The 29th Outsider Art Fair is a hybrid that is virtual at outsiderartfair.com and live with COVID-19 precautions at several Manhattan galleries from January 28 to February 7, 2021. FREE
- Hirschl & Adler on 57th St in Midtown East @hirschlandadler
- Salon 94 Freemans on Freeman Alley in the Lower East Side @salon94
- Shin Gallery on Orchard St in the Lower East Side @shin_gallery
- Andrew Edlin on the Bowery in Nolita @andrewedlingallery
The fair includes a curated exhibition at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village (@electricladystudios) which was famously founded by Jimi Hendrix. It’s a solo exhibition of work by Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) curated by Gary Panter. Johnston was a musician known for the childlike quality of his work. This is a great chance to see the studio where Jimi worked.
Everything is being done under COVID-19 vigilance. Please contact the galleries directly for viewing protocols.
Outsider Art Fair Is All Self-Taught Art
Nowadays the first thing most collectors ask about an artist is where did they go to school? But in the past and still in marginalized communities, some self-taught artists made incredible work outside the art world’s industrial platforms.
Many outsider artists are not discovered until they die and people go through their things. In the Latin context, some slaves and former slaves are now recognized for the quality of their artistry.
This is outsider art, folk art, or art brut. It’s very popular in France. Some of it is made by artists who are so creative they are considered mentally ill. It is pure art without the art world artifice. It comes directly from the subconscious. Outsider art often looks dreamy or childlike, but that doesn’t mean it is not sophisticated.
Henri Rousseau (French, 1844-1910) is a well-known example. His famous paintings of creatures in a jungle have a tremendous dream-like quality that is instantly recognizable to anyone who dreams.
Rousseau lived in France his entire life. He never saw a jungle. His work was pure subconscious. But if you ever remembered a dream or woke up in a rainforest, you may very well be reminded of Rousseau. He nailed it. It’s as if he tapped the collective human consciousness to paint something he had never seen himself.
Kids Love Outsider Art
The drawing is by Romanian artist Ionel Talpazan (1955-2015) who sold his UFO drawings on New York City streets around the Puck Building in SoHo. He claimed to have been contacted by aliens as a child.
Children have rich subconscious lives, so they connect naturally with the childlike quality of the work at the Outsider Art Fair. We don’t know the gallery child policies, but this is one art fair I would definitely take my own young children to see. The experience is likely to be inspiring.
The downtown galleries are near each other so you can make a morning or afternoon of it.