Five Things To See at the 2020 Outsider Art Fair

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.

OUTSIDER ART FAIR NEW YORK


Thru January 19, 2020
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Hours:
Friday, January 17: 11 AM – 8 PM
Saturday, January 18: 11 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, January 19: 11 AM – 6 PM

https://www.outsiderartfair.com/new-york

Carlo Zinelli, Untitled, 1963, gouache on paper, 19 x 13 inches. Courtesy of RIZOMI, Italy and Wide Open Arts, New York.

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

Booth D7

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

BOOTH C16

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

Booth D4

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

Booth A8

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

Booth A12

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.

Lejo, Apropos, 2016, collage on cardboard, 6.2 x 4.2 inches. Courtesy of galerie gugging nina katschnig, Maria Gugging and Wide Open Arts, New York.