Outsider vs Folk

Murray & Ledger Galleries

June 2, 2012 – September 2, 2012

The term art brut was first coined by twentieth-century French artist Jean Dubuffet.  Art brut (or ‘raw art’) labeled the growing interest in art produced by patients in asylums and called attention to the viability of artworks produced by artists living beyond the realm of popular culture.  According to Dubuffet, “Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.”  In 1972, the term outsider art became the official English translation of art brut and remains the most widely accepted description of such artworks.  However, in recent decades, the American renditions of these unique artworks have spurred renewed interests and sharper criticisms.  As a consequence, the term folk art, with its more negative connotations, has become the common nomenclature.  This exhibition uses such pieces from Polk Museum of Art’s permanent collection to initiate a conversation about the contemporary state of art brut.