If you’re an art-loving person, there’s a good chance you’ve seen work by artists from the Creative Growth Center. Their art has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide; you might, for instance, have strolled past some of it at last fall’s Rosemarie Trockel retrospective at the New Museum. But you might not know just what the Creative Growth Center is, or what it does, or who the artists are.Continue Reading →
PARIS — For a brief time, a former Catholic seminary on Paris’ classy Boulevard Raspail was overtaken with a psychoanalyst’s jubilee of art from self-taught creators who worked in secret or seclusion, in mental asylums or hospitals, or just from their own particular perspective of the world. The Museum of Everything is a traveling exhibition started by British filmmaker James Brett in 2009 that’s been widely successful in its unique curation of overlooked art.Continue Reading →
Most of the coverage you’ll find about the Broken Angel House, a handmade architectural marvel in Clinton Hill, starts the story in 2006, when there was a small fire that set off all the trouble. That’s the year the tale switches from one about brilliant bohemian artists building their crazy dream house to one about an eccentric old man overwhelmed by legal troubles, shady business partners, and the strangling bureaucracy of the city.Continue Reading →
Between 1968 and 1977, Mingering Mike released around 50 albums, each with its own hand-drawn album art, and played sold-out shows around the world. Yet if you haven’t heard of the prolific soul and funk singer, it’s because he was entirely fictional, but the art was real and has just been acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.Continue Reading →
All visitors to the American Visionary Art Museum get their hands stamped with a singe gazing blue eye, the logo for the museum that focuses on self-taught artists who use their work as an avenue for their personal vision. But while it’s an institution devoted to the inner voice, the museum is hardly an introverted place. In fact, its exterior is an overwhelming jumble of mosaics, strange sculptures embedded in the garden or riding motorcycles on the roof, and even a gold “hand of god” reaching out from one side. I visited on a recent rainy afternoon and even though the weather was dreary, the art inside and out of the museum was a flurry of whimsy and gleeful, almost manic, creation.Continue Reading →
I recently went to the National Arts Club to watch All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, a documentary about a 68-year-old African-American outsider artist, which is currently being screened at various locations in New York.Continue Reading →
Although he traced and painted and wrote in obscurity until the day he died, Henry Darger is, today, probably the best-known outsider artist in the world. In the past decade or so, the small space of his one-room Chicago apartment ceded to the spacious galleries of museums and art fairs, and Henry Darger — a man who kept mostly to himself, not quite reclusive but not incredibly social either — became the poster boy of outsider art.Continue Reading →
There’s something captivating about outsider art. The energy of it feels different somehow. In the past two decades, the field has grown enormously, and in the process, it’s become more integrated with the contemporary art world. Unknown artists have been discovered, more galleries devoted to self-taught and folk artists have opened their doors, and outsider art has gained both an increasingly devoted following and, in accordance with that demand, its own fair.
Founded by Sanford Smith in 1993, the Outsider Art Fair quickly became a critical and commercial success, as well as the leading event in the field of outsider, self-taught, and folk art. The fair was recognized for its maverick spirit, and crowds began to flock annually to New York’s Puck Building, the event’s location for its first 15 years.
Use the promo code “hyperallergic” to reserve a complimentary 1-day ticket to the fair.Continue Reading →
A post by my fellow editor Kyle Chayka got me thinking about the “outsider artist” designation and the different ways people define it.Continue Reading →
By all accounts, Pearl Blauvelt (1893–1987) was a recluse who lived in northeastern Pennsylvania in a house without running water, plumbing or central heating. Her neighbors referred to her as the “Village Witch.” In the mid 1950s, she was declared incompetent and moved to a facility where she resided until she died. The house she lived in stood vacant for nearly fifty years, until it was bought and restored. The people who bought the house discovered Blauvelt’s drawings in an old wooden box lodged under long-abandoned piles of things.Continue Reading →