It has been said that when gods fall, the earth shakes.

Yesterday night, the news broke that the Alabama-based African-American artist Thornton Dial had died on Monday at his home in McCalla, just southeast of Birmingham, at the age of 87. A master of what label-loving art historians and merchants might refer to as post-Cubist assemblage or postmodern appropriation, not to mention of his own variety of unaffected expressionism and a fluid style of draftsmanship that was both lyrical and semi-abstract, Dial was an artist whose ideas and creations fit into all and none of those establishment-dictated categories at the same time. As with the most innovative, most remarkable self-taught artists of any time or place, both his worldview and the evidence of his artistic achievement were and remain unique and, ultimately, unclassifiable.

Artist Thornton Dial, an American Genius, Dies at 87