Best Of The Web
“THIS JANUARY, over sixty-five exhibitors participated in the twenty-seventh annual Outsider Art Fair in Chelsea, Manhattan. The artists on view included Maccarone gallery’s Jim Carrey, who, as a celebrity and straight white man, seems outside of very little. Technically, to be an outsider artist is to be self-taught (I guess “Self-Taught Art Fair” doesn’t have the same ring to it), but outsider art encompasses anyone who is outside the art establishment (or society more broadly)—artists with disabilities, folk artists, impoverished artists, and those on the autism spectrum or with developmental disabilities.
While the term “Outsider Art” was first used by an art critic in 1972, the concept has roots in Art Brut. In 1922, the German psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn published an analysis of art created by psychiatric patients across Europe called Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (or Artistry of the Mentally Ill). It caught the attention of French artist Jean Dubuffet, who believed this kind of art to be a gateway to visualizing the psyche, one that would make an impact on the world at large. Dubuffet collected work made by children, impoverished, and mentally ill artists himself, and he described what he called Art Brut as work made spontaneously and from intense solitude, with disregard for competition or the market. In comparison, Dubuffet wrote, “cultural art,” or high art, “appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.” By Dubuffet’s measure, artists can remain “outsiders” despite achieving celebrated status—like Henry Darger, who came to prominence some thirty years after his death, or even the explosively famous Yayoi Kusama, who has lived at the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill in Tokyo for forty-two years and says that “the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"The United States and Russia are entering a new arms race, and the costs aren’t just monetary. On August 8, Russian civilians around the remote village of Nyonoksa found themselves downwind of a military nuclear propulsion experiment gone wrong..."
"I don't know about you, but for me "Having more people run for president and effectively doubling the number of primary contests" is not up there with "Michigan beating Notre Dame in the playoffs" and "A new deluxe edition of Barbara Bush's..."
"A growing body of research suggests that, rather than posing a threat to individual wellbeing, adopting a more sustainable lifestyle represents a pathway to a more satisfied life. Numerous studies have found that people who purchase green..."
"What should a parent do when a 2-year-old shrieks inconsolably because her string cheese wrapper tore “the wrong way”? Increasingly, the answer is “snap a photo, add a snarky caption and upload it to Instagram.” Publicly laughing at your..."
"The yield curve’s inverted! The yield curve’s inverted! That was the news I awoke to last Wednesday on CNBC as the 10 year Treasury note yield dipped below the 2 year yield for the first time since 2007. That’s the sign everyone has been waiting..."
"Even a casual observer of the entertainment industry knows that Hollywood is hooked on established intellectual property at the expense of original ideas and awash in more money than it knows how to sensibly spend. But three stories about the..."
"One of the formative texts of the Safed myth, which first portrayed the town as a unique place and which was responsible for spreading word of it all around the Jewish world, is the four letters that Rabbi Solomon Shlumil of Dreznitz sent, in..."
"There are lots of reasons to patent something. The most obvious one is that you’ve come up with a brilliant invention, and you want to protect your idea so that nobody can steal it from you. But that’s just the tip of the patent strategy iceberg..."