Conference Program — Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor” Symposium

Friday, February 22, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Bill Traylor (c. 1853–1949) is among the most important American artists of the 20th century. SAAM organized a groundbreaking exhibition of Traylor’s work, Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, which brings together 155 drawings and paintings to provide the most encompassing and in-depth study of the artist to date.

During this Symposium, a distinguished group of scholars present new insights and information about how one man’s visual record of African American life gives larger meaning to the story of the nation.

A drawing in black of a woman sitting down on a chair.

Bill Traylor, Untitled (Seated Woman), ca. 1940–1942, pencil and opaque watercolor on paperboard. Smithsonian American Art Museum; The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson © 1994, Bill Traylor Family Trust. Photo by Gene Young

Program Schedule

12:30 p.m.
Doors open/opening remarks

Session One

1:00 p.m.
Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

1:10 p.m.
Leslie Umberger, exhibition curator, Smithsonian American Art Museum
“The Art of Bill Traylor: Interpreting a Visual History”

1:40 p.m.
William Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Memory and Sense of Place in the Art of Bill Traylor”

2:10 p.m.
Richard J. Powell, Duke University
“Bill Traylor's Yellow Chicken

2:40 p.m.
Discussion with Session I Panelists

3:15 p.m.

Session Two

3:45 p.m.
Randall Seth Morris, independent curator, writer, and co-owner of Cavin-Morris Gallery
“Hoodoo in the Homeground: The Conjure Context in Bill Traylor's Drawings”

4:15 p.m.
Diana Baird N'Diaye, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
“Bill Traylor’s Stylescapes”

4:45 p.m.
Radcliffe Bailey, artist
“Bill Traylor Blue”

5:15 p.m.
Discussion with Session II Panelists

6:00 p.m.
Reception, McEvoy Auditorium lobby


This program is the inaugural symposium in the Margaret Z. Robson Symposium Series. Support for the series is provided by Douglas O. Robson.