"Story Lines: Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art" Exhibition

Galerie St. Etienne

poster for "Story Lines: Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art" Exhibition

This event has ended.

"Story Lines" is a consideration of the diverse artists that have traditionally been grouped together as "Outsiders." With sixty-four works by twenty-four self-taught American and European artists, "Story Lines" is the most comprehensive show of its kind to date. The exhibition, timed to coincide with the annual Outsider Fair (January 31-February 3), will also feature a panel discussion, "Honoring the Collectors," with Sheldon Bonovitz, Mickey Cartin, Selig Sacks, and Siri von Reis (Wednesday, January 30, from 6 to 8 PM).

“Outsider Art” is one of several names (others include “Art Brut,” “folk,” “naïve,” “primitive” and “self-taught”) that have been given to the creations of people who, though not part of the mainstream art world, nevertheless produced work that mainstream artists considered germane to their own efforts. The interplay between trained and untrained artists began in the early 20th century, when the pioneer modernists, rebelling against the dehumanizing aspects of industrial capitalism, projected an idealized authenticity and purity onto the work of artists who had been denied academic training. This thesis hereafter became a leitmotif of the art world’s discourse, evolving in tandem with modernism itself. However, save for their lack of formal schooling, the so-called Outsiders had little in common: they included manual laborers, spirit mediums, mental patients, farmers and so on.

Scattered across two continents, they for the most part neither knew each other nor of one another, and their works shared few, if any, stylistic characteristics. How, then, did such disparate creators come to be viewed as a single group?

[Image: Morris Hirshfield "American Beauty" (1942) oil on canvas 48 x 40 in.]


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