On the 80th anniversary of William Edmondson’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (the first African American artist to have that honor) Cheekwood celebrates the incredible work, life and legacy of one of Nashville’s most beloved and respected artists – featuring over 20 Edmondson sculptures from our collection.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, The Art of William Edmondson showcases Edmondson's sculpture, placing it in the mainstream of American art for the first time. This lavishly illustrated volume accompanies a traveling exhibition organized by the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville. In new interpretations that challenge long-held views about Edmondson's artistic naieveté, the essays emphasize his profound and intimate connection to his community and its traditions. Adding immeasurably to the understanding of Edmondson's art are photographs by Edward Weston, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and Consuelo Kanaga that show the artist in his community and his workplace. Edmondson's first works were memorial gravestones. Later he created animal, human, and celestial figures. His carvings were inspired by his faith, community, and culture. He told the story of how God spoke to him. "I was out in the driveway with some old pieces of stone when I heard a voice telling me to pick up my tools and start to work on a tombstone. I looked up in the sky and right there in the noon daylight He hung a tombstone out for me to make."