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Bert Long: The Artist’s Journey encapsulates the life and art of Bert L. Long Jr. (1940–2013). Thomas McEvilley opens the book by describing his chance encounter with Long on a Houston street in 1980. An African American artist who grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Long was an energetic and enthusiastic artist who was trained as an executive chef and came to his art through his growing ability to carve ice and make decorative food in the hospitality industry.
Long’s work gained a wider audience as his reputation grew in the burgeoning Houston art scene of the 1980s and 1990s through alliances with many friends, chief among them his fellow sculptor James Surls. Long made hundreds of paintings and sculptures, including ice sculptures, and took tens of thousands of photographs during his lifetime. He had the opportunity to travel extensively, including trips to both Rome and the countryside of Spain, where he lived and worked.
Bert L. Long Jr.’s work, which straddles the worlds of fine art and outsider art, can be found in many collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia; Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont; Jack S. Blanton Museum, Austin; and others in the United States and Europe.