News Column

Peek in at rare visiting paintings

July 6, 2014

By Mandy Zajac, East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.)

July 06--A small but vibrant collection of paintings on Phoenix Art Museum's upper level is worth a peek before it's gone.

Rare paintings by William H. Johnson (1901-1970), an essential figure in modern American art and one of the nation's most powerful black painters, are on view until July 13 at the downtown venue.

Visiting the Valley thanks to the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the show includes colorful, folk-art-style depictions touching on everything from the artist's rural Southern roots to the jazzy ambience of 1930s Harlem to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Placards share information about Johnson, who went from South Carolina to New York to France to Denmark and back in a career that included stints as a hotel porter, cook, dock worker, art student and teacher.


If you go

What: William H. Johnson: An American Modern, a selection of rarely seen paintings that highlight pivotal stages of Johnson's career and aspects of African-American culture and spirituality.

When: On display during regular museum hours through July 13

Where: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave.

Cost: Museum admission is $6-$15 per person; children 5 and younger get in free. Fees are waived for everyone 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the first Friday of every month.

Information: (602) 257-1222 or

Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or


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Source: Tribune (Mesa, AZ)

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