A Few Folk Art Sites
April 7, 2003 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Florida Folk Art. 'Welcome to my online Outsider Art Gallery. I collect outsider art, also known as Folk Art or Visionary Art ... '
More folk art :- Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, a Kansas City Public TV project about the art and oddities of roadside America; the Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery ('folk art of the South'), a nice site from Texas; the Garde Rail Gallery; Folky Art; Four Florida Folk Artists (via Interesting Ideas). Not quite folk art but an interesting idea nonetheless :- the Miniature Book Library, an ongoing mail art project (which invites participants).
posted by plep (6 comments total)
I just went to the Garde-Rail gallery a few days ago. I was struck by not only how interesting a lot of the art was, but also how weird the concept of Outsider Art sort of is. This gallery had some stuff by some 30-something white kids from Toronto who were claimed to be "not your usual outsider artists" [which means I think not crazy, black, from the South, and/or building a castle in their backyard] but then it begged the question of what separated them from regular old artists who weren't very classically talented? Especially when you compare them to guys like Henry Darger. Most people who think of outsider art nowadays think of Howard Finster and that Talking Heads cover.
posted by jessamyn at 9:32 AM on April 7, 2003 [1 favorite]

The miniature library is wonderful! I have to do one. If you make five, you get four back, with one going to the museum. I'm making a prototype right now. So fun. Thanks for the great link.
posted by iconomy at 10:09 AM on April 7, 2003

Good point jessamyn. Raw Vision magazine attempts to answer the question What is Outsider Art? I think this quote they include from Michel Thevoz, Curator of the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne is excellent:

"A firm distinction should be made between "art brut" and what is known as "naif art". The naif or primitive painters remain within the mainstream of painting proper, even if they fail ingenuously to practise its style. However, they accept its subjects, technique (generally oils) and even its values, because they hope for public, if not official recognition. "Art brut" artists, on the other hand, make up their own techniques, often with new means and materials and they create their works for their own use, as a kind of private theatre. They choose subjects which are often enigmatic and they do not care about the good opinion of others, even keeping their work secret."

I think there is nothing wrong with looking for public recognition, but as Raw Vision says, "Sadly we find today that many use the term [Outsider Art] in the loosest way, to refer to almost any untrained artist. It is simply not enough to be untrained, clumsy or naive."

And iconomy, please post a link to your miniature book when you finish. I'd love to check it out. I had no idea of the history/popularity of miniature books until I recently stumbled across this online exhibit titled 4000 Years of Miniature Books. They have a great selection, although my favorite 'American Tragedy' comes from a different site and it's only $60.

Thanks plep.
posted by snez at 1:28 PM on April 7, 2003

Since we're talking about Florida and folk art, allow me to present to you The Highwaymen. My father has been collecting these paintings for years, and they are really vivid. Truly captures the beauty of Florida.
posted by shadow45 at 1:40 PM on April 7, 2003

Thanks for those links, snez and shadow45. And I have to concur, it seems a shame that outsider art has been compartmentalised (and commercialised) to some degree... what made these artists special was not belonging to a movement, but being individuals.
posted by plep at 12:01 AM on April 8, 2003

Here's another miniature book exhibit (from the Cushing Library, Texas A & M University). Some interesting pages here, such as this dictionary.

Here's another exhibit (from the University at Albany), including books from Japan and Judaica illuminated manuscripts.

There's also a Miniature Book Society.
posted by plep at 2:47 AM on April 8, 2003

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