Joseph Yoakum - Briar Head

Joseph Yoakum, “Briar Head Mtn of National Park Range of Bryce Canyon National Park near Hatch, Utah U.S.A.”, c. 1969, blue-black and black ballpoint pen and colored pencil on paper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee and the Donald and Nancy de Laski Fund.

‘Outliers and American Vanguard Art’ – NGA Washington

‘Outliers and American Vanguard Art’ is the first major exhibition to explore those key moments in American art history when avant-garde artists and outsiders intersected, and how their interchanges ushered in new paradigms based on inclusion, integration, and assimilation. National Gallery of Art, Washington, from January 28 through May 13, 2018.

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington

Their classification may have varied—from folk and primitive to naïve and visionary—but intermittently throughout the history of modern art, gates have opened, boundaries have dissolved, and those creating art on the periphery have entered the art world.

‘Outliers and American Vanguard Art’ brings together some 250 works in a range of media by more than 80 schooled and unschooled artists, such as Henry Darger, William Edmondson, Lonnie Holley, Greer Lankton, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Matt Mullican, Horace Pippin, Martín Ramírez, Betye Saar, Judith Scott, Charles Sheeler, Cindy Sherman, and Bill Traylor.

Spanning more than a century, paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, books, and mixed-media assemblagesare organized into three sections, each of which focuses on a distinct period when artists, art institutions, and audiences engaged intensively with the work of self-taught artists, or autodidacts: c. 1924–1943; c. 1968–1992; and c. 1998–2013. These pivotal periods of social, political, and cultural upheaval stimulated artistic interchanges that challenged or erased traditional hierarchies. While the show's first two sections historicize the evolving identities and roles of the distinctly American versions of modernism's "other," the last section proposes models for exhibiting art created on the periphery with that of the mainstream in ways that differ from today's prevalent approaches. Beyond bringing to light little-known or overlooked artists, “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” probes prevailing assumptions about creativity, artistic practice, and the role of the artist in contemporary culture.

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