Troost Gardens

You Like What You Know: Folk Art from the Fowks Family Collection

August 21, 2021
September 11, 2021
View Exhibition Works
Joplin Main Street before 1970
2021 Billy Fowks
Works by:
William Fowks
A.E. Langille
Glenda George
Ed Larsen
Eugene Andolsek
G.F. White
Del Gatto

Troost Gardens is delighted to present You Like What You Know: A Selection of Folk Art From the Fowks Family Collection. For TG’s first official exhibition, gallery founders, Billy Fowks and Sally Paul have curated a selection of works from their parents/in-law's collection, focusing on outsider art and folk art. Bill and Martha Fowks began collecting art in earnest in the 1960s and they would avidly collect through the coming decades. Pursuing galleries in Kansas City and New York, auction houses, estate sales and even garage sales and eBay, the Fowkses would abide by their instinct, buying when they found works that they liked. Their wide ranging taste includes contemporary, modern, regional, African and self taught art. In addition to amassing a unique collection, Bill also collected stories of the Kansas City art world in the days of yore. Memorably, in conversation many years ago with legendary Kansas City gallerist Myra Morgan, Bill shared his straight forward collecting strategy: "I know what I like." Always quick with a response she replied "No, you like what you know." While her declaration had some bite to it, the practice of collecting can be viewed as an exercise in identity development; it’s a reflection of the collector’s evolving taste and interests. This sentiment “you like what you know” can also extend to living with art and the relationship that deepens over time when you really get to know a painting or sculpture.

You Like What You Know, our first official exhibition, is an introduction of sorts to our gallery Troost Gardens. We hope to exhibit a wide variety of both local artists and, in the tradition of Myra Morgan, introduce Kansas City to some of our favorite artists from New York, where we lived before we moved here. For this exhibition, we are focusing on self taught and folk art from Bill’s treasure trove as well as a few works from our own stash. The show is a window into our influences and what and how we like to collect. Some works will be for sale, while others will remain in the family. Both Sally Paul and Billy Fowks have worked in and around the art world for many years, yet, they’re new to running a gallery. We hope you like what you see.