Saturday, January 27, 2007

Outsider Art

I love outsider art because it isn't bound by the constraints of "Art" with a capital A. It's folk art at its best, created by people who are not trained and not a part of the art world. They are those who feel a compulsion to create and will create out of whatever materials are at hand. The art can be whimsical, powerful, fragile, and dark and sometimes all of these at the same time.

Richard Lacayo's opinion piece in Looking Around: Reflections on Art and Architecture (look under January 25) makes a good point. He recently visited the American Folk Art Museum where he spent a good part of an afternooon at a show devoted to the work of Martin Ramirez . The curator of this show states that Ramirez "created nearly 300 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power within the confines of DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, where he resided the last 15 years of his life". Lacayo state that, while Ramirez was outside of human companionship and certainly outside of the art world, he was deeply in touch with parts of ourselves as any artist could be and suggests that perhaps we should begin to view "outsider art" as "insider art".