Defining Outsider Art Analysis

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Defining Outsider Art Roger Cardinal first coined the term ‘outsider art’ in 1972 to describe the art of the mentally insane and more broadly art made by anyone outside of the academic art world. The stereotypical outsider artist is either mentally ill, lower class, a person of color or a recluse, some fitting in multiple categories. Outsider artist range from people like Adolf Wolfli, a schizophrenic child molester , to artist like Thortan Dial who is only considered outsider because of race and lack of schooling. The art world considers this art to be pure, untouched by society or the art world itself, for this reason outsider artist are almost always self-taught. Some outsider artist do not even realize they are making art. For their art…show more content…
Dial’s work is often compared to contemporary artist like Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer. Dial creates canvas stacked with found items, such as rusted car parts, old dolls, even animal carcasses. His work may at first appear abstract but each piece is deeply embedded with meaning. When Dial first began he didn’t even consider it to be art, only referring to it as “things” not learning until later in life the things he was creating were art. Because Dial has had little education, cannot read or write and is African American, he is considered outsider or folk but many critics agree that his art goes beyond the scope of outsider. His work is now in collections at various museums such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Milwaukee Museum of Art . Despite that Dial has not received all of the recognition that he deserves according to Joanne Cubbs, a curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art “If anybody else had created a major opus of this scope, he or she would be recognized as a major force in the art world.” This is an example of how the idea of outsider art can be harmful, by putting Dial in the category of outsider, it can hinder how his art is viewed, and separate him from art world…show more content…
Albert Louden left school at age fifteen, working a variety of jobs before deciding to focus on art at age nineteen. He started in drawings and watercolors, and later used pastels and oil paints. His works include abstracted landscapes and contorted figures which according to Louden are all unplanned. Louden was discovered in 1979 by Victor Musgrave, founder of the Outsider Archive in London and introduced to the art world in an exhibition at Serpentine Gallery in 1985. All of his pieces sold. However the art world turned on Loudin, and he is now regarded as a “ousted outsider” even by those who once sold and brought his work. What so dramatically changed people’s view on Louden? “He “broke the outsider’s vow of poverty” after selling his work to commercial galleries. Monika Kinley, an extremely influential collector and curator in the world of Outsider art, had this to say about Louden “he didn't want to be an Outsider because he couldn't sell any pictures. Then, when Outsider Art was discovered, he wanted to be an Outsider again.” She even went so far as to say his newer work wasn’t as good because of his supposed sold-out “His current work has not got the same fire. That's what can happen when Outsiders come into contact with commercial galleries.” Louden doesn’t argue that he wasn’t after money, but he does raise the question is it fair to expect the artist to hold an indifference to money.

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