outsider art • art brut • the unclassifiable • the avant-avant-garde
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SO EXACTLY WHAT ARE WE UP TO HERE?
WELL WE’RE INTERESTED IN FORMS OF ART AND CULTURAL EXPRESSION THAT BREAK THE MOLD; THAT ARE FRESH, DIFFERENT, EXPERIMENTAL, DARING, AND DEFY FAMILIAR LABELS; AND THAT, FOR ALL THEIR INNOVATION OR FAR-OUT FORM, UNABASHEDLY CELEBRATE AND REAFFIRM THE HUMAN SPIRIT.
2022 OUTSIDER ART FAIR, NEW YORK: LIVE COVERAGE
IT’S HERE — THE ART WORLD’S VIBRANT ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF THE MOST UNUSUAL, HARD-TO-CLASSIFY CREATIONS. WE DIG IT ALL!
by Edward M. Gómez
OUR LATEST FINDINGS AT THE FAIR
This year’s Outsider Art Fair feels exuberant and festive. Clearly, dealers, collectors, and inquisitive observers have been eagerly anticipating the return of this colorful annual event in its full form following two long years of dreary pandemic conditions. Old-guard galleries that have been active in the field for many decades are offering some gems by such classic, definitive outsiders as Bill Traylor, Frank Jones, Lee Godie, and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, among others.
It’s interesting to note that, over just the past few years, a gallery like Yukiko Koide Presents, from Japan, has seen the works of its artist Yuichiro Ukai take off and become recognized as emblematic of the most original, most imaginative contemporary Japanese art brut. At this year’s OAF, this gallery’s selection of Ukai’s drawings, with their dense compositions packed with monsters, dinosaurs, historical figures, and the occasional robot enjoyed brisk sales.
Sometimes, small-size works can pack a big emotional-psychological punch. Gregory Van Maanen, who was born in New Jersey in 1947, served in the Vietnam War and became affected with post-traumatic stress disorder, has for many years made paintings in acrylic on board filled with talismanic motifs — eyes, skulls, bony hands, and sometimes just sprinklings of drifting stars. For Van Maanen, making his art is a healing activity; his small paintings exude the air of antique ex-votos.
As is so often the case at a fair at which evidence of the soulful touch of the artist’s hand in the making of his or her creations and fine craftsmanship in general are attributes to be celebrated, not dismissed, this year, some fine handiwork is to be found in many drawings, paintings, and mixed-media works. Here are some of our latest finds at this year’s OAF.
OUR SECOND DISPATCH FROM THE FAIR:
The grand opening of the 2022 Outsider Art Fair is under way, and all of the participating art dealers and other exhibitors’ booths are up and filled with colorful, intriguing creations by artists whose inventiveness and imagination are often as unexpected as they are alluring.
Here are some interesting finds from artists whose names are familiar — or completely new to the scene. Enjoy our visual notebook!
OUR FIRST DISPATCH FROM THE FAIR, BELOW:
Today, Thursday, March 3, the 2022 Outsider Art Fair will begin in New York with a preview session for the media starting at midday and a grand opening that will begin at 4:00 in the afternoon. All day yesterday, exhibitors from New York and other parts of the United States, as well as from Europe and Japan, unpacked their boxes and set up their booths filled with oddities and wonders, and many hard-to-classify treasures made by self-taught, often visionary artists.
This year, brutjournal is one of the fair’s official media partners. We’ll be publishing daily reports right here about our most interesting finds at the fair, sharing the latest news with you about what art dealers, collectors, researchers, and artists who are involved in the related art brut and outsider art fields have been thinking and discovering. This year’s confab marks a return to the full-bodied, in-person OAF that, like so many other art fairs and trade shows, was forced to appear in an altered, somewhat diminished form last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Right now, New York City is emerging from the pandemic, but health-safety protocols are still in effect in many places, such as restaurants and museums. Visitors to this year’s OAF must show proof of their vaccination or COVID-negative status, and everyone on site at the fair must wear a face mask.
Below is a reporter’s visual notebook with some preliminary findings from the fair. There is much more to examine and discover. Stay tuned over the next few days!