Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America
August 20–December 11, 2021
After World War I, artists without formal training began showing their work in major museums, “crashing the gates” of the elite art world, as the newspapers of their day put it. This exhibition will celebrate more than a dozen early twentieth-century painters who fundamentally reshaped who could be an artist in the United States and paved the way for later generations of self-taught artists.
Gatecrashers will highlight three painters who became the most widely celebrated self-taught artists of the interwar period—John Kane, Horace Pippin, and Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses—and present their work alongside paintings by others, including Morris Hirshfield, Lawrence Lebduska, and Josephine Joy, who represent the breadth of the art world’s attraction to self-taught artists in the first half of the twentieth century. Despite their lack of formal training, these artists’ paintings of American life in the cities and rural communities where they lived, as well as fantastical scenes derived from their imaginations, were celebrated by fellow artists, collectors, and taste-making museums such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, especially in the 1930s and early 1940s. This exhibition will demonstrate how that recognition foreshadowed the increasing visibility of self-taught artists in today’s art world.
This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation.
This exhibition is made possible by
Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor
Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate
Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Robin and Hilton Howell
Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Elizabeth and Chris Willett
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.