The Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary Announces Elizabeth Talford Scott Exhibition and Community Celebration
MICA Exhibition Development Seminar students to work with cultural organizations and colleges across Baltimore to celebrate Talford Scott from November 2023 through May 2024
BALTIMORE, MD (UPDATED November 14, 2023)—Twenty-five years ago, the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) inaugural Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) organized a landmark retrospective of Elizabeth Talford Scott’s vibrant mixed-media fiber works that brought significant recognition to the artist and modeled innovative community-centered approaches to curation and interpretation. This fall, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is partnering with MICA and the Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary to build upon that legacy with an exhibition guest-curated by MICA Curator-in-Residence Emeritus George Ciscle and organized by BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann in dialogue with a new generation of EDS students. On view November 12, 2023, through April 28, 2024, and borrowing the same title as the original exhibition, Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott features 19 stunning works by the artist, four of which are in the BMA’s collection.
Following Elizabeth Talford Scott’s earlier Baltimore exhibition: Both Sides Now- The Spirituality, Resilience, and Innovation of Elizabeth Talford Scott (February 20 – April 28, 2023 at Goya Contemporary Gallery), The Estate is thrilled to continue dialogue around this important American artist.
With support from the estate, and guided by instructor Deyane Moses, EDS students are organizing “No Stone Left Unturned: The Elizabeth Talford Scott Initiative,” expanding the recognition of Talford Scott’s oeuvre with presentations of her work at eight other institutions that have a significant history with the artist and/or EDS: Cryor Art Gallery at Coppin State University, George Peabody Library of Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Center for History and Culture (MCHC), Decker Gallery at MICA, JEMLA-James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University, The Peale, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and the Walters Art Museum. These presentations will be on view February through May 2024, with a kickoff opening event at the BMA on Sunday, February 4.
Elizabeth Talford Scott’s creative legacy was inherited from generations of craftspeople in her family who had honed their expertise and persisted in their artistry through the deprivations of slavery and its aftermath in sharecropping, migration, and segregated city life on their quest for a life of freedom. She believed artmaking can offer human beings the opportunity to break free of limiting social categories, evolving new ways of communicating and nurturing dreams. Her innovative fiber works incorporate stones, buttons, shells, bones, sequins, beads, knotted material, glass, and other unconventional objects amassed in bright, bold, and lively compositions that boast heavily layered surfaces and organic, unstructured shapes. “Embedded within these lush surfaces are personal and worldly narratives and symbols that reference flowers, animals, astronomy, insects, sea creatures, monsters, dreams, superstitions, and good luck charms.” Among the highlights of the BMA’s exhibition are Talford Scott’s majestic Plantation (1980), a dazzling quilt in the BMA’s collection that envisions the big dipper as a matriarchal beacon of freedom; Joyce’s Quilt (1983), a tribute to her daughter with bold blocks of color; and Grandfather’s Cabin/Noah’s Ark (1993–96), an exquisite story quilt that recalls memories of the cabin her grandfather built on Blackstock Plantation in South Carolina.
In addition to the artworks, the exhibition features several interpretive elements that expand opportunities for accessible visitors’ engagement. Visitors can pick up an accessible guide of audio transcripts and visual descriptions at both entrances of the exhibition. Archival interviews of Elizabeth Talford Scott from MICA, Maryland Public Television, and WJZ CBS News Baltimore are compiled so visitors can see and hear how she worked. Tactile elements include a 3D-printed version of Carl Clark’s photographic portrait of the artist plus a double-sided quilt sample created by MICA Quilt Group Liaison and EDS collaborator Sarah Z. Barnes. The Community Celebration Gallery, organized by EDS Student Curators Aleem Allison of Morgan State University and Maddie Hazouri of MICA, features resources for all ages. A companion video by Levi Lewis produced by EDS documents the Elizabeth Talford Scott Community Celebration with information about the process and collaboration with each of the community partners. The last quilt Scott made before developing dementia, My Dreams, is accompanied by a music commission titled Floatin’ On A Thread by Bashi Rose and Adam Holofcener and an opportunity for visitors to contribute their own dreams using a raised-line drawing board.
“It is deeply meaningful to expand upon the BMA's mission of artistic excellence and social equity with this important collaborative project, which revolves around a method and process of working in the community with students at four colleges and these wonderful institutions across Baltimore to co-create an experience that will bring greater recognition to the work of Elizabeth Talford Scott,” said Asma Naeem, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “We are looking forward to sharing her extraordinary textiles and the rich stories embedded in each with our visitors and encourage everyone to discover more of her work in February at every venue.”
The Estate will soft- launch a dedicated Elizabeth Talford Scott website later this month, followed by the unveiling of new publications examining and celebrating the artist’s life and work. The estate website will include an expanded chronology, video clips, past, present, and future exhibitions, and media coverage from The New York Times, ARTFORUM, Artnet, Hyperallergic, among others who have covered the artist’s work in recent years– including her one-woman debut booth at The Armory Show in 2021.
Elizabeth Talford Scotts dedicated Instagram @ELIZABETHTALFORDSCOTT will follow and document the curatorial efforts of the students, their exhibitions , and community programming, and the estate website will list relevant scheduling at all community partner sites.
Major support for the BMA exhibition and community partners provided by the Bunting Family Foundation. In kind exhibition support was provided by Goya Contemporary Gallery. Music commission supported by Doreen Bolger, Retired BMA Director, and Amy Raehse, Goya Contemporary Gallery, in honor of George Ciscle, an extraordinary curator and creator of MICA’s transformative Curatorial Practice program and Exhibition Development Seminar. Community Day supported by Lorraine Whittlesey & Markell Whittlesey. Printed and digital materials supported by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. Accessibility resources supported by Robbye Apperson & Kevin Apperson.
For more information on Elizabeth Talford Scott, please visit: www.goyacontemporary.com and (after November 30th : www.elizabethtalfordscott.com ). For acquisition inquiries., Museums should contact The Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary Gallery at 410-366-2001 or email email@example.com.