Thornton Dial (b. 1928, Emelle, AL; d. 2016, McCalla, AL) transcended the circumstances of his birth to become a significant figure in the world of contemporary American art with the creation of drawings, assemblages, sculptures, and installations. His artistic legacy is testament both to the uniqueness of the African-American experience and the universal nature of the human condition.
Thornton Dial was born and raised in rural Emelle and began full-time work at the age of five, picking cotton and handling mules in the western flatlands of Alabama. Over the course of his life, he did “every kind of work a man can do” including carpentry, painting, construction, welding, plumbing, iron and steel work, and a thirty-year stint making train cars at Pullman-Standard in Bessemer, AL. He was by his own characterization, “a working man” and these cumulative experiences would be essential to the artist he became.
Studying Dial’s artistic output is akin to reading a more inclusive version of modern American history that traces the shared experiences of many African-Americans of his generation: sharecropping in the Black Belt, the Great Migration from rural to urban centers, the civil rights movement, the ethnic conundrums of a rapidly changing postmodern America, the election of the first African-American president, and beyond. This decades-long meditation is complex in both subject and materiality, and the gallery will be developing a multi-faceted program to examine the arc of his artistic evolution and place in the art-historical canon.
Dial’s work, in all its forms, was born of the same cultural impulse that gave rise to gospel, blues, jazz, and rock n’ roll. It is also closely aligned with the yard show, a visual counterpart to these musical idioms. This flowering of creativity proliferated across the Southern United States shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when many African-American artists intensified their creation of sculptural environments, and did so publicly, employing the front yard as a place for artistic expression alongside cemeteries, home interiors, or other more anonymous spaces the communities had occupied for centuries. Dial harnessed this history, and using found objects imbued with metaphorical significance, fused the yard show aesthetic with the patterning and sensibility of the patchwork quilt. His multilayered works confound aesthetic categorization and are perhaps best understood by what they have become: visual and symbolic bridges from the oldest African-American artistic traditions to major museums and collections across the globe. Dial’s masterful drawings treat many of the same overall subjects but are disproportionately focused on women and their complex roles as sources of power, strength, conflict, inspiration and love for an artist who never knew his father and was raised by his grandmother and great-aunt. His relationship to these women was fundamental and long inspiring, as they were his initial points of contact to a larger cultural history.
For Dial, art was tangible evidence of his freedom—something he did not take for granted—and a path to a brighter collective future for us all. He often examined events of the past but looked optimistically, if carefully, towards the future. In his own words, “I respect the past of life, but I don’t worry too much about it because it’s done passed. The struggles that we all have did, those struggles can teach us how to make improvement for the future. Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of the world. It can lead peoples through the darkness and help them from being afraid of the darkness. Art is a guide for every person who is looking for something. That’s how I can describe myself: Mr. Dial is a man looking for something.”
Thornton Dial’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (2016); Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN (2011); New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA (2011); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (2005); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY (1993); American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY (1993); and was included in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York, NY (2000). Dial is represented in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among many other museums.
2021 Allegory and History, David Lewis Gallery, New York, NY
The Earliest Years: 1987–1989, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2020 Dial World Part I: The Tiger That Flew Over New York City, David Lewis Gallery, New York, NY
Trip to the Mountaintop, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
2018 Mr. Dial's America, David Lewis Gallery, New York, NY
2016 Green Pastures: In Memory of Thornton Dial, Sr., High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
We All Live Under the Same Old Flag, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2015 Works on Paper, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2014 Independent Projects, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
2013 Daybreak, Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2012 Thoughts on Paper, curated by Jonathan Ferrara, Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; traveled to Fleming Museum of Art at University of Vermont, Burlington, VT; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN; Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Viewpoint of the Foundry Man, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY Virginia Union University and Art Gallery, Richmond, VA
2011 Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; traveled to New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Disaster Areas, Bill Lower Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2005 Thornton Dial in the 21st Century, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
2000 Drawings, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, NY
1998 His Spoken Dreams, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, NY
1995 Abstraction in the Art of Thornton Dial, Kennesaw State University, Marietta, GA
1993 Image of the Tiger, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY and American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY; traveled to American Center, Paris, France; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
1992 Works on Paper, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
1990 Strategy of the World, Southern Queens Park Association/African-American Hall of Fame, Jamaica, NY Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA Ladies of the United States, Library Art Gallery, Kennesaw State College, Marietta, GA
2022 Living Legacies: Art of the African American South, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
2021 Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South, Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY
2020 An Alternative Canon: Art Dealers Collecting Outsider Art, curated by Paul Laster, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
We Will Walk – Art and Resistance in the American South, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK
Folk and Self-Taught Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
African American Art in the 20th Century, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. and Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, IA; traveled to Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Winter Park, FL; Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA
Vernacular Woman, Ricco/Maresca, New York, NY
2019 Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA
Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Home Is a Foreign Place, Met Breuer, New York, NY
Artists I Steal From, curated by Alvaro Barrington and Julia Peyton-Jones, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, UK Memory Palaces: Inside the Collection of Audrey B. Heckler, American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY
2018 Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial and the Gee's Bend Quiltmakers, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
2017 Revelations: Art from the African-American South, de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art, Museum of Sex, New York, NY
2016 Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, NC; traveled to Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, KY
Post Black Folk Art in America 1930–1980–2016, Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, IL
2015 I See Myself in You: Selections from the Collection, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
History Refused to Die, Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL
2014 When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY Social Geographies: Interpreting Space and Place, curated by Leisa Rundquist, Asheville Museum of Art, Asheville, NC
2013 Seismic Shifts: Ten Visionaries in Contemporary Art and Architecture, National Academy Museum & School, New York, NY
2012 Thornton Dial and Lizzi Bougatsos, James Fuentes, New York, NY
Creation Story: Gee’s Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial, Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN The Soul of a City: Memphis Collects African American Art, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN
2011 All Folked Up! Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
2004 Testimony: Vernacular Art of the African-American South, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library and Exhibitions International, New York, NY; traveled to Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI; Columbia Museum and Gibbes Planetarium, Columbia, SC; AXA Gallery, New York, NY; Tubman African-American Museum, Macon, GA; Terrace Gallery, Orlando, FL
2003 In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., traveled to Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; Memphis Brooks Museum of Fine Art, Memphis, TN; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI; Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL
2000 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1999 African American Art: A Decade of Collecting, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
1998 Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1997 The Hirshhorn Collects: Recent Acquisitions 1992 - 1996, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Since Hall: New Acquisitions of Folk and Self-Taught Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Bearing Witness: African-American Vernacular Art of the South, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, NY
Human/Nature: Art and Landscape in Charleston and the Low Country, Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC
1995 Passionate Visions of the American South: Self -Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; traveled to University Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, CA; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
1991 The Dial Family, Ricco/Maresca, New York, NY
1989 Black Art, Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
2018 Finley, Cheryl, Randall R. Griffey, Amelia Peck, and Darryl Pinckney. My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018.
2017 Burgard, Timothy Angin. Revelations: Art from the African American South. San Francisco: de Young Museum; Munich: Prestel, 2017.
Life Go On: The Art of Thornton Dial. Richmond, VA: Virginia Union University, 2017.
Moten, Fred. Black and Blur. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.
2012 Scala, Mark. Creation Story: Gee Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2012.
Jones March, Philip and Karen Wilkin. Thornton Dial: Viewpoint of the Foundry Man. New York: Andrew Edlin Gallery, 2012.
Scala, Mark, ed. Creation Story: Gee’s Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2012.
2011 Cubbs, Joanne and Eugene Metalf. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial. Munich: DelMonico Books, 2011.
Herman, Bernard L. Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper. Chapel Hill, NC: Ackland Art Museum and University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
2007 Crown, Carol, and Charles Russell. Sacred and Profane: Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.
2005 Arnett, Paul, Joanne Cubbs, and Eugene Metalf. Thornton Dial in the 21st Century. Atlanta: Tinwood Books, 2005.
2004 Fine, Gary Alan. Everyday Genius: Self-taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.
2002 Giovanni, Nikki, Gary Miles Chassman, and Walter Leonard. In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Atlanta: Tinwood Books, 2002.
2001 Anderson, Brooke Davis and Stacy C. Hollander. American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.
Conwill, Kinshasha and Arthur C. Danto. Testimony: Vernacular Art of the African-American South: The Ronald and June Shelp Collection. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.
Russell, Charles, ed. Self-Taught Art: The Culture and Aesthetics of American Vernacular Art, Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2001.
2000 Arnett, William and Paul Arnett. Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art, Volumes 1 and 2. Atlanta: Tinwood Books, 2000.
1998 Longhauser, Elsa, Harald Szeemann, Lee Kogan, and Gerard C. Wertkin. Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An American Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1998.
1997 Beardsley, John. Art and Landscape in Charleston and the Low Country. Charleston: Spoleto Festival, 1997.
1995 Griffin, Roberta T. Abstraction in the Art of Thornton Dial. Marietta, GA: Kennesaw State College, 1995.
1994 Hall, Michael D. and Eugene W. Metcalf Jr. The Artist Outsider: Creativity and the Boundaries of Culture. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
1993 Whelchel, Harriet and Margaret Donovan. Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993.
Yellen, Alice Rae, ed. Passionate Visions of the American South: Self Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1993.
Johanson, Cynthia J. 20th Century American Folk, Self-Taught, and Outsider Art: A Resource Guide. Chicago: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1993.
1990 Rosenak, Cuck and Jan Rosenak. Museum of Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.
Bishop, Robert. Thornton Dial: Strategy of the World. New York: Southern Queens Park Association, 1990.
1989 Rozelle, Robert V. and Alvia Wardlaw. Black Art, Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989.
1983 Ferris, William R. Afro-American Folk Art and Crafts. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1983.
Articles and Reviews
2022 Acheampong, Nicole. “Looking Back to Fly Forward: ‘Another Tradition’ at the Morgan Library & Museum.” ArtNews.com, January 20, 2022.
2021 Cooper, Ashton. “Review: Thornton Dial at Parker Gallery.” Artforum (October 2021): 181.
2020 Berning Sawa, Dale. “America’s Deep South Heads to the UK’s South Coast for Remarkable Exhibition.” Theartnewspaper.com, February 4, 2020.
Thomas, Alexandra M. “Enter the Rich, Vibrant Worlds of Thornton Dial.” Hyperallergic.com, December 15, 2020.
2019 Heinrich, Will. “New York Galleries: What to See Right Now.” NYTimes.com, November 6, 2019.
Sheets, Hilary M. “There’s No Business Like Art Fair Business for Sanford Smith.” NYTimes.com, October 30, 2019.
Goldstein, Andrew. “5 Outstanding Works at Frieze London, From a Gripping Painting by Thornton Dial to Some Unsettling Photos by Cindy Sherman.” Artnet News, October 3, 2019.
Valentine, Victoria L. “Crystal Bridges Museum Announced 29 Acquisitions, Adding Works by Emma Amos, Jordan Casteel, Clementine Hunter, Henry O. Tanner, and Kehinde Wiley to Collection.” Culturetype.com, September 13, 2019.
Freeman, Nate. “What Sold at Art Basel in Basel.” Artsy.net, June 17, 2019.
Wolff, Natasha. “This Summer’s Can’t-Miss Art Fairs.” Forbes.com, June 6, 2019.
Curran, Colleen. “‘Our Goal Is to Be in the Top Three in the World When It Comes to African American Art,’ VMFA Opens Art from the African American South.” Richmond.com, June 6, 2019.
Ringle, Andrew. “New VMFA Exhibition Celebrates African American Art, Culture.” CommonwealthTimes.org, June 5, 2019.
Selvin, Claire. “Four U.S. Museums Acquire Works from Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” Artnews, April 29, 2019.
Nicholas, Elizabeth. “A Sotheby’s Vet Aims to Bring Downtown’s Spirit Uptown.” Garage.vice.com, January 21, 2019.
2018 Strugatch, Warren. “Filling Their Lives with Art, and Not Just One Piece at a Time.” NYTimes.com, November 22, 2018.
Montes, Bianca R. “DMA Acquires Works from Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” Peoplenewspapers.com, November 13, 2018.
Cascone, Sarah. “Making a Statement, Five Major Museums Acquire 51 Works by African American Artists from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” Artnet News, November 13, 2018.
Sheets, Hilarie M. “Five More Museums Acquire Art from Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” NYTimes.com, November 12, 2018.
Schwabsky, Barry. “A History of Salvage.” Thenation.com, October 18, 2018.
Sheets, Hilarie M. “High Museum of Art’s New Galleries Honour Their Public.” Theartnewspaper.com, October 12, 2018.
Fiske, Courtney. “Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial, and the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers.” Artforum (October 2018), 228.
The Editors of ARTNews. “Muses: Lonnie Holley on Thornton Dial, African Village in America, and Gee’s Bend Quilts.” Artnews.com, September 24, 2018.
Muelrath, Forrest. “Thornton Dial and Looking Good for the Price.” Hyperallergic.com, August 6, 2018.
“The Met Breuer’s Upcoming Exhibition Explores Abstract Expressionism.” Blouinartinfo.com, July 25, 2018.
Alexander, Aleesa P. “Thornton Dial Takes Fifth Ave.” Brooklynrail.org, July 11, 2018.
Kinsella, Eileen. “Does Being Labeled an ‘Outsider Artist’ Stall a Market? Thornton Dial, Now a Museum Sensation, Is Poised to Break Out.” Artnet News, June 29, 2018.
Scott, Andrea K. “An Invaluable, Incomplete Show of Black Southern Art at the Met.” Newyorker.com, June 18, 2018.
Wilkin, Karen. “‘History Refused to Die’ Review: A Visual Equivalent of Jazz.” Wsj.com, May 30, 2018.
Gomez, Edward M. “Outsider Art Comes to the Metropolitan Museum.” Hyperallergic.com, May 26, 2018.
Smith, Roberta. “At the Met, a Riveting Testament to Those Once Neglected.” NYTimes.com, May 24, 2018.
Allen, Brian. “The Met Unpacks its Souls Grown Deep Gift.” Theartnewspaper.com, May 23, 2018.
Stapley-Brown, Victoria. “Jackson Pollock and Thornton Dial Given Equal Billing in Met Exhibition.” Theartnewspaper.com, May 21, 2018.
Emerson, Bo. “What Caused the Shake-up at the High Museum?” AJC.com, April 16, 2018. Schwabsky, Barry. “Thornton Dial.” Artforum (April 2018), 178.
“Thornton Dial.” Newyorker.com, March 5, 2018.
Holmes, Jessica. “Thornton Dial: Mr. Dial’s America.” Brooklynrail.org, March 5, 2018.
Smith, Roberta. “What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week.” NYTimes.com, March 1, 2018.
Cascone, Sarah and Caroline Goldstein. “Editors’ Picks: 14 Things to See in New York This Week.” Artnet News, January 22, 2018.
Smith, Roberta. “The Outsider Fair Once More Confirms That Art Is Everywhere.” NYTimes.com, January 18, 2018.
2017 “Thornton Dial.” Wsimag.com, August 22, 2017.
“New Orleans Museum of Art Acquires Works from Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” Artforum (July 2017).
Stapley-Brown, Victoria, “Souls Grown Deep Expands the Canon of US Art.” Theartnewspaper.com, June 7, 2017.
“High Museum of Art Acquires Fifty-Four Artworks from Souls Grown Deep Foundation.” Artforum.com, April 25, 2017.
Valentine, Victoria. “Recognition: Souls Grown Deep is Collaborating with Museums on Acquisitions of Art by African Americans from the South.” Culturetype.com, March 14, 2017.
Cascone, Sarah. “Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Acquire 62 Works by African American Artists Including Purvis Young and Thornton Dial.” Artnet News, February 7, 2017.
Jovanovich, Alex. “Band of Outsiders.” Artforum.com, January 31, 2017.
Emerson, Bo. “Thornton Dial, Alabama artist, remembered as ‘extraordinary’” AJC.com, January 27, 2017.
Stapley-Brown, Victoria. “Three to See: New York.” Theartnewspaper.com, January 26, 2017.
Angeleti, Gabriella. “25 Years of Outsider Art Fair.” Theartnewspaper.com, January 20, 2017.
Daccela, Aria. “Why You Need to Check Out the New Exhibit at Museum of Sex.” Fashionunfiltered.com, January 19, 2017.
Lehrer, Adam. “New Exhibit at The Museum of Sex Examines Sexuality in the Work of Outsider Artists.” Forbes.com, January 18, 2017.
Straaten, Laura van. “Bringing Sexy Back: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire at the Museum of Sex.” Artnet News, January 17, 2017.
2016 “Donation of 93 Works by Self-Taught Artists Given to Smithsonian.” Artforum.com, December 1, 2016.
Victory, Constance. “A Timely Dial Tone: We All Live Under the Same Old Flag at Marianne Boesky Gallery.” AfterNyne.com, May 12, 2016.
Droitcour, Brian. “Thornton Dial.” Art in America (May 5, 2016).
Watson, Devon. “Marianne Boesky Gallery Commemorates Thornton Dial.” Theartreport.org, May 5, 2016.
Corral, Alexis. “15 Blockbuster Gallery Shows You Need to See in New York This May.” Artsy.net, April 29, 2016.
Laster, Paul. “Weekend Edition: 10 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before May 2.” Observer.com, April 28, 2016.
“9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week.” Artnews, April 25, 2016.
Reid, Zachary. “VMFA Adds 18 Works, Including Nine from African-American Artists.” Richmond.com, March 21, 2016.
Herman, Bernard. “Thornton Dial (1928–2016).” Artforum.com, February 18, 2016.
Russeth, Andrew. “Thornton Dial, Pioneering Artist Who Channeled Everyday Materials into Intricate Constructions, Dies at 87.” Artnews, January 26, 2016.
Cascone, Sarah. “Outsider Artist Thornton Dial Dead at 87.” Artnet News, January 26, 2016.
Grimes, William. “Thornton Dial, Outsider Artist Whose Work Told of Black Life, Dies at 87.” NYTimes.com, January 26, 2016.
2015 Valentine, Victoria. “After His Work Enters Met Museum Collection, Thornton Dial Joins New York Gallery.” Culturetype.com, November 24, 2015.
Halle, Howard. “The Top 10 NYC Gallery Exhibitions in November.” Timeout.com, November 6, 2015.
Gold, Sarah. “‘Outsider-Art’ under One Roof at Katonah Museum of Art.” NYTimes.com, August 13, 2015.
Watson, Devon. “Marianne Boesky Gallery Commemorates Thornton Dial.” Theartreport.org, May 5, 2015.
Kennedy, Randy. “Boesky Gallery to Represent Thornton Dial.” NYTimes.com, October 20, 2015.
Archibald, John. “Alabama Man Feted around the Globe, Forgotten at Home.” Al.com, June 5, 2015.
Gamerman, Ellen. “The Inside Guide to Outside Art.” Wsj.com, January 29, 2015.
Gomez, Edward. “From the Deep South, an Overlooked Chapter in Art History.” Hyperallergic.com, January 24, 2015.
Sellman, James. “Truly Transformative: Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gifts 57 Works of Art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” Folk Art Messenger (Winter 2015).
2014 Bienvenu, Loren. “Thornton Dial & Lonnie Holley at 333 Montezuma.” Pasatiempo.com, December 19, 2014.
Williams, Paige. “The Met Embraces Neglected Southern Artists.” New Yorker (December 4, 2014).
Kennedy, Randy. “For Met Museum, a Major Gift of Works by African-American Artists from the South.” NYTimes.com, November 24, 2014.
Niland, Josh. “The Met Hit the Jackpot of African-American Art.” Artnet News, November 24, 2014.
Sutton, Benjamin. “The Met Museum Nets Major Collection of Outsider Art from the South.” Hyperallergic.com, November 24, 2014.
2013 Hicks, Cinque. “Fallen Fruit of Atlanta.” Artforum.com, December 7, 2013.
Lowe, William. “Gallery Feature: Bill Lowe Gallery and Artist Thornton Dial.” Artnet News, September 30, 2013.
Williams, Paige. “Composition in Black and White.” New Yorker (August 12, 2013).
Doran, Anne. “Thornton Dial.” Art in America (March 27, 2013).
2012 Russeth, Andrew. “‘The Perfect Show’ at 303, ‘Out of the Blue’ at Bortolami, ‘Problem Play’ at Leo Koenig, Thornton Dial: ‘Viewpoint of the Foundry Man’ at Andrew Edlin.” Observer.com, December 4, 2012.
Cullem, Jerry. “Review: Engaging Politics, Race and Hope, Thornton Dial’s Masterful Art Rises above Labels.” ArtsATL.org, December 6, 2012.
Feaster, Felicia. “Art Review: ‘Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial’ at High.” Ajc.com, November 9, 2012.
Danto, Arthur C. “The Kids Are Alright.” TheNation.com, April 29, 2012.
McCash, Doug. “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial a Must-See at Noma.” The Times-Picayune (March 1, 2012).
2011 Wilkin, Karen. “Museums Reveal Degas’s Nudes and Islam’s Splendor.” Wall Street Journal (December 23, 2011).
Sellman, James. “Truth and Consequences: The 25-Year Friendship of Thornton Dial and Bill Arnett.” Folk Art Messenger (Summer 2011).
Kuspit, Donald. “Thornton Dial.” Artforum (Summer 2011).
Wilkin, Karen. “Biography, History, Self-Evident Beauty.” Wall Street Journal (April 21, 2011).
“Thornton Dial.” New Yorker (April 11, 2011).
Doran, Anne. “Thornton Dial.” Timeout.com, March 15, 2011.
Lacayo, Richard. “Outside the Lines.” Time Magazine (March 14, 2011).
Sesser, Stan. “Big Museum Show for an Ex-Welder.” Wall Street Journal (February 26, 2011).
Kino, Carol. “Letting His Life’s Work Do the Talking.” New York Times (February 17, 2011).
Gómez, Edward M. “On the Border.” Art & Antiques Magazine (February 2011).
Miller, Monica L. “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial.” Artforum (January 2011).
2010 Jones, Phillip March. “Thornton Dial, Sr.” White Hot Magazine (February 2010).
2005 Wallace, Michele. “Thornton Dial Sr.” Artforum (September 2005).
2000 Danto, C. Arthur. “2000 Biennial Exhibition.” Artforum (November 2000).
Siegel, Katy. “Biennial 2000.” Artforum (May 2000).
1997 McEvilley, Thomas. “The Missing Tradition.” Art in America (May 1997).
Kimmelman, Michael. “By Whatever Name, Easier to Like.” New York Times (February 14, 1997).
Smith, Dinitia. “Bits, Pieces and a Drive to Turn Them into Art.” New York Times, (February 5, 1997).
1995 Borum, Jenifer P. “William Edmondson.” Artforum (November 1995).
Borum, Jenifer P. “Thornton Dial.” Artforum (February 1995).
1994 Cardinal, Roger. “The Self in Self-Taught Art.” Art Papers (Sept–Oct 1994): 28-33.
Glueck, Grace. “Folk Art with Tigerish Force; Cunning and Trompe l’oeil.” New York Observer (January 1994).
Goodman, Jonathon. “Review of Thornton Dial, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of American Folk Art.” ARTnews (March 1994).
Page, Judith. “Review of Thornton Dial: Image of The Tiger, The New Museum of Contemporary Art.” Art Papers (September 1994).
Seaman, Donna. “Review of Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger.” Booklist 1 (January 1994).
Thompson, Robert Farris. “In the Forest of the Night.” Artforum (April 1994).
1993 Johnson, Ken. “Significant Others.” Art in America (June 1993).
Lloyd, Ann Wilson. “Thornton Dial at Luise Ross.” Art in America (May 1993).
Scott, Sue. “Thornton Dial [exhibition review].” ARTnews, no. 92 (April 1993).
Smith, Roberta. “A Young Style for an Old Story.” New York Times (December 19, 1993).
1991 Kuspit, Donald. “The Appropriation of Marginal Art in the 1980s.” American Art, 5, no. 1/2 (Winter–Spring 1991): 132-141.
Harper, Glenn. “Clyde Broadway.” Artforum (March 1991).
1990 Drennen, Eileen M. “Exhibition Preview.” Atlanta Journal Constitution (July 1990).
Drennen, Eileen M. and Bill Arnett. “Collector Backs Self-Taught Artist.” Atlanta Journal Constitution (July 1990).
Fox, Catherine. “Self-Taught Artist Makes Compelling Case for Human Rights.” Atlanta Journal Constitution (March 1990).
1988 Moorman, Margaret. “From Outside In.” ARTnews (October 1988).
1987 Kroll, Jack. “The Outsiders Are In: American Folk Artists Move into the World of Money and Fame.” Newsweek (December 2, 1987).
Museum and Public Collections
Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, Medford, MA
American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH
Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, IL
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington D.C.
Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY
The United Nations, New York, NY
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Text by Phillip March Jones.