Asheville Art Museum opens 'Huffman Gifts of Contemporary Southern Folk Art'

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Asheville Art Museum opens 'Huffman Gifts of Contemporary Southern Folk Art'
Barry Gurley Huffman, Feeding the Family, 1990, acrylic on canvas, 14 × 18 inches. Asheville Art Museum. © Barry Gurley Huffman.

ASHEVILLE, NC.- Huffman Gifts of Contemporary Southern Folk Art features gifts of contemporary southern folk art including paintings, ceramics, and more from the collection of Allen and Barry Huffman. The exhibition is on view in the Asheville Art Museum’s Judith S. Moore Gallery from April 7 through September 13, 2021.

Allen and Barry Huffman have been collecting contemporary southern folk art for the past 40 years. Both collectors are originally from the South, and their journey together has led them around the southeastern United States, from Florida to Alabama to their hometown of Hickory, NC. In each place, they formed bonds with regional artists and learned first-hand the narratives of each artwork. Within their collection are subsets of folk art, including self-taught artists driven to share their messages, crafts for the tourist market, and southern pottery. The guiding principle evident throughout their collection and the generous donation of contemporary southern folk art that they have gifted to the Asheville Art Museum is the story told by each of these artists through their artworks.

“The Asheville Art Museum is fortunate to have friends like the Huffmans; not only are they prolific collectors who have generously shared gifts with the Museum, but their knowledge about southern contemporary folk art and its artists enriches the region,” says Whitney Richardson, associate curator. “I have such respect for the curious nature with which Allen and Barry have approached adding each artwork to their collection. They formed a friendship with almost every artist they bought from and have a genuine interest in the stories being told by the art and its artist.”

Artists featured include Barry Gurley Huffman (GA, 1943–Present Hickory, NC), James Cook (Glen Alpine, NC 1934–1984 Lawndale, NC), Albert Hodge (Vale, NC 1941—Present Vale, NC), Howard Finster (Valley Mead, AL 1916–2001 Rome, GA), Addie James (SC 1943–2011 Statesville, NC), James Harold Jennings (Pinnacle, NC 1931–1999 Pinnacle, NC), LaVon Van Williams Jr. (Lakeland, FL 1958–Present Lexington, KY), and more.

This exhibition is organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Whitney Richardson, associate curator.

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