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Thornton Dial (1928–2016)

Artist Thornton Dial has died, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Thanks to Artnews’s Andrew Russeth for pointing us to the story.)

Dial, born in Alabama, started as a metal worker for the Pullman Standard boxcar factory. Later his intricate assemblages caught the attention of self-taught artist Lonnie Holley and then collector William Arnett. Dial was later featured in a 2011 and 2012 retrospective, “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial,” at the High Museum of Art, showing work that was described as “monumental, propulsive and spirited … paintings coated with tar-thick paint, insight, and anger” by art critic Felicia Feaster.

Dial’s works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’s MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the High Museum of Art, among other venues. His sculpture of civil rights hero John Lewis occupies a site in Atlanta’s Freedom Park.