Dialogues will take place Friday, January 23 and Saturday, January 24 in the 8th Floor Lecture Hall at the Metropolitan Pavilion. 


Organized by Randall Morris and Caroline Kerrigan

The 2015 Dialogues series continues the exploration of last year's theme, Collecticism–or collecting across genres. Featured lectures cover a wide range of topics–from the vast world of important art made by anonymous folk artists–to a very specific presentation on an upcoming documentary film about African-American artist Bill Traylor, whose work will be shown at a major retrospective exhibition in spring 2018 at the Smithsonian Museum.  In addition will be a talk on the rapidly up and coming field of Vernacular Photography, a talk on the powerful and intriguing contemporary artist Kirk Mangus, an important panel on the art and design of the Quilt and two long, overdue talks on the world wide expanding parameters of Art Brut.

Friday, January 23

Collecting Quilts, Past, Present, Tomorrow: History and Trends

Panel Discussion     Noon      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: With Roderick Kiracofe, Janneken Smucker, Ulysses Dietz, Denyse Schmidt and Amelia Peck

We have been fascinated by quilts for centuries now; by the fabrics that went into the making of them, the causes for which they were made, the comfort they provided; by their makers, both known and unknown; the stories they hold; the groups who made them, and more. 

This panel will explore the reasons for this fascination and the history and trends in quilt collecting, especially since the 1970s, covering topics such as: 

Presenting quilts as graphic art and the relationship between quilt making and parallel trends in 20th century painting–as they were shown in the "“Optical Quilts” exhibit at the Newark Museum. Is this still an important way to think about quilts, or have we found new ways to interpret and understand quilts over the past fifty years?   What are these ways of thinking about quilts, and how has the relatively new field of quilt scholarship influenced other fields, such as textile history, women’s studies, religious studies, etc.?  

Come listen and participate with a diverse group of individuals from the worlds of museums, academia, collecting, and making as they delve into the multiple layers of these questions and quite possibly raise a few more.

Presented by Roderick Kiracofe author of UNCONVENTIONAL & UNEXPECTED- American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000, Janneken Smucker, author of  Amish Quilts: Crafting and American Icon, Ulysses Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum, Amelia Peck, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Denyse Schmidt, Quilt and fabric designer, author.

To follow at 1:30pm Booksignings by Roderick Kiracofe and Janneken Smucker in the American Folk Art Museum booth.

Roderick Kiracofe is the author of the critically acclaimed The American Quilt: A History of Cloth & Comfort 1750-1950. He cofounded The Quilt Digest and curated “Showcase” for volumes 1–5; published Homage to Amanda: 200 Years of American Quilts for the three-year traveling exhibition under the auspices of SITES (Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services) and wrote the introductions for A Quilter’s Wisdom and Going West! Quilts and Community. He was a regular participant on the PBS series The Great American Quilt. Kiracofe also served as a consultant to the California Heritage Quilt Project. He’s been actively involved in the creation of some of the most important private and corporate quilt collections in the country, including those belonging to Bank of America, Levi Strauss & Co., and Esprit de Corp. Kiracofe has curated exhibitions in the United States and Japan.

Janneken Smucker is Assistant Professor of History at West Chester University where she specializes in digital history, public history, and American material culture. She is the author of Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and has contributed to Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000 (by Roderick Kiracofe, Abrams, 2014), “Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts (Brooklyn Museum, 2013), Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2009) and Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts: The Sara Miller Collection (Good Books, 2003). She has held fellowship appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, Winterthur Museum, and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Anonymous Stone Carving, with initials "H.D." 1935
Image courtesy of American Primitive Gallery, NY

The Unknown Artist

Lecture     2 pm      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: John Foster, independent curator, artist, and collector

In this illustrated presentation, John Foster discusses the anonymous artist and his/her role in the art of the United States.  In particular, Foster discusses why art collections are more balanced by the addition of quality anonymous art.

John Foster is a longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. He is also as an artist, photographer, designer, and art curator. His collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for nearly 10 year. In 2005, Art & Antiques named John one of the “Top 100 Collectors” in the United States. John currently serves on the Board of Trustees for SPACES, an organization dedicated to saving and preserving arts and cultural environments; and is an Advisory Board Member of the Folk Art Society of America. He was a co-founder of ENVISION Folk Art of Missouri and for 10 years edited their publication. He has been a guest speaker at the American Folk Art Museum in NY, The Peabody-Essex Museum; and at numerous museums, art conferences and universities across the country. 

Vivian Maier, Self-portrait taken in France

Sighting the Edge: Vernacular Photography

Lecture     4 pm      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: Ron Slattery, collector

Ron SlatteryVernacular Photography has reached such a place of importance in the art world that no collection of photography can be deemed complete without its inclusion.  Independent of mainstream agendas, vernacular photographs portray a unique vision of the heart of humanity.  One of its most important present day collectors and enthusiasts is Ron Slattery, known most recently for being one of the three collectors involved with the works of photographer Vivian Maier.  He will approach the field from a collector's viewpoint.

Saturday, January 24

Unglazed ceramic sculpture by Japanese artist Kazumi Kamae, 2014. Photo by Edward M. Gómez.

Art Brut from Japan: The International Context

Lecture     11 A.M.      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: Edward Gomez, arts journalist, critic and graphic designer

Edward Gomez will discuss the still-young, still-evolving field of art brut or outsider art as it has been developing in Japan in recent years and place it in the context of the already established, international art brut/outsider/self-taught art field.
At the same time, he will call attention to some other, broader tendencies in both the outsider/self-taught and the contemporary-art fields that have some influence or impact on what is happening in and emerging from Japan, again placing such developments in an international critical and art-historical context.

Edward M. Gómez is an arts journalist, critic and graphic designer. He is the senior editor of the London-based outsider-art magazine Raw Vision and the New York correspondent of the American magazine Art & Antiques. He has written and provided photography for the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Art + Auction, Metropolis (U.S.A.) Folk Art Magazine, Hyperallergic, the Japan Times (Tokyo), Reforma (Mexico City), the Jamaica Observer (Kingston) and many other publications. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and exhibition catalogs, including, among others, Dictionnaire de la Civilisation Japonaise (Hazan Éditions, 1998), Yes: Yoko Ono (Abrams, 2000), The Art of Adolf Wölfli: St. Adolf-Giant-Creation (American Folk Art Museum/Princeton University Press, 2003), Hans Krüsi (Iconofolio/Outsiders, 2006) and La Wilson: Five Decades (John Davis Gallery, 2013). His new book of stories (fiction), As Things Appear, will be published in the spring of 2015. He is based in New York and London.

Bill Traylor

Bill Traylor: Myth vs. Reality

Lecture     12:30 P.M.      8th Floor Dialogues

Jeffrey Wolf will discuss the latest version of his documentary Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts. This newly researched biographical history of Bill Traylor will give us more context towards understanding the intentions and connections of his drawings.  

Jeffrey Wolf is a writer, director and producer whose acclaimed 2008 documentary film James Castle: Portrait of an Artist, portrays James Castle’s life and creative process, as told by family members, artists, and members of the deaf community. David Ebony of Art in America reviewed the film as “evocative, beautifully shot and absorbing, with a refreshing lack of sentimentality.”  He is currently at work on two new films, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts and Searching for Martin Ramirez.

As an editor, Jeffrey is recognized for his film work with prominent directors Arthur Penn, John Waters, Lasse Hallström, and George C. Wolfe. Films include Billy Madison, Beautiful Girls, The Ref, Holes , Life and  Bachelorette. 2015 will see the completion of The Outskirts coming to theaters April 10th.

Kirk Mangus
Life in the Country (with 3 Figures)
stoneware, colored slip, sgraffito
31 x 17 x 17"

THINGS LOVE: The Legacy of Kirk Mangus

Panel Discussion     1:30 P.M.      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: Mindy Solomon, Judith Schwartz and Eva Kwong

Kirk Mangus (1952-2013) was an internationally recognized ceramicist and head of the ceramics department for 30 years at Kent State University.  This discussion with Mindy Solomon, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, FL; Judith Schwartz, Professor and Director of Sculpture in Craft Media area at New York University, curator, critic and author; and Mangus’ widow, Eva Kwong, is an introduction to this notable artist’s work and will highlight his immeasurable contributions to the field, including the recent exhibit, “Kirk Mangus: Things Love” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.  Kwong and Solomon offer perspectives on Mangus’ forms and style – which reflect his open embrace of a broad range of influences, including comics,  prehistoric animal figures, modernist abstraction, Japanese woodblock prints, and folk, Meso-American and Asian and ceramic traditions.

George Liautaud
"Ridden By Dambala" ca. late 50s early 60s
Forged Iron
Private Collection

Self-Taught Art: Expanding the World Parameters

Lecture     4 P.M.      8th Floor Dialogues
PRESENTED BY: Randall Morris, Cavin-Morris Gallery

When Jean Dubuffet first put together his theories on and collection of what he termed "Art Brut" there was very little work known from the Western Hemisphere and non-European countries.  He had no idea of the explosion of work that would surface right up to the present day all around the world.  This work, still coming form artists with no contact with the art mainstream has created vast and wonderful new potentialities for collectors, researchers and curators today.  This talk will focus on self-taught artists whose vital work is only now being recognized and appreciated by the art world.  It is a challenge to the gatekeepers of so-called "outsider" and Art Brut to update and open the field.

Booth Events

Events held in each exhibitor's booth throughout the fair.
The name "Larsen" is synonymous with 20th century textiles. Ever since Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc. was established in 1952, the influence of its innovative, farseeing founder has permeated the field of interior design. Ranging from filmy casement cloths to plush upholstery, from the formal geometry of complex doubleweave to the freshness of colorful organic prints, Larsen textiles have enhanced walls and floors of large company headquarters, educational institutions, jet planes, and private homes.