"My Soul Has Grown Deep" by Randall R. Griffey

My Soul Has Grown Deep Black Art from the Rural South Randall R. Griffey, Amelia Peck, Darryl Pinckney

Publication date:
26 Jun 2018
Metropolitan Museum of Art
240 pages: 241 x 216mm
200 color illus.


A celebration of contemporary art by self-taught Black Southern artists 

This book examines the art-historical significance of a major group of self-taught artists from the American South. My Soul Has Grown Deep features works by Black painters and multi-media artists including the pioneering constructions of Thornton Dial and renowned quilts from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Nearly 60 remarkable examples– originally collected by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation – are featured here, alongside insightful texts that explore their evocation of a Southern Black aesthetic, establishing important connections to the mainstream of contemporary art.
The book’s three essays illuminate the artists’ novel use of found or salvaged materials, the work of the Gee's Bend artists in the broader history of American quilts, and the political context of the American South during and after the Civil Rights era, in which this art is grounded.  The works described, and beautifully illustrated, tell a remarkable story of creativity in the face of enormous difficulties, and were made by artists whose determination produced new and unique forms of artistic expression.

Randall Griffey is associate curator and Amelia Peck is Marica F. Vilcek Curator of American Decorative Arts, and manager of The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art, both at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Darryl Pinckney is a playwright, novelist, and frequent contributor to New York Review of Books.