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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Reliefs: Glad You Dead You Rascal You
Herbert Singleton

Herbert Singleton

(born New Orleans, LA 1945)

"When the river was low, I would find a plank of wood to carve. I would look at it and wonder if someone's house and life fell apart." Herbert Singleton, quoted in Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia, 1990

Herbert Singleton was born in the New Orleans district of Algiers. His art drew heavily on life in an inner-city neighborhood and addressed, comprehensively, themes of racial injustice and the rich African American cultural traditions of his region. Singleton started carving in the 1970s, making canes and relief carvings on old doors, cabinets, and driftwood.  

Image Credits: Originally photographed by Chuck Rosenak. Image is courtesy of the Chuck and Jan Rosenak research material, 1990-1999, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.