“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)

A Brief Note on the American Folk Art Museum’s Decision to Sell

AFAM's 53rd Street building

Last week’s sad news that the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) agreed to sell their 53rd Street building to the Museum of Modern Art is unfortunate, though not entirely unexpected. I will not speculate and comment on their decision or situation, but am providing links to interesting articles that discuss the sale:

I have a soft spot for the museum: my first post-college job was as their assistant editor, and my experiences at AFAM led me to focus on self-taught artists within my graduate studies. I am not the only person who has been inspired by the museum, and I hope that their collection will remain available and visible both at their Lincoln Square space and online.

“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.

Art Brut, Outsider Art, and the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts

Isaiah Zagar / View of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) begins today! Dedicated to promoting the arts and arts organizations throughout Philadelphia, the Festival includes exhibitions, performances, and lectures.

On April 14th, 7pm, at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, art historians Valerie Rousseau and Dan Schank will lecture on art brut and its connection to contemporary self-taught, visionary, and outsider art. Isaiah Zagar, the founder and creator of the Magic Gardens, will be on hand to discuss his artistic influences, which include the Watts Towers by self-taught artist Simon Rodia.

PIFA 2011 events run through May 1.

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein Vessels on View at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s clay vessels are intricate and extremely fragile objects. Their beautiful form and lack of practical function is highlighted in Fleisher/Ollman‘s current group show, “The Usefulness of Useless Things,” on view through April 30, 2011. I like the way guest curator Jonathan Berger has displayed the work–enjoy these photos of the work and the gallery space!

Here’s a view of the gallery:

And some images of individual works:

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.

Installation Shots from Andrew Edlin Gallery’s Thornton Dial Show

Photos courtesy Andrew Edlin Gallery. I think the show looks fantastic! I love that these photos provide a sense of how tactile Dial’s work truly is.