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Traveling Exhibitions


Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America

High Exhibition Dates:   August 20–December 12, 2021
Traveling Exhibition Dates:  
Brandywine River Museum of Art from May 28 – September 5, 2022
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art from October 30, 2022 – February 5, 2023

Nearly one hundred years ago, artists without formal training “crashed the gates” of the elite art world, as the newspapers of their day put it. Their paintings of American life, as well as fantastical scenes derived from their imaginations, began appearing in major museums. Featuring more than sixty works from leading collections across the country, Gatecrashers will illuminate how artists including John Kane, Horace Pippin, and Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses overcame class-, race-, and gender-based obstacles to enter the inner sanctums of the mainstream art world. These early “gatecrashers” defied life circumstances that limited their access to art training and, thus, redefined who could be an artist in America.

Although Kane, Pippin, and Moses were the most celebrated artists during this first wave of mainstream art world interest (1927–1950), Gatecrashers also includes lesser-known artists who were recognized in this period, including Josephine Joy, Pedro López Cérvantez, and Morris Hirshfield. Thematic galleries will explore how these artists were embraced as examples of American creative excellence and how their occupational histories played a role in advancing their art careers against the backdrop of Depression-era populism. Their paintings will be connected throughout to works on view from the High’s leading collection of self-taught art to demonstrate how these artists paved the way for subsequent generations of self-taught artists in the twentieth century.

This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Click on an image below to learn more.


Organization and Support

Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation.

National Endowment for the Arts

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate
wish Foundation logo.

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Corporate Environments
Elizabeth and Chris Willett

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens by Powell Stephens, Preston Stephens, and Sally Stephens Westmoreland
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.