Thornton Dial

Société and David Lewis present Thornton Dial: Allegory and History, the artist’s first ever exhibition outside the United States. The exhibition will encompass all periods of Dial’s production. It presents major works that trace the development of this significant American artist’s materialist reckoning with the problem of history, historical trauma, questions of memory, and representation.

On this occasion, we flip through Dial’s 1993 catalogue Image of the Tiger (Museum of American Folk Art, New York) and re-publish some quotes from Amiri Baraka’s strong and insightful essay “Fearful Symmetry. The Art of Thornton Dial”.


Thornton Dial with All the Cats in Town, 1993

Courtesy The Artist and Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Société and David Lewis  

Thornton Dial (1928 in Emelle, AL, USA – 2016 in McCalla, AL, USA) has had solo exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2016, 2013); New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); Indianapolis Museum of Art (2011); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2005); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1993); and the American Folk Art Museum, New York (1993).

Recent group exhibitions include the de Young Museum, San Francisco (2017); Birmingham Museum of Art (2017); Saint Louis Art Museum (2016); Intuit, Chicago (2016); Brooklyn Museum (2015); The StudioMuseum in Harlem, New York (2014); Museum of African American History, Detroit (2002); Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2002); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2000); and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (1994), among many others. Dial’s work is included in many public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Brooklyn Museum; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., among many others.