Authenticity as a Fortunate TradeNanci Hersh
collection of Ed McGowin & Claudia Demonte
I got this Bill Traylor more than thirty years ago in a trade with a man who owned several Traylors. I asked that he loan it for an exhibit I curated with my wife Claudia DeMonte with pieces from our own collection.
I had seen the Traylors in the studio of the artist Charles Shannon from Montgomery, Alabama but could not afford to buy one. This trade was extremely generous and very good luck.
I had always admired Traylor’s work for the economy of the technique and the authentic marks he made. The integrity of the so-called “untrained artist” is something that has long made me question many of the values in todays high art context.
Ed McGowin is a sculptor, painter, collector and world traveler. He has created and published an “expansive body of art that ultimately falls outside of traditional categories. His paintings, sculptures, conceptual art, films writings and public art installations have in common a southern sensibility, one rooted in his early experiences in Mississippi and Alabama.” His name change project is documented in Ed McGowin, Name Change, One Artist, Twelve Personas, Thirty Five Years.
I had the good fortune to be a studio assistant to Ed, and later, for his wife Claudia many years ago. Both were very generous and offered a window, to this then fledgling art student, in the practice and business of being a professional artist.