Outliers and American Vanguard Art
Lynne Cooke et al.
Outliers and American Vanguard Art explores the interweaving and shifting relations of schooled and unschooled artists in the United States over the past century. The world of avant-garde artists, art critics, and museum professionals, among others, has historically been both defined by and dependent on its margins. The self-taught artist, by definition at the periphery, is a cultural construct whose identity has been captured over the course of the 20th century under such rubrics as folk, naïve, vernacular, visionary, primitive, and outsider. Exemplars include artists from Henry Darger and Horace Pippin to Morton Bartlett, David Butler, James Castle, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Rosie Lee Tompkins, and Bill Traylor.
In the United States, exchanges between mainstream artists and autodidacts were at their most dynamic and consequential during three distinct periods, which structure the exhibition and catalog: c. 1924 – 1945, 1968 – 1982, and 1993 – 2018. This project contextualizes and probes the progression of primary models — from “center/periphery” to “parallel worlds” to “dissolution/fusion”—informing and shaping the relationship between insiders and outliers, through key exhibitions that brought this material to public debate.
Among the groundbreaking exhibitions, impacting not only the practices of accredited artists but the cultural arena at large, were shows at the Whitney Studio Club (1924), at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1930s and 1940s, and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1982) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1992). Although a timely subject, no in-depth exhibition with this mandate, combining about 350 works by about 85 artists, both formally trained and untrained, has been mounted to date.
416 pages | 480 illustrations | 10 x 12 inches
Coming January 2018