Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial highlights the artist’s significant contribution to the field of American art and shows how Dial’s work speaks to the most pressing issues of our times, including the war in Iraq, 9/11, and social issues like racism and homelessness. The exhibition presents over 40 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures, including new works. Spanning twenty years of his work as an artist, it is the most extensive showing of his art ever mounted and is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

TAP into Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial with an iPod Touch Tour Participate in an exciting new feature of NOMA’s exhibition experience. The TAP program, developed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, provides visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the exhibition through an engaging and thought-provoking multimedia experience that costs just $3. Visitors rent an iPod with the programmed TAP tour and look for the TAPlogo throughout the exhibition and tap the corresponding number into the keypad. The TAP iPod tour includes exclusive video and audio of the artist himself; a guided investigation of Thornton Dial’s works by Joanne Cubbs, the curator of Hard Truths; and interviews with the conservators and photographers who worked on the exhibition and catalogue. NOMA’s Department of Interpretation and Audience Engagement is working hard to bring you new, fascinating ways of experiencing the galleries.

From the Hard Truths exhibition catalog:
Thornton Dial is one of America’s most extraordinary contemporary artists. Drawing inspiration from the rich aesthetic traditions of the black South and with no formal education, Dial has forged a major body of astoundingly original work. Incorporating salvaged objects into his art – from plastic grave flowers and children’s toys to carpet scraps and animal skeletons – he creates large-scale, symbolically charged assemblages engulfed in turbulent fields of expressionistic paintings.

Born in poverty in Alabama, Dial has lived his entire life in the American South, and his art, informed by decades of struggle as a black working class man, offers compelling commentary on our most pervasive social and political challenges. His epic works include haunting reflections on homelessness, global conflicts, the tragedy of 9/11, and African American history. Moving and insightful, Dial’s art forms a powerful anthology on the human quest for freedom and equality and offers a vision of the world that invites us to examine even our hardest truths.

Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is the most extensive exhibition of Dial’s works ever undertaken. It illuminates twenty years of Dial’s life as an artist and explores the deep allegorical meaning of his paintings and sculptures. It also chronicles the Southern black art traditions in which his creations are rooted and tells the story of his often curious reception within the mainstream art world.

Lost Cows

2000-2001

Thornton Dial

Blood and Meat: Survival for the World

1992

Thornton Dial

Setting the Table

2003

Thornton Dial

Construction of the Victory

1997

Thornton Dial

Trophies (Doll Factory)

2000

Thornton Dial

The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle

2003

Thornton Dial

Don’t Matter How Raggly the Flag. It Still Got to Tie Us Together

2003

Thornton Dial