Monday, April 10, 2017

Gus Kopriva “Spiritual Journeys” Exhibition Catalogue - Hilliard University Art Museum Lafayette Louisiana


“Ah ate Crawfish Pie at the Bon Temps Grill,”  Kopriva told me, managing to pronounce the French words properly...


On Saturday March 25, I encountered my buddy, Gus Kopriva, two minutes after he returned to Houston from Lafayette, Louisiana.  “Ah ate Crawfish Pie at the Bon Temps Grill,” Kopriva told me, managing to pronounce the French words properly. “BON TON!”  “How elegant, Gus,” I said, “Did you enjoy?” “Oh Man!” which translated to “very much.”

“And we sold some books!”

Kopriva was referring to the book signing event which launched the exhibition catalogue for “Spiritual Journeys: Homemade Art from the Becky and Wyatt Collins Collection,” the show he organized at the Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette Louisiana, which you can see through August 12, 2017.

Serving as guest-curator, Kopriva sorted through Becky and Wyatt Collins’ sizeable folk art collection, approximately 2000 pieces, and selected 200 artworks by 100 American artists from 20 states, all the while remaining cognizant of such distinctions as “folk,” “outsider,” “self-taught” and “visionary.” The “Spiritual Journeys” publication contains essays by Kopriva, Hilliard Museum staff, and by Bradley Sumrall, collections curator at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Because I’m a fan, and because Kopriva has been known to publish my essays, I went to the university museum to see his show. Given the unimaginable diversity of materials and styles, presentation is superb. The exhibition includes a lovely small watercolor by Thornton Dial, which must be worth a bloody fortune, if you extrapolate from Dial’s Manhattan gallery prices. While I was there, I asked Museum Director LouAnne Greenwald to confirm Kopriva’s assertion that the "Spiritual Journeys'" opening reception had record breaking attendance. Yep.

Shoot east to Louisiana Cajun country to see the exhibition "Spiritual Journeys" and buy Kopriva's book. And enjoy some food. Those Loos-iana people dining at the Bon Temps Grill the evening Kopriva ate Crawfish Pie could not have known they were in the presence of a Houston art potentate.

Images: Guest-curator Gus Kopriva, Collectors Becky and Wyatt Collins, Museum Director LouAnne Greenwald, Image from Museum website

“Spiritual Journeys” Catalogue, Image from Museum website