Outsider Art: From the Margins to the Marketplace

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Reaktion Books, Jan 15, 2010 - Art - 192 pages
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The term outsider art has been used to describe work produced exterior to the mainstream of modern art by certain self-taught visionaries, spiritualists, eccentrics, recluses, psychiatric patients, criminals, and others beyond the perceived margins of society. Yet the idea of such a raw, untaught creativity remains a contentious and much-debated issue in the art world. Is this creative instinct a natural, innate phenomenon, requiring only the right circumstances—such as isolation or alienation—in order for it to be cultivated? Or is it an idealistic notion projected onto the art and artists by critics and buyers?

David Maclagan argues that behind the critical and commercial hype lies a cluster of assumptions about creative drives, the expression of inner worlds, originality, and artistic eccentricity. Although outsider art is often presented as a recent discovery, these ideas, Maclagan reveals, belong to a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance, when the modern image of the artist began to take shape. In Outsider Art, Maclagan challenges many of the current opinions about this increasingly popular field of art and explores what happens to outsider artists and their work when they are brought within the very world from which they have excluded themselves.

 

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Contents

Introduction
7
Art Brut and the Search for the Source of Creative Originality
25
Outsider Art and the Creative Role of Collecting
59
Art Brut and the Classic Period of Psychotic Art
74
Psychotic Art Today and Outsider Art
96
Doodling and Other Forms of Automatism
109
The Problematic Introduction of Outsider Art into the Wider Art World
130
Conclusion
154
References
172
Artists Biographies
179
Bibliography
186
Acknowledgements
188
Photo Acknowledgements
189
Index
190
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

David Maclagan is an artist, art therapist, and university lecturer. He has published numerous articles on outsider art, art therapy, and image-based psychology, and is the author of Creation Myths: Man’s Introduction to the World and Psychological Aesthetics: Painting, Feeling and Making Sense.

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