FREE – Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
More than 100 years of unschooled artistic genius is gathered in Groundwaters: A Century of Art by Self-Taught and Outsider Artists a wide-ranging survey book that delights and informs Outsider Art’s rapidly growing audience. Art historian and curator Valérie Rousseau, a fellow expert in the field joins professor and author Charles Russell discussing the Outsider Art movement and sharing a diverse selection of images from many artists included in the book.
Visionary art, art brut, art of the insane, naïve art, vernacular art, “raw vision”—what do all these and many other categories describe? An art made outside the boundaries of official culture, first recognized more than a century ago by German psychiatrists who appreciated the profound artistic expression in the work of institutionalized patients. Promoted by brilliant museum curators Alfred Barr and artist Jean Dubuffet, such work became a wellspring of modern and contemporary art. Groundwaters brings together works by twelve of the most influential self-taught artists to emerge during the past century. Each represents a facet of the outsider art phenomenon, from mental patients Adolf Wölfli and Martín Ramírez, through vernacular masters Bill Traylor and Thornton Dial, to artists who seem to be in touch with other worlds, such as Madge Gill and Henry Darger. Related artists are featured along with each key figure, allowing a fuller picture to emerge. This book presents a narrative of the history of outsider art, clarifies predominant theoretical issues, and draws comparisons with the modernist tradition. It brings into focus the enormous contributions self-taught artists have made to our understanding of creative genius and presents them in a book that enthralls anyone interested in Outsider Art.
Copies of the Groundwaters: A Century of Art by Self-Taught and Outsider Artists are available for purchase and signing at the event.
Charles Russell is Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, where he directed the graduate program in American Studies and was Associate Director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience. Among his several books are The Avant-Garde Today (University of Illinois Press, 1981),Poets, Prophets, and Revolutionaries: The Literary Avant-Garde from Rimbaud through Postmodernism (Oxford University Press, 1985), Self-Taught Art: The Culture and Aesthetics of American Vernacular Art (University Press of Mississippi, 2001), and, co-edited with Carol Crown, Sacred and Profane: Personal Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art, (University Press of Mississippi, 2007).
Art historian and independent curator, Valérie Rousseau is specialized in art brut, folk art and other outsider and marginal practices. Currently a publications director at the Andrew Edlin Gallery (New York) and a former director of the Société des arts indisciplinés (Montreal), she has been involved in several studies, symposia, publications (Culture & Musées; Vestiges de l’indiscipline: Environnements d’art et anarchitectures) and exhibitions (Collectors of Skies; Henry Darger; Richard Greaves; Bill Anhang; Chassé-Croisé) in Canada, the USA and Europe in the fields of art, museum studies, heritage and anthropology. She is an affiliated researcher with the Laboratory of Anthropology and History of the Cultural Institution (LAHIC, Paris). Holding a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology (EHESS, Paris) and a Master’s degree in Art Theory (UQAM), she is currently completing a Ph.D. in Art History.
In its third season the program series An Art Book, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni, is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations and discussions by world renowned artists, critics, curators, historians and writers.