Monthly Archives: June 2017

Ngaphandle – Part One

Edward M. Gómez on Outsider Art from Sinnlicht on Vimeo.

Definitions?!

RAW VISION : The controversy surrounding the exact definition of Outsider Art and allied fields has been going on ever since awareness of the phenomenon began so here we try to clarify the different aspects.

Essay offers sub-divisions without defining the term itself.

Outsider Art Fair: Over the years, the parameters of Outsider Art have expanded dramatically to include art made by a wide variety of art-makers who share this common denominator of raw creativity. Outsiders come from all walks of life, from all cultures, from all age groups. In recent years, Outsider Artists may have even come to outnumber Insider Artists who have achieved critical validation within the elite art world, and yet who speak with increasingly less clarity and relevance to us about the human experience.

It seems to me obvious that there are more self-trained artists than there are academically trained artists.

Huffington Post 11/20/2014 10 Outsider And Self-Taught Artists Who Use Art To Create Their Own Worlds: The term “outsider art” was first used by art historian Roger Cardinal in 1972 to loop together art made by people living with certain disabilities, as well as those living on the outskirts of society. Unlike most other art movements, outsider artists don’t have much in common besides straying from the norm. They work in different media, throughout different times and places, without shared assumptions or aesthetic styles.

In fact, most outsider artists have or had no idea they would be categorized as such — or even that their art would be seen by someone other than themselves. Therein lies the conundrum — is a celebration of outsider art redemptive tribute or exploitation?

In “How to Look at Outsider Art,” Lyle Rexer defines the tricky genre as “the work of people who are institutionalized or psychologically compromised according to standard clinical norms.” This definition was amended to include those enduring an altered state of consciousness — whether from marginalization or incarceration. “Self-taught art” is a category that often overlaps with outsider art, referencing artwork made without schooling that strays from the norms and styles of the time.

Christie’s : ‘Outsider Art is perhaps a catch-all term,’ explains Christie’s specialist Cara Zimmerman. ‘I tend to classify it as art made by people who weren’t working within the artistic establishment.’

In the United States, she says, the material stems from a folk-art tradition. Most Outsider artists received no formal training and were influenced by pop culture and the world around them rather than other mainstream artists.

The Atlantic The Rise of Self-Taught Artists. Out is the new in. : For an artist to be considered an outsider, he or she must first be brought inside the professional art world by an insider.

Huffington Post 1/30/15 What Is The Meaning Of Outsider Art? The Genre With A Story, Not A Style: There are various ways to make sense of outsider art as a genre. Roberta Smith calls it “a somewhat vague, catchall term for self-taught artists of any kind.“ Lyle Rexer defines it as “the work of people who are institutionalized or psychologically compromised according to standard clinical norms” or “created under the conditions of a massively altered state of consciousness, product of an unquiet mind.” Jerry Saltz argues it doesn’t exist at all, except as a discriminatory boundary preventing untrained artists from their rightful places in the canon.

Artsy – About Outsider Art: A label applied to artworks that have little connection with the art world or are created by people with no formal art training. The term is also applied to artworks by people with psychiatric disabilities and others on the margins of society. However, as more and more examples have been exhibited and subsumed into the historical canon, some have argued that the ‘outsider’ label should be retired.

Hyperallergic. What Does “Outsider Artist” Even Mean?: In a blog post from 2007, dealer Edward Winkleman discusses the issue of intent and his changing perceptions of outsider art:

Being the stubborn loggerhead I am, I can’t get myself unstuck from an assumption about the importance of intent in art. Especially intent with regard to communicating.

Taken to its logical extremes in our debate, however, this assumption has led me to conclude that the work of Henry Darger, for example, is not “Art” because (or so it’s been reported) he had no intention of ever showing it to anyone, meaning it was not created with the intent of communicating anything with anyone, and that then made it something other than “Art.”

Now I can look at Darger’s work and feel my jaw involuntarily drop. I can marvel at the vision. I can delight at the composition and especially the color. But because I know (or think I know) these works were the result of a masturbatory effort, they don’t meet my own definition of fine art, which goes beyond just intent to communicate to include what bnon called, in the thread on child prodigies yesterday, the act of “submerging [one]self in art history as well as surveying the contemporary field and carving out a niche.

Jerry Saltz on the Outsider Art Fair — and Why There’s No Such Thing As ‘Outsider’ Art: Which brings us to the the horrible Rubicon that still separates so-called “outsider,” “self-taught,” and “visionary” art from institutionally sanctioned official art. Now that even immigration reform can happen, it’s time for MoMA — and all museums — to integrate “outsider art” into their permanent collections and erase that distinction for good. They need to allow these artists to take their rightful places in the canon. In addition to the artists mentioned above, visionaries like Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wolfli, Martin Rameirez, Minnie Evans, John Kane, Clementine Hunter, Hector Hyppolite, and others must be integrated into the canon. At the Fair, there’s a 1939–1942 town scene by one of the greatest “outsiders” of them all, Bill Traylor, that would easily compare with any Picasso from the same period. Or, indeed, any artist.

With this outmoded discrimination still in place, the story of art is woefully misrepresentative — a lie, even. Millions of viewers and thousands of nascent artists are being denied the chance to see some of the best work made in the last 100 years simply because it was once decided that to be an artist meant having had pre-approved training. It’s a self-perpetuating false distinction…

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, creative captures, cultural contradictions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Discrete Charms

Admit something:
everyone you see, you say to them: “love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud; otherwise
someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon
in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in the world is dying to hear?

(Hafiz)

Thus Adam might have called the animals “by their own names” in two senses. Either he gave them the names that, by some extralinguistic right, were already due them, or he gave them those names we still use on the basis of a convention initiated by Adam. In other words, the names Adam gave the animals are either the names that each animal intrinsically ought to have been given or simply the names that the Name Giver arbitrarily and ad placitum decided to give them. (Umberto Eco, Serendipities, Language and Lunacy)

Natalie Johnson Dance presents: AGEN, Sunday 1:30pm, March 2017 from Natalie Johnson Dance on Vimeo.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in creative captures, cultural contradictions, philosophy, psychological anthropology, Religion | Tagged | Leave a comment

Visual Thinking Strategy

A VTS Discussion with First Grade Students from Visual Thinking Strategies on Vimeo.

(source) In his 1997 article Thoughts on Visual Literacy, Philip Yenawine describes visual literacy as:

“…the ability to find meaning in imagery. It involves a set of skills ranging from simple identification (naming what one sees) to complex interpretation on contextual, metaphoric and philosophical levels. Many aspects of cognition are called upon, such as personal association, questioning, speculating, analyzing, fact-finding, and categorizing. Objective understanding is the premise of much of this literacy, but subjective and affective aspects of knowing are equally important.”

The three fundamental questions of Visual Thinking Strategy:

VTS

Abigail Housen and, later partnered with Yenawine, structure a theory of development around the experience of art. It has become popular as a basis for pedagogy in some schools, in many museums, and, as a foundational practice for art teachers and docents. (See: VTS Basic Manual: Learning To Think And Communicate Through Art; Housen, and Theory into Practice: The Visual Thinking Strategies, Yenawine. The latter article is available at VTShome.

VTS is very close to being in alignment with my own artmaking ethos, except it is missing the body. The body in this case is the viewing subject.

Here are four questions that could restore the body in the process of aesthetic inquiry:

(1) What do your findings feel like as emotions?

(2) What do your findings feel like in your body?

(3) Characterize your sense of your own experience?

(4) What are you doing to understand your experience?

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in art, artists, experiential learning, my research, psychology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Speed Factors and Bell Curves

FreePlay June 11_5052

They, the Free Play assembly, refers to me as ‘Cap’ or Commish, and, it was Kolb who dubbed me the ‘handicapper.’ I’ve been making the Sunday morning line-up out since the season of 2004. As I have had occasion to remind people, the handicapping task goes along with a leadership task I obtained in 2004 by also taking over the on and off season care of the equipment.

For my own part, I consider myself additionally to be the one who fulfills the roles, variously and often situationally deployed, of peacemaker, group therapist, herald, dictator, pastoral counselor, and parent.

Most of the players take me completely for granted. This is okay simply because I am also in the role of researcher, and this is best done under the radar. This season I have asked for help and so Free Play Softball has implemented a council of elders.

Last Sunday I became upset. It happens. Sometimes handicapper is confused with the projection of being a fixer or the softball equal of a button man. In truth, I attempt to forge a close game, and better than half the time I am successful. Other times what I term principal dynamic factors have their negative way, and these help make the outliers of the Bell Curve. These factors reflect one well known truism and another statistical nuance. The truism is that the team that fields the ball better gains a substantial advantage. Almost all the runs in our games are unearned. Players tend to overrate their fielding ability, yet, as handicapper, almost everybody is inconsistent, and is rated as such.

The other factor is that the better hitters regress to the mean more dynamically than the mediocre hitters. The hitter who hits three out of four with power falls farther on a hitless day than a hitter who hits 2 out of 4 and rarely hits for an extra base. This is to state a nuance of performance that cannot be anticipated before it happens: the handful of excellent hitters are sometimes inconsistent, and when a good hitter has a bad day, this regression hurts the team’s chances more than the milder regression of the more often encountered underperformance of the mediocre hitter.

My handicapping theory is to spread out the fielding and the good hitters. This is my theory of equity–as a handicapper.

Oh yeah I became upset when one of my elder colleagues suggested I had favored my team with faster players. This perception was incorrect, but, when the criticism was accompanied by the player’s sense that I had concocted a probable rout, I became sharply angry for a moment. Tell me what you do not like about my line-up making, but don’t imply I am purposely undermining equity. The games are decided on the field.

Anyway, the purportedly slower team won in a rout driven by, yup, several great hitter’s off day at the plate on the losing team. I have made out the line-up for over 300 games. Roughly 70% have been decided by 4 runs or less.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in play | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Whirling Around World Events

Whirling Dervishes Istanbul from John Cummins on Vimeo.

All the saints and sages have said evil deeds
become a dark hole which encloses the evil doer.
The worse the doer’s deed, the darker is the hole.
You may intend to snare someone else,
but you’re digging that pit for yourself to fall down.
Watch out! Don’t dig too deep.
Be soft earth so that you may sprout folwers of many colors.
You’ve been a jagged rock for years.
Just once–as an experiment–be earth!

(Rumi)

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in adult learning, Religion, self-knowledge, sufism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tubular Transmissions

I really like the rumored-to-be-cancelled Netflix series, Sense8. As we finish catching up with season one, it strikes me that the saturated globe trotting opening sequence provides a nifty psychological priming for what follows: a transcendental thriller, created by The Wachowskis, J. Michael Straczynski, and Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski.

The series explores the aging sci-fi trope: evolutionary advances are to be punished and eliminated by the regressive powers given by consensus, convention and everyday jeopardies. Unfortunately, the series adheres to the biases of the film modality that favors the regressive working through of this conflict in violent ways. Still, with eight international principle roles split between men and women, the show’s recombinations of its cast for the sake of plotting the advance of egalitarian and social justice themes, even if these are contracted to the scale of the various relationships of the sense eight.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in creative captures | Tagged , | Leave a comment