High Museum Celebrates Self-Taught Artist Nellie Mae Rowe

Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe
Promised gift of Lucinda W. Bunnen. © Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Mike Jensen.

Nellie Mae Rowe, Untitled (Voting), before 1978. Color photograph, crayon, pencil, and colored pencil on cardboard. 20 x 30 1/8 in.

This fall, the High Museum of Art will present Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe (Sept. 3, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022), featuring nearly sixty works drawn from the Museum’s folk and self-taught art collection, which has the largest public holdings of Rowe’s art. The exhibition chronicles the life and work of Rowe (1900-1982) through her imaginative works on paper and sculptures made from found and experimental materials and an artful reconstruction of her “Playhouse,” the striking art environment she created in her home and yard, which was located on a busy thoroughfare just outside of Atlanta. Really Free is the first major presentation of her work in more than twenty years and the first to consider her practice as a radical act of self-expression and liberation in the post-civil rights-era South. The exhibition will be accompanied by an expansive print catalog and will be the inaugural project featured on the High’s new interactive digital platform to debut this fall. Really Free marks the Museum’s first partnership with the Art Bridges Foundation, an organization dedicated to expanding access to American art, which will allow the exhibition to travel nationally into 2023.

Event Information
Start Date: September 3, 2021
End Date: January 9, 2022
Venue: The High Museum

Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe