A New York Observer piece published yesterday on the financial woes at the American Folk Art Museum says the museum, once supported by a gem-dealer who has been arrested on fraud charges, has looked to the heartland for help: Alice Walton.
The newspaper, citing a "person close to the matter," said the museum courted Walmart heiress and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art founder Walton to fill the previous benefactor's shoes. No dice. According to the source, Walton was turned off by an exhibit at the museum last year, "The Private Collection of Henry Darger," which featured images of naked children.
I don't know if "Study of Blengin" was in the show (I don't even know if the report is true!), but it's included in the museum's collection, along with other drawings of the outsider artist.
It's a crying shame the Folk Museum is in such trouble. American folk art would complete the American picture Walton is assembling in Bentonville, bring in the outsiders and the quilters and the jug makers. Maybe Walton will reconsider, and enter into a sharing agreement like the one brokered with Fisk University. She could leave the hermaphroditic children in Manhattan and bring home (on a temporary basis, of course) paintings like the one below: