'Outsider Art': Why do we need an identifier for pagan art?  12 minutes to read

‘Outsider Art’: Why do we need an identifier for pagan art? 12 minutes to read


Outsider art (Translated: The Art of the Gentiles) is the art created by self-taught creators or naïve art (naive art). Usually, these labels have little or no relevance to mainstream art and art institutions. In many cases, their works were discovered only after they died. Often outsider art extreme depictions of mental states, unique and unconventional ideas, or elaborate elaborate fantasy worlds.

What makes someone an “outsider”? Is it a question regarding the artist’s attitudes, opportunities, and accessibility? Does it simply refer to rebellion, opposition to mainstream art? When it comes to the art world, the term “outsider” has a very complex history and it still raises many persistent controversies. However, despite its occasional scandals, “outsider art” has gradually become an accepted term – a way to describe an unconstrained art form within a narrow framework.

Often mentioned by traders and experts Jean Dubuffet, who collected and fought for the line of art under the term Art Brut (“raw art”). From that time on, most people had a certain image of the field of outsider art, including works by people with disabilities or with mental health problems as well as bizarre works. It is in isolation and is rarely made public.

“What changes here is not their definition but the context itself,” according to the owner of the New York gallery Andrew Edlin, the owner Outsider Art Fair (The Fair for Foreign Art) (with the Paris edition open on Thursday). Thereby, he implied that such major organizations and events in the art world Venice Biennale more and more works were published that were once considered inferior. The market also witnessed many highlights and successes Outsider Art Fair just one of the manifestations of that. Christie’s achieved peak sales from outsider and local works in January, bringing in nearly 100 trillion VND and setting new auction records for the works of foreign artists. Bill Traylor. However, the complex relationship between outsider art and the market still exists for many reasons, one of them related to the financial side.


What’s in the name of a ‘pagan’?

Jean Dubuffet
Site aléatoire avec un personnage, 1982
Opera galleries.

“I have come across dealers displaying contemporary art from self-taught artists and lots of outsiders. They try not to use the term because they want it to be part of the contemporary art world, “ Edlin share. “They think the outsider is not ‘cool’ and sometimes too generous in the work. Of course, art always exists and stands out in any field or place, yet an artist tends to overstate the connection between the work itself and that the work is largely unaffected. by common standards. They think that this will help to ‘price’ outsider art and of course it is really meaningless. On the other hand, it’s just a trade technique.

Edlin Constructs a definition of outsider art, that is, it includes works “It is done by untrained artists who have no academic background or are influenced by art history.” This is a useful rationale for building additional identifiers for it. However, while it is easy to use outsider art as a quick reference to the liberal and unobtrusive art form, the ambiguous elements in between rhyme still exist. For example, how easy is it today to avoid the influence of other artists in our day? Does going through training prevent a person from being considered an outsider?

What is clear here is that paganism is not something to be borrowed or forged. It is not a jacket that can be worn whenever convenient even though it cannot be prevented by an artist from doing so. The outsider “Make works as an expression of themselves and what they have been through,” Edlin share. “It’s not about pleasing dealers, newspapers, curators or classmates.”


The outsider is influential

Hendry Darger
Untitled, nd
The Andrew Edlin Gallery.

“Contemporary artists are the dominant leaders in outsider art,” Edlin share. “It reminds them of their early years of not having self-awareness, as children, doing art and never thinking about career paths.” You mentioned a 2008 show at the Folk Art Museum, “Dargerism: A Contemporary Artist and Henry Darger,” name the artists (eg Trenton Doyle Hancock and Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry) show interest in drawing of outsider art stars Henry Darger. “That doesn’t mean they become outsiders,” Edlin added. “It’s just another part of their influence.”

The above is not due to dogma or belief at all. What makes outsider art so interesting in 2019 is in part because of its versatility. For example, Marlon Mullen works at NIAD Art Center of the Gulf with the mission to support artists with disabilities who have performed at Outsider Art Fair. At the same time, Mullen is on the list of participants at the JTT showroom in New York, representing artists like Borna Sammek and Jamian Juliano-Villani. Mullen’s paintings taken from the cover of the art magazine were also added to the Whitney Biennial Exhibition in 2019, one of the art’s promotional events.

Meanwhile, the actor Jim Carrey there are political cartoons on display at Outsider Art Fair in New York in 2019. Can a man who is too famous for his work in another field be considered an “outsider” in this field? When Edlin Having defined the elements that make up the outsider art, he also knows that it is foolish to stick to a rigid definition:

“How pure do we want these things?

Anyone who wants to think and complicate the concept of outsider art will love to visit “Garden,” an exhibition organized by Shrine and Sargent’s Daughters in New York. The event brings together the work of “industry” artists (such as Josh Smith, represented by leading gallery David Zwirner) with works from individuals closely linked to the outsider art. For example, a sleazy and wild drawing of the character Yoda in the movie Star Wars from Katherine Bernhardt, graduate student of the MFA School of Visual Arts hung near the majestic painting like a tapestry by Ike Morgan, an outsider artist in Austin, Texas. The focus of the “Garden” exhibition is not to put an end to this particular art form or to downplay the value of the pagan, Scott Ogden, Shrine co-curator shares. Instead, the exhibition provides an opportunity to note and initiate discussion for all types of arts. “Of course I don’t see ‘outsider art’ as a style or an art mode,” Ogden added.

For Ogden at least, not attending school or doing self-study was not the deciding factor. “Self-taught artists can eagerly visit museums, read art books, interact with famous artists or study art making techniques,” I said. “A true ‘outsider’ will not only do the above, but also rely on his intuition and creative instincts when making artwork. With today’s technological background, it is increasingly difficult to find individuals who differ from the majority and prominent cultural trends often without knowing art history. ”

Trader Jennifer Gilbert in Manchester, who hosted the pop-up show under the name Jennifer Lauren Galleries, was present Outsider Art Fair this year’s Paris version. When discussing the field, she uses other phrases instead of saying “outsider”, such as “development,” “ignored,” or “undiscovered.” Part of her definition of this field includes “Art is made without an audience” and works “Made in a situation that an artist probably wouldn’t want.” Overall, she says the label “outsider” has been mistaken for being useless.


Is it time to throw away the “outsider” tag?

“Now it has become a generic term for any work of art made by people outside the mainstream art world.” Gilbert share when expressing anger over the abuse of the #outsiderart hashtag in the media. This obvious also causes many artists to voluntarily want to consider themselves an outsider, simply because they do not have a position in the mainstream market. “I also get contacted by recent graduates and it’s hard to find a gallery rep. They are the people whose work they say the galleries cannot fully understand because of their ‘ambiguity’ and flight ” Gilbert share.

Therefore, in 2019, you may encounter many masters of fine arts who want to define themselves as an outsider or self-taught artist with an attitude of opposition or discomfort with this term. These confusions have led some to propose the complete elimination of this identity, yet it has become a popular culture in many ways.

“This phrase is increasingly controversial, when you say ‘outsider art,’ people will know what you’re talking about,” Edlin confirmed. On the contrary, he also alluded to the fact that the use of odd languages ​​is really silly, similar to the recent “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” travel exhibition.

The same, similar, Ogden of Shrine feel this term “Really helpful and relevant,” though a bit delicate. It is a way of separating artists within a completely unique art system.

After all, identifying the elements that make up outsider art is really not easy. As the individuals that I have discussed firmly say, it does “Totally self-conceived,” “extremely specialized,” “raw art created by amateurs,” and “Non-compliant individuals”. ” Ogden quoted the art dealer Phyllis Kind that “There’s something very different about these artists and their works.”

We need to make less space between identifiers. “The most important thing is: Is it cool? Fascinating? Is that interesting?” Edlin shares. “You could say what kind of identifier it belongs to is purely secondary.”

Author: Scott Indrisek
Translation: Scramble
Source: Artsy

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