New and on view at the American Folk Art Museum

Editorial Staff Art

Sgraffito plate with horse and rider by John Neis, 1805. Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian. All images courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum.

“Where’s the permanent collection?” It’s a frequently asked question at the American Folk Art Museum, which lost access to its expansive midtown digs in 2011, along with much of its programmatic flexibility. The want for space was partially satisfied by the museum’s Self-Taught Genius Gallery, which opened in Queens in 2017, and is now being addressed at the museum’s main exhibition site at 2 Lincoln Square in Manhattan, with the inauguration of a new “gallery”: a long glass display case full of works that’ll give visitors a taste of what the AFAM has to offer, conveniently located in front of the lockers where visitors are asked to leave their belongings before entering the main galleries.

Untitled painting by Minnie Evans, 1959. American Folk Art Museum, gift of Jacqueline Loewe Fowler.

The first selection of pieces, organized by AFAM senior curator Valérie Rousseau and former chief curator Stacy Hollander, encompasses pieces from New England to Illinois, and includes the work of fan favorites Henry Darger, James Castle, and Edward Hicks, alongside curious objects like a sgraffito plate depicting a horse and rider by John Neis and a swirling, figurative and flowery oil painting by Minnie Evans, summarizing the diverse religious and cultural inheritance of US folk art.