elicit a defiant call for change and open the door for a deeper understanding of experiences many of us have not, and cannot, have first hand.

In addition to the gallery installation, this exhibition will be extended to the Outsider Art Fair (booth #59), which is being held at the Metropolitan Pavilion from January 18th–21st.


Outsider Art Fair

Metropolitan Pavillion 

125 W. 18th Street

New York, NY 10011



Thursday, January 18, 2018

VIP Early Access Preview: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Vernissage: 6:00 - 9:00 PM


Open to the Public

Friday, January 19, 2018: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 20, 2018: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Sunday, January 21, 2018: 11:00 - 6:00 PM