NOMA curatorial assistant Anne C.B. Roberts shares some don’t-miss moments in “Self-Taught Genius” and “Unfiltered Visions” exclusively with Advocate readers:
1. George Widener, Funeral for Titanic 2007 (in “Self-Taught Genius”)
This fascinating, intricate drawing by “calendar-savant” George Widener records every Tuesday from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 through 2612. The number of Tuesdays across this 700-year span roughly correlates to the number of survivors from the tragic wreck.
2. Asa Ames, Phrenological Head c. 1850 (in “Self-Taught Genius”)
The pseudosciences of phrenology and faculty psychology, which associated personality traits or behaviors with particular parts of the brain, is represented in this beautifully carved portrait of a young girl.
3. Moses Eaton Jr., Sample Box and Ten Panels c. 1820-30 (in “Self-Taught Genius”)
These gorgeous panels and their carrying case are examples of the variety of painting techniques the artist could employ for commissions of painted furniture or frames.
4. Christian Strenge, Liebesbrief c. 1790 (in “Self-Taught Genius”)
The precision of this stunning, mandala-like fraktur painting is captivating. Composed of 16 hearts inscribed with messages of love and devotion, we do not know either who gave or received this love letter.
5. Achilles G. Rizzoli, Mother Symbolically Represented/The Kathedral 1936 (in “Self-Taught Genius”)
Rizzoli, a draftsman at an architecture firm, used his professional skill in a series of drawings in which he meticulously represented family and friends as architectural structures. This one of five transfigurations for his mother exemplifies her strength, beauty and spirituality.
6. Purvis Young, Angels Over the City 1989 (in “Unfiltered Visions”)
Purvis Young, whose work is included in both “Self-Taught Genius” and “Unfiltered Visions,” sought to document social injustices and effect change in his Miami community through his artwork.