Vernacular Visionaries: International Outsider Art

Overview

Outsider Art is a name for the often mesmerizing creations of those who live and work at a distance from prevailing notions about mainstream artistic trends, individuals who are frequently unaware of themselves as artists or of their creations as art. This strikingly beautiful book presents and discusses some of the twentieth century's most significant examples of Outsider Art. Global in scope, the book features essays by leading international scholars on eight artists from around the world, including Gedewon, a ...
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Overview

Outsider Art is a name for the often mesmerizing creations of those who live and work at a distance from prevailing notions about mainstream artistic trends, individuals who are frequently unaware of themselves as artists or of their creations as art. This strikingly beautiful book presents and discusses some of the twentieth century's most significant examples of Outsider Art. Global in scope, the book features essays by leading international scholars on eight artists from around the world, including Gedewon, a cleric from Ethiopia who made unique and psychedelic talismans; William Hawkins, an African-American self-taught artist with a unique pop sensibility; the Mexican artist Martin Ramirez, creator of largescale enigmatic works that tell tales of mestizo life; Nek Chand Saini, whose extraordinary Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India, is a leading visionary site; Hung Tung, whose dynamic, colorful scrolls reflect both traditional Taiwanese culture and fantastic imagination; Charlie Willeto, former Navajo medicine man and carver of raw, expressionistic figures and animals; Anna Zemankova, maker of sensual, dreamy, biomorphic drawings, perhaps done in a trance or mediumistic state, a long-standing tradition in the Czech lands; and Carlo Zinelli, an Italian artist whose bold graphic compositions display incredible patterns and energy. In a cross-disciplinary approach, the contributors explore not only individual artistic sensibility but also the role of the artists' personal experiences in their own culture, focusing on how the external world affects the art of these "outsiders." Vernacular Visionaries also includes an introduction by Annie Carlano and an essay by John Beardsley that focuses on the critical reception of Outsider Art. Filled with stunning photographs and new scholarship, the book presents a major study of international Outsider Art and demonstrates the importance of place and time -- as well as internal genius -- in these artists' creative processes
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Only eight artists are included in this exhibition catalog, yet through them viewers can experience a world of artistic expression. The works gathered for this show at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe are quite diverse: some are primitive, some amazingly detailed. The artists-a civil servant, a truck driver, a fisherman, a Navajo medicine man, a dentist, a professor, and two patients in mental hospitals-are from various backgrounds, ranging from Ethiopia to Czechoslovakia. The purpose of the exhibition was to gather the best current self-taught artists from around the world, eschewing previous outsider superstars such as Adolf W lfli and Howard Finster, who had become "cult heroes in their own communities." An international roster of subject specialists, including John Beardsley (coauthor, The Quilts of Gee's Bend), John Maizels (editor, Raw Vision), and Carlano, the museum's curator, write lively and compelling essays about the artists. Because the pool of self-expression will never be exhausted, this book can easily join the wealth of material already available on this subject. Highly recommended for art libraries and many general collections.-Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300101737
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 8.94 (w) x 12.12 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Imagining the Outsider 10
Gedewon: A Talismanic Art 18
William Hawkins: Junk Man 32
Martin Ramirez: Master of Los Altos 48
Nek Chand: Creator of a Magical World 64
Hung Tung: Visionary King of Taiwan 78
Charlie Willeto: Incantations, Transformations 94
Anna Zemankova: A Sublime and Sinister Art 112
Carlo: Beyond "Polenta and Bones" 130
Contributors 152
Index 154
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