Siddhartha Mitter

  • Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor

    The detective work in Between Worlds is so engrossing that one may be forgiven for forgetting that the book is also an exhibition catalogue. It accompanies an extensive retrospective, now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, of Bill Traylor’s paintings and drawings. Traylor, who died in 1949, is considered one of the most important “folk” or “self-taught” American artists. But this project demonstrates in magisterial manner how his work exceeds these limiting categories.

    Born into slavery, probably in 1853, Traylor was a farm laborer in the area between Selma and Montgomery,