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See the history of Louisville’s avant-garde art movement on display

The Speed Art Museum’s latest exhibit highlights a pioneering Louisville artist’s 40+ year career.

A sculptor sits in a workshop alongside a block of stone

William M. Duffy’s first sculpture was carved from a broken pillar in front of a bank.

Photo via Speed Art Museum

“Louisville’s Black Avant-Garde: William M. Duffy” is a new exhibit at the Speed Art Museum featuring pieces from the local artist + educator’s extensive body of work.

It’s the second installment in a series that started last June with an exhibit on Dr. Robert L. Douglas, a founder of the radical arts collective Louisville Art Workshop (LAW). LAW started in the 1960s to build community among Black artists, whose work was often excluded from museums and galleries.

Spread Your Wings - William M Duffy.jpg

Duffy is best known for small-scale, tabletop-sized sculptures.

Photo via Speed Art Museum

William M. Duffy joined LAW in the 1970s as one of its youngest members. When the group dissolved, he and fellow sculptor Ed Hamilton helped found a new collective, Montage, with similar goals of fostering collaboration between Black artists.

The new exhibit at the Speed features Duffy’s sculptural work, drawings, and paintings, plus digital art and pieces created by his students during his long tenure as a JCPS educator. It’s open until Sunday, September 29.

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