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you know, the stuff that mostly seems to be the childish handiwork of people 'with troubles'
I saw an exhibition which mainly focussed on the work of people with fairly severe psychosis, and who had no conventional art training or exposure to 'art' as we know it. Some of the resulting works were just mindblowing. Of course, it might just be down to chance, in the same way that people without psychosis who have had art training sometimes produce unremarkable work before having an epiphany of some kind and starting to produce outstanding stuff. I don't know how much proper empirical study has gone into it. I'm sure a lot of purported outsider art is a load of old guff whihc never sees the light of day. However, the outsider art I've seen so far has been awe inspirnig.
have seen remarkable works.
There was a huge outsider art exhib. at the whitechapel gallery a few years ago where outsider works and 'legitimate' artists were put side by side, without names attached to the works. Obviously, with some outisder artists it was easy to tell - lots of repetition, obsessive detailing, overwhelming, etc, but in some cases impossible (I mean, Miro's work!)
and no different to some outsider work in being initially inaccessible.
some of the work was amazing, just for the scale and level of detail and the rawness of images. i went to the sophie calle exhibition this week, and it's interestng to see how she also has certain obsessive ideas which become gradually diluted technically and therefore become acceptable as 'art'.
There's always a risk with something like this that it becomes a bit 'emperor's-new-clothes-ish', as the establishment seize onto it as the next great big thing. Shit work shouldn't be celebrated just because its author has had a hard time, and similarly, the amazing stuff should stand up in its own right and not just because of teh special circumstances of the artist.
in terms of themes and variety. but i agree with your point that someone shit shouldn't be celebrated because of their mental trauma - like tracey emin, say.
Unless some cunt presents it in an a completely decontextualised bourgeois environment, while fetishising the suffering of others and denying them the rewards for their creative labour.
galleries and being an artist is as much of a game as anything else, and some talented people can't play it. you can't say henry darger isn't talented. what about william blake? he wasn't mentally well.
i'm glad some of this work is acknowledged or bought to light - there are plenty of people like jeremy deller who are well aware of all the contextual issues and try to address them when curating work (his Barbican exhibition of folk art four years ago was excellent).
his writing was described as infantile, his paintings as 'naive'.."oh look he didn't get any obviously look...he doesn't know girls don't have willies! How tragic!".
He wasn't aware of the 'game'. He had no interest in entering it and the establishment had no interest in him.
I am not aware of the folk exhibition as I don't really follow art. I understand the difficulties in presenting/curating materials of 'others' and there will always be some kind of strategic essentialism involved when doing so. But this industry of art brute et al sickens me for the most part.
but not much else. Also liked the outsider artist charactor in Junebug.