Hawkins Bolden

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Hawkins Bolden
Hawkins Bolden.jpg
Hawkins Bolden with his sculptures
Born(1914-09-10)September 10, 1914
Died2005(2005-00-00) (aged 90–91)
Memphis, Tennessee
Known forAssemblage Sculpture
MovementModern Art

Hawkins Bolden (1914–2005) was an American artist known for his "scarecrow" assemblages made from pots, pans, leather belts, rubber hoses and other found materials.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Bolden was born in the Bailey’s Bottom section of Memphis, Tennessee. His childhood passion was baseball. While a baseball accident, though, left him blind at the age of eight, he became adept at working with his hands and making things from what he found in his Memphis neighborhood.[3][4]


Bolden recalled starting to make faces around 1965 from found objects.[5] His sculptures were made entirely from found material, and in addition to the "scarecrows" for which he is best known, he worked with other forms, assemblages, and tableaus, much of it put in his yard.[6] In 1997, Bolden participated in the show Passionate Visions of the American South opening at the New Orleans Museum of Art.[7][8] Following his death in 2005, the hundreds of works that filled his yard were dispersed.[9] Bolden was one of four subjects of the 2011 documentary Make, which also included Ike Morgan, Royal Robertson and Judith Scott (artist).[10] His works have sold at various auction houses, including Christies.[11] The American Visionary Art Museum contains permanent collections of his worksBolden’s works are also included in the collections of The Smithsonian Museum of Art, American Visionary Art Museum,[12] The High Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, American Folk Art Museum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and the National Gallery of Art.[13][14][15][16]


  • Tactile Visions, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, NY, November 14 - December 7, 1991.
  • Hawkins Bolden - Scarecrows, SHRINE, New York, NY, April 9 - May 15, 2021.[17]
  • Seated, Institute 193, Lexington, KY, January 12 - March 26, 2022.[18][19]
  • Called To Create: Black Artists of the American South, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, September 18, 2022 – March 26, 2023.


  1. ^ Johnson, Ken. "Art In Review: National Black Fine Art Show". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  2. ^ Arnett, William. "Souls Grown Deep". Souls Grown Deep. Souls Grown Deep. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ Drury, John. "Make Do". artnet. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Hawkins Bolden | Souls Grown Deep". www.soulsgrowndeep.org. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  5. ^ "Hawkins Bolden | Souls Grown Deep". www.soulsgrowndeep.org. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  6. ^ "Exhibitions: Hawkins Bolden". Institute 193. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  7. ^ "Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 the Present, and exhibit curated and a catalog edited by Alice Rae Yelen (Review)". Southern Cultures. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  8. ^ "SCARECROW by Hawkins Bolden - intuitive eye". intuitiveeye.org. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  9. ^ "Bolden, Hawkins". John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  10. ^ Kushner, Daniel. "Make: Outsider Art and the Blessed Compulsion". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  11. ^ https://www.invaluable.com/artist/bolden-hawkins-qx6noa4ntz/sold-at-auction-prices/. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Sellen, Betty-Carol (2016). Self-Taught, Outsider and Folk Art: A Guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources, 3d ed. McFarland & Company. p. 65. ISBN 978-1476623047.
  13. ^ "Untitled". High Museum of Art. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  14. ^ "Hawkins Bolden | Smithsonian American Art Museum". americanart.si.edu. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
  15. ^ "Collection Search Results". www.nga.gov. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  16. ^ "Scarecrow". localhost. Retrieved 2022-09-24. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  17. ^ "Hawkins Bolden Scarecrows". SHRINE. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  18. ^ "Exhibitions: Hawkins Bolden". Institute 193. Retrieved 2022-09-24.
  19. ^ Fuller, Daniel (2022-03-08). "Hawkins Bolden: Seated". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2022-09-24.

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