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EXHIBIT – Thai Art in the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art
December 11, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until December 12, 2023
The Paul R. Jones Museum is pleased to present Thai Art in the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama from October 18 through December 12, 2023. There will be a reception on November 3 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., during Tuscaloosa’s First Friday Art Walk.
This exhibition explores Paul R. Jones’ collecting habits and tastes outside of his usual sphere. In 1970 and 1971, Jones served as deputy director of the Peace Corps in Bangkok, Thailand. He had already begun collecting art in the 1960s, and while his focus had been and would continue to be on art by Black artists in America, he also collected art while overseas. While in Thailand, Jones acquired a variety of works including batiks, sculptural papier-mâché reliefs, paintings, and leather silhouettes similar to those used in shadow-puppet theater. Many of the works in this exhibition are unsigned and anonymous, probably produced specifically as souvenirs. Others, however, are signed and give clues about the artist’s origins, several from Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand.
With little information about the origins of most of these works, Curator Emily Bibb notes, “We must view these works of art with open minds, comparing them to other art to decipher clues about what they depict and why. Without more information, we can’t be certain, but the possibilities give us multiple avenues to explore while appreciating the artwork Paul R. Jones collected while he was in Thailand.”