The Outsider Art Fair, the premier fair dedicated to showcasing self-taught art, art brut and outsider art from around the world, is pleased to announce details for the 30th Anniversary edition of the fair, taking place.
The fair will return to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan for the first time since 2019, and showcase 65 exhibitors from 30 cities representing 6 countries, with 7 first-time exhibitors.
Returning dealers who have been with OAF since its inception in 1993 include Aarne Anton / Nexus Singularity (New York), Cavin-Morris Gallery (New York), Fleisher/Ollman Gallery (Philadelphia), Carl Hammer Gallery (Chicago), Marion Harris (New York), and Ricco/Maresca Gallery (New York).
Visitors can once again count on seeing works by the most acclaimed artists in the field, like Morton Bartlett, James Castle, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial, William Edmondson, Minnie Evans, Guo Fengyi, Bill Traylor, Martín Ramírez, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Joseph Yoakum.
Additional highlights include a tribute to influential dealer Louise Ross by SHRINE (New York); a solo exhibition of intricate works on paper by Melvin Way at Bullet Space (New York), the legendary East Village gallery; collages by John Evans alongside two quilts by Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers, Lillie Mae Pettway and Mertlene Perkins at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery; a solo presentation of kaleidoscopic paintings by Paul Lafolley at James Fuentes; and a solo presentation of drawings by the late musician Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) by Electric Lady Studios. The fair also continues its longstanding relationship with the world’s top ateliers or “workshops” that serve artists with developmental or physical disabilities, including the Creative Growth Art Center (Oakland), Fountain House (New York), Creativity Explored (San Francisco), Center for Creative Works (Philadelphia), LAND (New York), Project Onward (Chicago), Sage Studio (Austin), and newcomers Arts for Life (Chicago) and ArTech Collective (NewYork).
As part of the anniversary celebration, OAF is excited to present special programming in its Curated Spaces sector. Field Trip: Psychedelic Solution, 1986-1995, showcases work championed by the seminal underground Greenwich Village gallery, Psychedelic Solution, and is curated by renowned contemporary artist Fred Tomaselli. Field Trip will feature a pantheon of greats like Isaac Abrams, Joe Coleman, Bruce Conner, Robert Crumb, Alex Grey, Rick Griffin, Allyson Grey, Gary Panter, Spain Rodriguez and S. Clay Wilson. In homage to the folkloric aspects of psychedelic art, from which much of this movement organically arose, singular artifacts that capture definitive cultural moments will abound, including the original ink drawing by Edmund J. Sullivan, dated 1900 and titled, “Skeleton Amidst Roses” that became the genesis for the logo for the Grateful Dead. The exhibition will be the subject of an OAF Talk moderated by Nicole Rudick with panelists Tomaselli, Carlo McCormick and Psychedelic Solution founder, Jacaeber Kastor.
The OAF Curated Spaces programming also includes Beyond Genres: Self-Taught Artists Making Contemporary Art, curated by Paul Laster, featuring artists whose work lives on the borderlands between outsider and contemporary art. LA painter Eric White and filmmaker Aaron Guadamuz will curate a show of works by self-taught artist and clay animator Bruce Bickford (1947-2019), a longtime collaborator of Frank Zappa widely considered a pioneer and master of clay animation, creating uniquely bizarre narratives in perpetually morphing plasticine. Phillip March Jones will organize Maps and Legends: Featuring Works from the Michael Stipe Collection, a presentation of highlights from the collection of Michael Stipe, who was an early collector and advocate for Southern self-taught artists including Reverend Howard Finster (1916 – 2001).
Throughout the pandemic, the Outsider Art Fair has explored new ways to support its exhibitors and engage art lovers. The three-phase online exhibition in the summer of 2020, Art Brut Global, drove sales and attracted new collectors to the field, and in October, OAF’s sister Paris fair staged Sexual Personae––an in-person survey of over 200 artworks by 50 self-taught artists–– all sourced from OAF dealers, organized by former Pompidou curator Alison M. Gingeras. Last winter, the fair pushed this model further with a “citywide” edition featuring seven exhibitions across five locations around Manhattan. Last June, OAF stretched beyond its traditional fair schedule with Super-Rough, a large-scale pop-up exhibition in SoHo of over two hundred sculptural works guest-curated by artist Takashi Murakami. In her New York Times review, Roberta Smith remarked “the result is close to stupendous.”
Fair owner Andrew Eldin observes:
“We are coming out of a tough period with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Not many fairs have lasted 30 years, and we are fortunate to have many of our original exhibitors still bringing amazing material. When OAF started in 1993 there was little interest from museums and collectors, but the evangelical zeal of these pioneer dealers was infectious and a vital reason why the art world has come around to featuring outsider artists in major exhibitions and collections. I’m proud to say that our community’s passion and dedication have been the fuel behind this sea change, and now a new generation of dealers is emerging.”
The Ace Hotel will return as the fair’s hotel partner and will host a series of programs and film screenings to be announced at a future date. This year’s Online Viewing Room (OVR) will be powered by Artland, a dedicated platform to discover and buy from galleries on a global scale and connect with art lovers and art collectors.
OAF Curated Spaces:
Field Trip: Psychedelic Solution, 1986-1995 – Curated by Fred Tomaselli
Beyond Genres: Self-Taught Artists Making Contemporary Art – Curated by Paul Laster
Maps and Legends: Featuring Works from the Michael Stipe Collection – Curated by Phillip March Jones Bruce Bickford – Curated by Eric White and Aaron Guadamuz.
About Outsider Art:
SHRINE, New York
The Silo, Milanville,PA SITUATIONS, New York SPACES Archive, Kohler, WI Stellarhighway, New York Stewart Gallery, Boise, ID Tierra del Sol Gallery, Los Angeles Western Exhibitions, Chicago Wilsonville, East Hampton Winter Works on Paper, New York Yukiko Koide Presents, Tokyo
Online Viewing Room Only:
Cathy Condon Gallery, Queensland, Australia galerie gugging, Maria Gugging, Austria
Hedges Projects, Los Angeles
Henry Boxer Gallery, Richmond Hill, Surrey, United Kingdom Indigo Arts Gallery, Philadelphia
Mason Fine Art, Atlanta
The Gallery of Everything, London
In his 1945 manifesto, Jean Dubuffet coined and defined the term Art Brut as follows: “We understand by this term works produced by persons unscathed by artistic culture, where mimicry plays little or no part (contrary to the activities of intellectuals). These artists derive everything…from their own depths, and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art.” British art historian Roger Cardinal coined the term outsider art in his 1972 book. Dubuffet and Cardinal were writing primarily about extremely marginalized European artists: psychotics, mediums, and eccentrics. This has led to a common misconception that Outsider Art is essentially pathological, when in fact the central characteristic shared by Outsiders is their lack of conditioning by art history or art world trends.
About the Outsider Art Fair:
Founded in New York in 1993, the Outsider Art Fair is the original art fair concentrating specifically on self-taught art, presenting works by acknowledged masters such Henry Darger, Bill Traylor and Aloïse Corbaz, as well as living artists like George Widener, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Dan Miller, Shinichi Sawada and Luboš Plný. Soon recognized for its maverick spirit, OAF played a vital role in nurturing a passionate collecting community and broader recognition for outsider art in the contemporary art arena.
In 2012, Wide Open Arts, a company founded by gallerist Andrew Edlin, acquired the fair. Propelled by its immediate success in New York, a Paris edition was inaugurated in October 2013, helping to reinvigorate that city’s long tradition in the art brut field. After holding the fair for the first two years at Hôtel Le A, a boutique hotel near the Grand Palais, OAF Paris relocated in 2015 to Hôtel du Duc, a stately, nineteenth-century hôtel particulier in the Opéra district. In 2018, the fair expanded to its current venue, Atelier Richelieu, located in the 2nd arrondissement.
The Outsider Art Fair is located at Metropolitan Pavilion: 125 West 18th Street