Winter Speaker Series: Stacy Hollander

February 15, 2020 2:00 pm Griswold House

"A Nation of Makers and the Invention of Folk Art"

Stacy Hollander, Former Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the American Folk Art Museum

The early American republic was a nation of makers. With an exuberance that was fueled by revolutionary fervor, enlightenment philosophy, and natural genius, the lives of Americans were filled with objects and artworks made by their own hands. Join us as we examine the roots of folk art; expressions created before the establishment of museums of art, widely enjoyed and considered a natural part of the “furniture of a house” rather than an elite art meant for the privileged few. The art and artists were themselves part of a story that was unfolding, but as art that continued to be conceived and appreciated outside museums, the public record has largely been lost. We’ll hear how the slow recovery of these histories was facilitated by two unlikely forces that aligned in the early years of the twentieth century: the colonial revival, a movement to recover a legitimate American heritage, and modernism, a desire on the part of the avant-garde to find a specifically American precedence for their own art.

Each lecture will be followed by audience Q&A and continued conversation in the galleries over hot tea, coffee, and scrumptious light fare and desserts.

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Stacy C. Hollander is an independent lecturer and writer and an authority on American self-taught art. She is the former Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Chief Curator, and Director of Exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, and organized nearly fifty original exhibitions for the museum during her tenure including Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions (2012), Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands (2010), The Seduction of Light: Mark Rothko | Ammi Phillip: Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008), and Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing (2008); as co-curator of Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum (2014), Traylor in Motion: Wonders from New York Collections (2013) and Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years of American Portraiture (1994); and as project coordinator of Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts (2011). Selected writings as author and coauthor include Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum (2014), The Seduction of Light: Mark Rothko | Ammi Phillip: Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008), American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum (2001), American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (2001), and Harry Lieberman: A Journey of Remembrance (1991). Hollander has also published on a wide range of folk art topics in magazines, scholarly journals, catalogs, and encyclopedias, and has lectured in the United States and abroad. Hollander received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her MA in American Folk Art Studies from New York University.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Lee C. Bakalarski
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., in memory of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard & Charlotte Carr Morrinson Ballard

Johanna and Ronald Becker
Mary Jennings
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
The Hope Foundation

This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Johanna Becker, Chairwoman
Bruce Amand
Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement
Eleanor Doumato
Richard Hunt
Anne DeBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Kathleen Shinners


David and Catherine Stolp Crane
Sheldon Peck (1797–1868)
Aurora, Illinois
c. 1845
Oil on canvas
35 11/16 x 43 5/8″
Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York
Gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2013.1.17
Photo © American Folk Art Museum, New York