I, TOO, AM THORNTON DIAL on view March 30–July 2, 2023
Thornton Dial was born in 1928 to a sharecropping family in rural Alabama. He drew inspiration from his life experiences, blending complex themes like Civil Rights, race, class, and family into sophisticated arrangements crafted with found objects—everything from bones, wood, toys, metal, and clothing. His assemblages, although compactly layered with commonplace fragments of life, move with a lightness, pulling the viewer in to explore the cracks and crevices of the varied surface. His aesthetic was not limited to sculptural constructions; Dial’s masterful drawings and paintings demonstrate his deft hand at composition and line, through the exploration of reoccurring motifs, often women and tigers, a symbol of himself, in swirling masses of shapes and color.
This exhibition includes over 70 pivotal drawings, sculptures, paintings, and assemblages drawn from private and family collections. The museum would like to thank the lenders to the exhibition, including Doug McCraw, Robert S. Taubman, Brett and Lester Levy, Jr., Jerry Siegel, the Estate of William Sidney Arnett, Ben Jeffers, and the Dial family. Additional support for exhibitions at the LSU Museum of Art is provided by the generous donors to the LSU Museum of Art Annual Exhibition Fund. Thank you to sponsors Mary T. Joseph and Nancy and Cary Dougherty, corporate sponsors Taylor Porter Law Firm and CSRS LLC, and in-kind sponsor Lamar Advertising for supporting this exhibition.