Gallery Talk: Bill Traylor

When: Sat., May 26, 11 a.m. 2012

The story of artist Bill Traylor is one of the best in art history: He was born into slavery, didn’t start making work until he was an old man, but his art, which wasn’t considered valuable until long after his death, is now heralded as some of the greatest ever created. But even without the grandiose backstory, Traylor’s work stands out. He used discarded scraps (often misshapen, the way a box or an envelope can be after it’s been unfolded and flattened out) instead of canvas, and his figures are cartoonishly deviant — an arch-backed man swigging from a liquor bottle, a man kicking an old lady, a dog with saucer-sized eyes and prominent genitals. The show opens on Friday, but I’d recommend going on Saturday, when Susan Mitchell Crawley, the folk art curator at Atlanta’s High Art Museum and a Bill Traylor expert, will be leading a gallery talk through the exhibition. Fans of Cheekwood stalwart William Edmondson, contemporary street art, and everything in between should put this event at the top of this weekend’s priority list.

Laura Hutson

Price: $7-10

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