/// July 11 @ 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
In collaboration with the New Orleans Film Society, the Ogden Museum presents “Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts,” a film exploring the life of a unique African American artist, a man with a remarkable and unlikely biography. The film is a compelling human narrative that gives voice to a man who endures a long life of extreme hardships during an era of legalized racial indignities, to become one of America’s most prominent artists, exhibited in museums and collections worldwide.
Prior to the screening, Leslie Umberger, Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, will discuss “The Art of Bill Traylor: Interpreting a Visual History.”
Following the screening, Ogden Museum Curator of the Collection, Bradley Sumrall, will moderate a Q&A with Umberger and Jeffrey Wolf, the film’s director, producer and editor.
This event is free to Ogden Museum and New Orleans Film Society members.
About the Talk
In “The Art of Bill Traylor: Interpreting a Visual History,” Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Washington, will discuss the art and life of the artist Bill Traylor, as well as the challenges of researching and interpreting an autobiographical oeuvre recorded almost solely in pictures. Umberger organized Between Worlds: the Art of Bill Traylor for SAAM in 2018-19, and is the author of the accompanying monograph, which presents an unparalleled look at an enigmatic artist whose lifetime in Alabama bridged the final years of slavery and the dawning civil rights movement.Purchase Tickets
/// Photo by Horace Perry, Courtesy Alabama State Council on the Arts
Bradley Sumrall is Curator of the Collection for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. A native son of Mississippi, he currently lives in the Historic Faubourg Tremé of New Orleans. He has written extensively on the art and culture of the American South, and has served as curator for over sixty museum exhibitions, including The Whole Drum Will Sound: Women in Southern Abstraction, Michael Meads: Bent not Broken, One World Two Artists: John Alexander and Walter Anderson, The Created World of Enrique Alferez and From Terra to Verde: The Art of Sharon Kopriva. His exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, Art Forum, Hyperallergic and Terremoto Magazine, among other online and print publications. His books include One World, Two Artists: John Alexander and Walter Anderson, From Terra to Verde: The Art of Sharon Kopriva, Michel Varisco: Shifting, and Clementine Hunter: A Sketchbook. He has served as juror for numerous exhibitions and competitions, including the inaugural position as juror for the Taubman Museum’s triennial, Homeward Bound.
Leslie Umberger is curator of folk and self-taught art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She organized the major retrospective, and is the author of the accompanying monograph, Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, and in 2017 directed the reinstallation of SAAM’s folk art galleries. Her other notable publications include Something to Take My Place: The Art of Lonnie Holley (2015), Untitled: The Art of James Castle (2014), and Sublime Spaces & Visionary Worlds: Built Environments of Vernacular Artists (2007).
Jeffrey Wolf made the acclaimed documentary, James Castle: Portrait of an Artist, an award-winning film that delves into the life and creative process of the artist James Castle, as told by family members, artists and members of the deaf community. Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts is Wolf’s second feature length documentary. He has also made short films about the following artists: James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas, Martin Ramirez, Elijah Pierce, and Gregory Van Maanen. As a feature film editor, Wolf is recognized for his film work with prominent directors such as Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, David Grubin, John Waters, Ted Demme, and Lasse Hallström. Films include The Ref, Beautiful Girls, Holes, Life, among others.
/// Photo by Henry Adebonojo