Once Again, Art Insiders Co-opt “Outsider” Label

“Outsider” is back as an art world descriptor. Every so often, when the art wordsmiths, gallerists and curators run dry from dissecting current art trends, they revert to a newfound appreciation of so-called “Outsider” art.Folk artists, like Grandma Moses and her myriad rural artistic followers, were the key outsider school for a while. Then it was primitive black artists from the deep south. Then street artists of the graffiti persuasion. Then ‘visionary’ primitive, then ‘spiritual’ folk, and so forth. It never ends.According to Mr. Marcus Davies*, “To speak of outsider art is to refer to one element in the creation... Continue reading »

Text-Based Art is Now Here (or is it No Where?)

Up to now I’ve paid about zero attention to text-based art. But in the New Yorker magazine, their art writer Peter Schjeldahl recently expounded at length on Christopher Wool, whose text-based work rated an exhibition in the Guggenheim museum (which I have not seen, and I admit to never before knowingly seeing any of Mr. Wool’s paintings in any form, book or original, or even hearing his name). Schjeldahl declares in his first sentence, that “Like it or not, Christopher Wool, now fifty-eight, is probably the most important American painter of his generation.” Wow! Good thing he includes the word... Continue reading »

Ban the Narrative! Stop Talking and Use Your Eyes

When I hear the phrase “contemporary art” I want to gag. When I see contemporary art I usually want to double gag. The art world has managed a stupendous trick with contemporary art: It’s replaced the creation (that now-useless thing that people in previous centuries seemed to think was the art, like a painting or a sculpture) with THE NARRATIVE. Take away the narrative about a piece of contemporary art and what do you have? Not much. All that talk. All that nonsense.To make a sale today you need a compelling narrative. There’s another word for the narrative – it... Continue reading »