Tuesday, February 9, 2010

inside, out ...

"shadows of unseen things" ... plato
outsider, pt.2 ...

“Outsider Art” is a relatively new term, and by definition, always changing.

What was once used by Jean Dubuffet to describe the work of the ‘insane’, later became ‘art brut’- art, outside of the mainstream. Later, the art critic, Roger Cardinal extended the classification to include ‘naive’, and even ‘folk art’.

Today, “Outsider Art” is still considered to be produced outside the mainstream of popular culture, schools, and galleries; but as a result of broad-based consumerism, connectivity, and educational policing - the mainstream has extended its boundaries far beyond the usual urban art centers.

In addition, the institutions that were once the bastions of standards have become status quo and diluted by self-preservation, under-qualification, and special interest funding.

The current conditions no longer support the intelligencia that once propelled the activism of avant garde movements which contributed to the progressive developments of Western Art.

As a result, the majority of ‘true’ artists have migrated away from the ‘art centers’ causing de-centralizing of topical debate and further contributing to the non-specific pluralism that continues to erode at the fabric of significant advancement in the arts.

The systems that were established to inform and provoke art collectors, critics, and the public of accomplishment and issues are outdated in their reliance upon limited resources within the art centers.

I’m suggesting that today’s ‘real insiders’, the people who still draw their inspiration from that small pool of traditions as the League of Giants that preceded them, have become the outsiders.

There’s little room or time in the flow of the modern western capitalism to include the delicate honing of art forms or the development of one’s own true voice [as Keith Jarrett would refer to it].

Trends designed to maintain audience interest, require quick turnover.

And the issues of the day are no longer ‘insider‘ secrets - they’re only a Google away - but the work that addresses those issues with the skills of ‘vocation’ have moved so far to the fringe for survival and sustainability, that they seem irrelevant - or at least inconvenient in their accessibility to the marketplaces.

The ‘outside’ has become the ‘inside’, or faint pulse, of what art needs to survive in this culture.

Next, we come to the questions of what ‘art’ really is in our culture, and what led to the changes we’ve come to accept. Stay tuned ...