STORY LINES: Tracing the Narrative of “Outsider” Art , on view at the Galerie St. Etienne from January 15 through March 30, presents a century’s worth of creative expression by self-taught Europeans and Americans. The first comprehensive survey of its kind, STORY LINES includes over 60 paintings and drawings by over 20 major self-taught artists: André Bauchant, Camille Bombois, Aloïse Corbaz, Henry Darger, Minnie Evans, Madge Gill, William Hawkins, Morris Hirshfield, John Kane, Augustin Lesage, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Grandma Moses, Horace Pippin, Martín Ramírez, Bill Traylor, Louis Vivin, Scottie Wilson, Adolf Wölfli, Joseph Yoakum, Carlo Zinelli, and others.
“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? STORY LINES: Tracing the Narrative of “Outsider” Art explores how and why we categorize the work of self-taught artists—who are “insiders” and who are “outsiders.” The exhibition coincides with the 21st edition of the Outsider Art Fair (January 31 through February 3, 548 West 22nd Street, New York).
STORY LINES is accompanied by a detailed checklist and scholarly essay by Galerie St. Etienne Co-Director Jane Kallir. For further information and images, please contact Courtney Donner at 212-245-6734 or [email protected]. The Galerie St. Etienne is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 AM to 5 PM, and other times by appointment.