Max posted yesterday on the Arkansas Blog a link to the New York Times story on African American artists finally getting their due. There was a reference in the article to our own Darrell Walker, the former Razorback basketball star who has a major collection of African American art:
But prices for critically successful artists who came of age earlier, even as recently as the 1960s and ’70s, still lag behind what many dealers think they should be. Mr. [Sam] Gilliam, who represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1972 and whose draped canvases have had a strong influence on younger painters trying to rethink the medium, has only recently broken $300,000 at auction, though works by Mr. Gilliam on view recently at the Frieze Masters art fair in London were priced at up to $500,000.
“I’m sorry, but I really believe that if he were a white artist, you wouldn’t be able to afford him now; you wouldn’t be able to touch him unless you had several million,” said Darrell Walker, the former professional basketball player and coach, who has collected works by Mr. Gilliam, Norman Lewis and other black artists for more than 30 years.
So maybe you’d like to see work by Sam Gilliam, or Betye Saar, also mentioned in the New York Times story? You’re in luck. Hearne Fine Art has just opened the exhibition “Treasure,” featuring works by not just Gilliam and Saar but Lawrence Finney, John Biggers, Samella Lewis, Alfred Conteh, Dean Mitchell, Phoebe Beasley, Bisa Butler and others.
Walker, Eye Candy readers will remember, helped the Arkansas Arts Center get the exhibition “30 Americans” of top contemporary artists. You can see examples of his collection, some of which was exhibited at the University of Arkansas, here.