The unfortunate shuttering (and subsequent demolition) of the American Folk Art Museum's flagship building in 2013 continues to impact the city's museum landscape. While Folk Art is still on display in Manhattan, the museum's collections far exceed the museum's limited gallery space near Lincoln Center. In 2017, the museum opened the Self-Taught Genius gallery in its offices in Long Island City with the goal of making its permanent collection available for study.
What You Will See
The main museum focuses on temporary thematic exhibitions, with pieces drawn from its own collection or paired with loans from other institutions. While the Self-Taught Genius Gallery is also organized around changing thematic exhibitions, the themes are much broader and showcase only works from the museum's own collection. Folk Art spans mediums. Traditional paintings, sculptures, and photographs are on view. But so are less-common mediums of creative expression, including furniture, toys, carvings, and tools. And, of course, you will see quilts.
Why You Should Go
If you love the museum's flagship gallery in Manhattan, the short trip to Long Island City is richly rewarded by this gallery. But even if you think you are not a fan of Folk Art, give this a shot. The current state of Contemporary Art often makes it difficult to distinguish it from Folk Art. If you are a fan of the non-traditional, the creative outsider, or just quilts, include the Self-Taught Genius Gallery on your tour of L.I.C. shows.