Inside "Outsider Art"
Is “outsider art” a vague sales term or a vital current aesthetic? New York’s Outsider Art Fair was 25 years old last year, but definitions remain controversial. Arguably the hottest and most collectible art category of today, “outsider art” defies Establishment culture; embraces folk, vernacular, and “visionary” expressions worldwide, especially in North America and Europe; draws on Jean Dubuffet’s art brut (raw art) and André Breton’s passion for the art of the insane; and comes from self-taught, reclusive, often rural, and sometimes Afro-Caribbean creators. We make sense of this powerful, multifaceted, mixed-media movement, its early 20th-century roots, its champions—both impassioned collectors and savvy critics—and its emergent artists and acknowledged stars. We profile practitioners, from Adolf Wölfli, Bill Traylor, Martín Ramírez, Canada’s Grandma Moses, “Maudie” Lewis (subject of Ethan Hawke’s recent film) to Henry Darger and Thornton Dial and his family, plus newly discovered makers. Illustrated talks frame our visits to private collections of vernacular paintings and sculpture and Pop Photographica (droll hybrids of art and camerawork), to the American Folk Art Museum, and to leading galleries in the field. Experts will share professional and personal experiences of acquiring, appraising, and exhibiting art by once-anonymous and now-acclaimed “outsiders.”
You'll Walk Away with
- Knowledge of the history, characteristics, and important practitioners of outsider art
- Familiarity with private and public collections of outsider art in New York
- Art enthusiasts
- Practicing and aspiring arts professionals