The DART Board: 04.09.2021

By Peggy Roalf   Friday April 9, 2021

April 16, Film Forum, NYC and Laemmle NoHo, LA

Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts, a new documentary on the life and art of Bill Traylor, an American artist with a remarkable and unlikely biography, will be released next week, in person and online. Bill Traylor was born into slavery in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama. After the Civil War, Traylor continued to farm the land as a sharecropper until the late 1920s. Aging and alone, he moved to Montgomery and worked odd jobs in the thriving segregated black neighborhood. A decade later, in his late 80s, Traylor became homeless and started to draw and paint, both memories from plantation days and scenes of a radically changing urban culture. 

Above: Photo by Horace Perry, courtesy of Alabama State Council on the Arts. Left: Untitled (Dog Fight with Writing) from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum @1994 Bill Traylor Family Trust

Having witnessed profound social and political change during a life spanning slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration, Traylor devised his own visual language to translate an oral culture into something original, powerful, and culturally rooted. He made well over a thousand drawings and paintings between 1939-1942. This work eventually led him to be recognized as one of America’s greatest self-taught artists and the subject of a recent Smithsonian retrospective.

Using historical and cultural context, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life. The film, directed by Jeffrey Wolf and produced by Sam Pollard,  balances archival photographs and footage, insightful perspectives from his descendants, and Traylor’s striking drawings and paintings to reveal one of America’s most prominent artists to a wide audience. Info



Saturday, April 10, 9:00am-5:00 pm

HeyThere Projects is proud to feature the ceramic artwork of Lorien Stern. Lorien is a full time artist living in Inyokern, California, a small town in the Western Mojave Desert. She makes ceramic art and runs a small brand consisting of clothing, home goods, and accessories. Her goal as an artist, according to her website, is to make people feel happy when they see her work with subjects related to nature, celebration, and death. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2013 as an Individualized Major.

Initiated by artist and long-time DART subscriber Mark Todd, and Aaron Smith, Associate Chair of the Illustration Department at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, the gallery showcases emerging and established artists in a setting surrounded by vast natural splendor. 
HeyThere Projects, 61675 Twentynine Palms Highway, near the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, CA 


Saturday, April 17, Julie Saul Projects 

Maira Kalman | Women Hold Things

Julie Saul Projects is pleased to announce a pop-up exhibition of recent gouache paintings by Maira Kalman. The show will include selections from her recent booklet “Women Hold Things,” as well as paintings of artists in their studio, including Cezanne and his family, Eva Hesse, and Vladimir Horowitz. Collages and a print from David Byrne’s “American Utopia” are also included. Above: Gertrude Stein at her Desk

Kalman is known for her iconic, witty and keenly observed illustrated books for children and adults, but also performance, theater design, embroidery and unexpected antics of all types. She has published 32 books, and within the last year two booklets that each raised over $100,000 for voting rights and food distribution.
Maira Kalman | Women Hold Things will continue through June 12 at Julie Saul Projects 1133 Broadway, Suite 732 (corner of 26th Street), NY, NY Click Here To Make A Reservation Info



Continuing through June 5

David Sandlin | Belfaust: Paintings, screenprints, books

From the late 1960s until 1998, Northern Ireland suffered through The Troubles: an era of severe political and sectarian violence, which was particularly brutal in the cities of Derry and Belfast. It emerged from a tormented national history as a call for more civil rights by the area’s Catholic minority. At its heart was, and is, a bitter debate over whether Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom or rejoin Ireland as a united republic. Born in the late 1950s, artist David Sandlin grew up in Belfast during the 1960s and 70s, as the violence drastically increased. Sandlin’s family was Protestant, but siblings had married into Catholic families. Due to continued threats Sandlin’s family moved to rural Alabama in the United States. 

Sandlin says, “The Troubles ‘ended’ in the peace treaty of 1998. Here in America, our civil war concluded in 1865. And yet, the root causes of both these violent chapters lack sufficient resolution. History is key to the future, and we are perhaps at a turning point again.”  As the press release concludes, recently, both Brexit and the Trump Administration have tapped into veins of angry nationalism and populism.  As they grow they threaten to awaken the havoc and violence of the past. David Sandlin’s paintings are reflections on history by one who has lived, and suffered, through it, not just studied it.
David Sandlin | BelfaustApril 2-June 5 at Owen James Gallery. 59 Wooster Street, NY, NY Info



Notes from the Home Office

AI39 and AP36, the books themselves, have finally docked in New York, and are being shipped as I write. The books were delayed by five months due to censorship tactics by Chinese authorities. You can read the story of how this came to be, and how Director Mark Heflin strategized a non-aggressive protest while still getting the books printed in China in this article in Fast Company. To get your own copy of AI39, please go here; for AP 36, go here. These are sure to become collectors’ items. Above: Censored images by David Butow printed as inserts for AP36


Note from my desk at the Home Office 

If you've tried transparent watercolor and given up, this course is for you! The Interaction of Watercolor, on via Zoom, runs from April 12-May 17 in six 2-hour sections. And it's free to NYC residents thanks to funding by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Info   Register  @Sculptors.Alliance @peggy.roalf 
Questions? Please email