Discover Art Brut at the 2019 Outsider Art Fair

The 2019 Outsider Art Fair is at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, Manhattan Friday-Sunday, January 18-20, 2019 with a Vernissage on Thursday, January 17, 2019. From $27.04

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This season 67 exhibitors from 37 cities in seven countries are showing. You generally won’t find many big names, but you will see some interesting, very affordable art.

Curated exhibitions include Good Kids: Underground Comics from China and an homage to Phyllis Kind, the first American art dealer to show Outsider Art with contemporary art. An exhibition by American actor Jim Carrey is one of the newsworthy highlights of this show.

Outsider Art

Outsider Art is art made by self-taught artists usually working in some kind of isolation outside the boundaries of the art world. The isolation might be caused by disability, insanity, the need to care for an ill family member, or low social status including being African-American in the American South.

The work has a naive, folky or childish quality. Outsider Art has the opposite character of many of today’s art stars. It is non-commercial art in its purest form.

Today’s art world system requires a Masters degree in some kind of art. The first question collectors ask is, “Where did they study?” It’s sort of a, “Which master touched them?” question. That is relevant, but sometimes the commercialization process becomes more important than the art itself.

There are many art stars who don’t make very good art, but are masters at manipulating the system. Andy Warhol was a great artist, but he was also an early master at manipulating the art system. Warhol showed the way for today’s manipulators. If your work sells for millions and millions and the price keeps increasing, who cares whether it’s good or not?

In the past, and still today on the fringes of society, there were/are people who have a natural genius and create an interesting body of work over their lifetimes. Because they work outside the art world, their work is often not discovered or valued until after their deaths.

Outsider Art is popular in France. Renowned French artist Jean Dubuffet was its early champion. In French, it’s called “Art But” or raw art. In the same way that Picasso found inspiration in the spontaneous expressions of the human nervous system in Africa, Dubuffet found inspiration in Art Brut, the work of people isolated by their own insanity.

It provides an unfiltered window into the human mind and in agreement with the ideas of psychologist Carl Jung and anthropologist Joseph Campbell, the spontaneous imagery created by the human nervous system is similar in every place and time. The Hero of a Thousand Faces lives in all of us, so we all understand it.

Some outsider artists do achieve recognition and fame and are no longer considered outsider artists. Henri Rousseau, Joseph Cornell and even graffiti artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat are not considered Outsider Artists, but in their beginnings they were. They marched to their own drummer. That might be one of the definitions of Outsider Art.

You might think that Outsider Art isn’t really art. Or you might think that it is the only real art. In today’s industrialized, hyper-curated society, “realness” matters.

Outsider Art masters

  • Bill Traylor (African-American, 1854)
  • Thornton Dial (African-American, 1828-2016)
  • Martín Ramírez (Mexican-American, 1895-1963)
  • Frank Walter (Antiguan, 1926-2009)
  • Joseph Yoakum (African-Indigenous American, 1889-1972)

Latin Exhibitors at the 2019 Outsider Art Fair

French Galleries

  • Galerie Hervé Perdriolle of Paris
  • Galerie Pol Lemétais of Saint Sever du Moustier

Outsider Art Fair Tickets

Tickets are available at the door or online.

Single Day: $27.04
Three-Day Pass: $53.29
Vernissage: $53.29


Outsider Art Fair Hours

The 2019 Outsider Art Fair is Friday-Sunday, January 18-20 with a Vernissage on Thursday, January 17.

Thursday, January 17 Vernissage: 6-9pm
Friday-Saturday, January 18-19: 11am – 8pm
Sunday, January 20: 11am – 6pm

Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th St, New York, NY 10011
(between Sixth & Seventh Ave)
Chelsea, Manhattan

For more information, visit

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