Hutcheson Gallery presents Daniel Johnston

Hutcheson Gallery presents Daniel Johnston is in the past.

The John C. Hutcheson Gallery presents an exhibition by Daniel Johnston. The exhibition will open Friday, Feb. 10, with a noon symposium and question-and-answer session about Johnston's works -- cartoons that are often displayed on the singers' album covers. The symposium will be held in the gallery space in the Hughes Center.

The Hutcheson Gallery is located in the James D. Hughes Center (campus map)
One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN, 37204

Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Free admission

About Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston in his youth.

Daniel Johnston has spent the last 20 or so years exposing his heartrending tales of unrequited love, cosmic mishaps, and existential torment to an ever-growing international cult audience. A healthy number of discerning musicians and critics have hailed him as an American original in the style of bluesman Robert Johnson and country legend Hank Williams. He has collaborated with the likes of Jad Fair (a founding member of Half Japanese) and members of Sonic Youth. Daniel gained his widest public exposure to date when, at the 1992 MTV Music Awards, Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain (who constantly touted Daniel in interviews) wore a Johnston T-shirt.

 Surprisingly, the bulk of his considerable acclaim snowballed from a series of homemade, lo-fi cassettes which Daniel started recording and handing out to fans and friends alike in the early 80s. Eventually, the independent label Homestead re-issued some of these tapes on CD, and Johnston recorded a few new albums in almost-proper studios.

The aspiring cartoonist -- whose playful, symbol-heavy sketches have graced the covers of many of his releases, including "Fun" -- moved to Texas in 1983.

Throughout his career, Daniel's songs and drawings have been informed to some degree by his ongoing struggle with manic depression -- lending an added poignancy to his soul-searching times. His five-month stint with a traveling carnival show left him in Austin, Texas, where he decided to stay. In the midst of that city's mid-80’s music scene, Johnston was a definite iconoclast. While he continued to hand out his tapes for free, Austin record stores started selling them. In fact, they became best-selling local releases. Soon, a camera crew from MTV's seminal "Cutting Edge" show came to town and all the Austin bands suggested they feature Daniel.