OUTSIDER ART FAIR NEW YORK
Thru January 19, 2020
125 W. 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Friday, January 17: 11 AM – 8 PM
Saturday, January 18: 11 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, January 19: 11 AM – 6 PM
In an increasingly stratified art world, the Outsider Art Fair in New York remains a refreshingly democratic event. Uptown galleries rub elbows with nonprofits, work by acknowledged masters like Thornton Dial and Martin Ramirez hangs near that of lesser known artists like Tommy May and Henry Speller, and prices range from hundreds of dollars (or less) to hundreds of thousands.
The fair’s 28th edition, featuring nearly 70 exhibitors from Europe, North and South America, East and South Asia, as well as curated spaces and special projects, feels more inclusive than ever.
Here are five highlights:
THE HUMMINGBIRD PAINTS FRAGRANT SONGS: SARA FLORES AND CELIA VASQUEZ YUI
Reflecting an increasing appreciation of Indigenous artworks as the product of living cultures rather than collectible artifacts, “The Hummingbird Paints Fragrant Songs,” a special exhibition co-curated by Brett Littman, director of the Isamu Noguchi Museum, and New York’s Shipibo-Conibo Center, presents work by Shipibo artists Sara Flores and Celia Vasquez Yui. Members of an Indigenous Peruvian tribe whose land and way of life are being threatened by deforestation and commercial interests, both artists work within Shipibo shamanic and artistic traditions, Flores making intricately patterned paintings on cloth and Yui making ceramic sculptures of native animals.
CREATIVE GROWTH/MANGKAJA ARTS RESOURCE AGENCY
Similarly, while arts organizations for artists with disabilities were once the poor relatives of the Outsider Art Fair, nonprofits like Creative Growth, Pure Vision Arts, and Fountain House are increasingly being recognized not only as incubators of talent but as self-sustaining communities. Community is the theme of Creative Growth’s booth this year, which presents works by its member artists alongside those of contemporary Aboriginal artists from Australia’s Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency.
VIVIAN MAIER @ HOWARD GREENBERG GALLERY
Growing interest in self-taught art—proof of which was the Christie’s auction of folk and outsider art, held yesterday—has drawn several mainstream galleries to the fair. They include first-time exhibitor Howard Greenberg Gallery, which is presenting works by American self-taught street photographer Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny whose extraordinary pictures were only discovered after her death.
RELISHING THE RAW: CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS COLLECTING OUTSIDER ART
Contemporary artists, of course, have been there all along. The fair’s second special exhibition, curated by writer Paul Laster, brings together works by self-taught artists in the collections of art world luminaries, including Cindy Sherman (a Lee Godie self-portrait), Lynda Benglis (a painting by Tom Bronk), and Julian Schnabel (Vahakn Arslanian)
GALERIE GUGGING NINA KATSCHNIG
Even as definitions of what constitutes modern and contemporary art have broadened, so too has the photographic canon. One of a number of booths featuring vernacular or self-taught photography, Galerie Gugging Nina Katschnig is showing haunting photographs by Austrian outsider August Walla in tandem with photocollages by contemporary artist Lejo (Johannes Lechner).
Democracy may be under threat elsewhere, but not at the Outsider Art Fair this weekend.