Category Archives: Exhibitions

“Martín Ramírez: Landscapes” on view at Ricco/Maresca Gallery

“Martín Ramírez: Landscapes” is on view at Ricco/Maresca through November 12, 2011, and the gallery has kindly shared some beautiful installation shots. Enjoy!

The Museum of Everything Coming to London Department Store

Harald Stoffers (Galerie der Villa, Germany) / Courtesy The Museum of Everything

Beginning September 2, the Museum of Everything’s Exhibition #4 will be on view in Selfridges, an established British department store. Occupying the windows and exhibition space of the Oxford Street, London, branch, the show will be accompanied by the “Shop of Everything,” which will sell clothes and products inspired by the displayed works. Proceeds from the shop will benefit the Museum.

Exhibition #4 will showcase works from around the globe, including those by established self-taught artist Judith Scott as well as by lesser known outsider artmakers. The shop will sell clothes by Clements Ribeiro and shoes by Tracey Neuls designed in response to the artworks.

This exhibition is breaking the mold in so many interesting ways. By bringing a museum to a public shopping space, the works will be accessible to many new audiences who would never think or wish to visit a traditional museum setting. The connection between fashion designers and the Museum might also be particularly fruitful, as the intricate, colorful works in this exhibition should certainly inspire creativity. If the MET’s recent Alexander McQueen exhibition is any indication, fashion as an art form is craved by the public, and I am excited to see how fashion, as directly inspired by outsider artworks, will be adopted or accepted.

Exhibition #4 will remain on view through October 25, 2011.

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

As August winds down, galleries and museums are gearing up for the fall. Some of the interesting current and upcoming shows featuring work by self-taught artists include:

Sam Doyle / Dr. Crow / c. 1980-1985 / Housepaint on tin / 42.5 x 26.5 in.

Into the Mainstream: Self-Taught Artists from the Garbish and Gordon Collections,” at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, on view through December 31, 2011. This exhibition, organized in conjunction with Old Dominion University, considers the position of self-taught and folk artists with the narratives of art history.

You Better Be Listening: Text in Self-Taught Art,” on view at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, through January 14, 2012. Highlighting the multiple uses of text in works of outsider art, “You Better Be Listening” draws on works by Howard Finster, Sister Gertrude Morgan,  Dwight Mackintosh, and Royal Robertson.

Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the Collection,” at the Menil Collection, Houston. Organized around works by artists who had little contact with the mainstream art world, “Seeing Stars” will include drawings by Charles A.A. Dellschau, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfii, and Joseph Yoakum, among others. Opening September 23, 2011, the exhibition will remain on view through January 15, 2012.

Simply Iconic,” a selection of works by artists including Sam Doyle, Herbert Singleton, and Purvis Young, on view at La Luz De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, from September 2 through October 3, 2011.

Minnie Evans: Paintings and Drawings,” at Luise Ross Gallery, New York.  On view from September 8 to October 29, 2011, this show will feature works spanning four decades of the artist’s career.

Mikey Wild: Artist, Musician, South Philly Legend

Mikey Wild / Teenage Jesus / 2008 / Pageant Soloveev Gallery / Photo by Samantha Mitchell

By Samantha Mitchell

Michael Deluca, known as  Mikey Wild, died May 25th, 2011.  A life-long resident of South Philadelphia commonly known as the Mayor of South Street, Wild was a charismatic personality who will be remembered for his unique presence in the neighborhood as well as for his art and music.  His distinctive voice and unique lyrics were showcased by a number of Philadelphia punk bands (including but not exclusive to the Mess, the Magic Lanterns, The Hard-Ons and Scareho) with songs like “I Hate New York” and “I Was Punk B4 You Were Punk.”  In the 1970s he opened for Lou Reed and GG Allin, and was an active performer for more than 30 years.

Wild also created hundreds of vivid works on paper.  His art communicates a fascination with icons of music, horror films, and religion, and he created eerie portraits of John Lennon, B-movie monsters, Jesus, and most frequently, Vincent Price  (Wild’s preoccupation with Price is apparent in the short film Paying the Price, in which Wild portrays both the actor and his evil twin brother).

Wild created works on paper with markers, acrylic paint, and watercolor, depicting a unique reality of characters brought together by his own perceptive logic and wry sense of humor.  In one drawing a teenage Jesus is confronted by his mother when he is caught smoking a cigarette; another depicts “Christopher Lee as Dracula beating a turkey.”  Wild’s style is graphic and visceral; the drawings sharp and immediate, the paintings hazy and surreal, incorporating iconic characters into a shared unreality.  His unique perspective combines an isolation from and immersion in popular culture, which is dually comic and disturbing.

With a history of mental illness, Wild spent some of his youth in institutions, treated with a combination of shock therapy and medication.  His artwork is reminiscent of other talented and unique musicians with painful histories of encounters with mental rehabilitation facilities, like Roky Erickson (front man of the 13th Floor Elevators) and Daniel Johnston.  All three conveyed their realities in conglomerated visual works that blurred the line between the real and the imaginary, expressing fascination with both the horrific and the comical with a lack of self-consciousness.

Mikey Wild Installation at Pageant Soloveev Gallery / Photo by Samantha Mitchell

Mikey Wild’s work is currently hung at  Pageant Soloveev Gallery (607 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia), where owner Daniel Dalseth held an auction of  paintings and drawings last month, as well as the South Philadelphia bars 12 Steps Down (831 Christian Street) and Connie’s Ric-Rac (1132 S. 9th Street).

“The Outside Art of David Butler” at the Louisiana State Museum – Patterson

David Butler's House and Yard / c. 1971-74 / Photo (c) John Geldersma

An exhibition of twenty cut metal sculptures by artist David Butler opened yesterday at the Louisiana State Museum – Patterson. Drawing from private collections, “The Outside Art of David Butler” is the first museum exhibition of the artist’s work in his hometown, and will remain on view through March 2012.

Retrospective of Leroy Person’s Carvings at North Carolina Wesleyan College

Leroy Person (1907-1985) / Hens and Chicks with Rooster / Crayon on wood / Photo courtesy the American Folk Art Museum

Eighty-six carvings by North Carolina artist Leroy Person will be on view at North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Four Sisters Gallery of Self-Taught Visionary Art through December 10, 2011. Ranging from Person’s small scale twig figures to his full size chairs, the works included in this exhibition are from the gallery’s permanent collection of self-taught art. I suspect this is a wonderful opportunity to see the range of Person’s output, and to appreciate how well he worked in different scales.

Leroy Person / Chairs and Table / The Robert Lynch Collection of Outsider Art at the Four Sisters Gallery

(thanks to Craig for alerting me to this exhibition)

“Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster” in Jacksonville

Howard Finster / The Super Powers / July 21, 1985 / Tractor enamel on wood / 48 × 48 in. / Courtesy John Denton

“Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster” is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville through August 28, 2011. Celebrating the range of imagery in Finster’s fervently religious art, the exhibition includes works revealing angels, UFOs, and historical and popular figures interspersed with bible passages and declarations of faith.

Finster created art in service to his faith and as a way to spread his religious message. While he became a well known figure in popular culture (designing album cover art for both REM and the Talking Heads), Finster’s art nevertheless revolved around spirituality.

Organized by the Krannert Art Museum, “Stranger in Paradise” considers the layout of Finster’s Paradise Gardens, where the artist both created and displayed his work beginning in the 1970s. Enjoy this installation shot, from the museum’s Facebook page, which hints at the way Finster’s portrait busts were staggered on the ground within his garden.

Installation at MOCA Jacksonville / Photo by Ben Thompson

Arient Collection of Self-Taught and Outsider Art on View at the Koehnline Museum of Art

Lee Godie / Prince Charming / 1980s / Paint and ballpoint pen on canvas / Courtesy Koehnline Museum of Art

Beginning May 5, 2011, works from Jim and Beth Arient’s extensive collection of outsider art will on view at the Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, IL. “Arient Family Collection: Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century” will include 50 works by artists including William Dawson, Lee Godie, and Howard Finster.

The Arients have collected outsider art for more than 30 years, and the exhibition aims to show the range and breadth of their collecting practice. “Arient Family Collection” will reveal how the collection was formed, highlighting the books that influenced the Arients (including “Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists” by Bert Hemphill and Julia Weissman) as well as ways that the couple acquired art (directly from artists, rather than via dealers).

The exhibition will remain on view through August 18, 2011.

Works by Mingering Mike on View at ICA Boston

Mingering Mike / The Outsiders are Back / 1971 / Mixed media on cardboard / 12 1/2 x 12 1/4 in.

Beginning today, “The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl” is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Featuring works by 41 artists, the exhibition looks at the importance and influence of records on visual art.

I am particularly excited by the exhibition’s inclusion of work by Mingering Mike, a self-taught artist from Washington D.C. who drew (and starred in) imagined records from the late-1960s through 1977. The mixed media  album covers and cardboard records, which bear names such as “Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing,” “Ghetto Prince,” and “The Outsiders are Back,” reveal not only the artist’s private ambitions, but also his interpretations of African American music and urban black culture of the period.

Organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, “The Record” is on view in Boston through September 5, 2011.

Works by Self-Taught Alabama Artists on View in Birmingham Beginning April 15

Joe Minter / African Village in America / Photo taken 2009

“The Music Lives On: Folk Song Traditions Told by Alabama Artists” will be on view at Vulcan Park and Museum, Birmingham, Alabama, April 15-August 26, 2011.

The exhibition will feature works by Lonnie Holley, Joe Minter, Charlie Lucas, and Thornton Dial, and will reveal the rich parallels between visual art and music in the Southeastern United States.