Tue-Sat, noon-7:30pm; Sun, noon-6pm; Mon, closed
1 at 66th St.-Lincoln Center
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
In 1961, as folk art was beginning to gel as the overarching term for everything from primitive paintings to Shaker furniture, a small group of pioneering collectors founded a gallery devoted to this emerging field. That institution—now called the American Folk Art Museum—has gone on to play a central role in fostering interest in self-taught artists and artisans nationwide. Today, as owners of one of the country’s largest collections of such hard-to-classify works, the organization acts as an indispensable interpreter and promoter of folk/outsider art. The multi-floored exhibition space is roughly divided between temporary exhibits, addressing one artist or subject, and a permanent exhibit that draws from holdings of over 5,000 pieces. Themed sections allow a thoughtful consideration of original intent as it bears on aesthetic value. The sheer variety of disparate works on display attests to folk art's ever-expanding definition: quilts, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, paintings and furniture.