Artwork Title: Manteca

Manteca, 1948

Harry Smith

I remember, not exactly when, but the feeling of when I first realized the Harry Smith behind the Anthology of American Folk Music (1952) was also the Harry Smith who made Early Abstractions (1964) and other avant-garde films. Then I remember having the feeling again when I went to the James Cohen Gallery in NY in 2002 to see a show of his paintings called The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward. According to the catalog, Smith considered painting his primary vocation, which was striking as he’s much more central to the histories of film and popular music. (A lot of rock & roll, for example, through the folk music revival, springs directly from Smith’s LPs.) But the assertion made sense to me standing in front of his art; the intensity of meticulous obsession radiating off the works was palpable. They often have an astonishing formal intricacy yet their inspiration clearly lies elsewhere... []
Uploaded on Apr 27, 2018 by Suzan Hamer

Arthur is a
Digital Museum