Thursday, February 01, 2007

Being the Outsider

I moved schools while growing up, catching myself with kids who spoke freely in languages I barely knew, and that included English. I found it natural being an outsider in the playfield or in the classroom or just about anywhere. Now there is Outsider Art. It is art by people outside the system (amateurs, people in prison, people who are insane, or whatever) of schools, society or sanity. In Europe, it is less gently called d'Art Brut or Primitive Art. There is a museum for Outsider Art in Lausanne, Switzerland, a homage to the intense and the quite insane. There are dozens of galleries for Outsider Art in NY. The Puck building in NY had its show of Outsider Art recently. NY Times had a review:

"Working on brown paper bags with colored pencil, Charles Steffen (1927-1995), an artist from Illinois afflicted with schizophrenia, toiled away at home, producing two or three drawings a day. Gnarled but expressive representations of everyday life, they include self-portraits, his bedridden mother, the bank teller who cashed his Social Security checks, flowers from his yard, scenes from a state hospital where he had undergone treatment.

Drawing the same subjects over and over, he experimented from time to time by merging his figures with renderings of plants and tar or tobacco stains he saw on the sidewalk, sometimes combining male and female figures."

So it is not just art by living people who are reluctant to call themselves artists (Ludovico Laura once said, "To be an artist, you have to be dead"). It is by the true outsiders in mental and physical realms.


Blogger Heather said...

I totally get feeling like an outsider. the blogosphere has created an interesting phenomenon, though, hasn't it? There is such a broad connection from person to person that outsiders are too numerous to count. And they tend to have the best blogs!

As for art: I feel that art is anything one produces with the intention of creating an emotional response. Good art is something that does that for several observers which means that it holds or represents some sort of human truth.

So art is truth.

8:08 PM  
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Anonymous safemeds said...

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