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Outsider Art

"Outsider Art" is work produced outside the mainstream of modern art by self-taught visionaries, spiritualists, eccentrics, recluses, psychiatric patients, criminals, and others beyond the perceived margins of society. Coined in 1972 the term is derived from 'art brut', which the artist Jean Dubuffet began promoting just after the Second World War. Both focus on the idea of a 'raw', untaught creativity, which is still a contentious and much-debated issue. Is this a natural phenomenon, requiring only the right circumstances (isolation or alienation) to be revealed; or is it more like a mirage projected by the very culture it is supposed to be escaping from? Behind the polemic and the commercial hype lies a cluster of assumptions about creative drives, the expression of inner worlds, radical originality, and the artist's social or psychological eccentricity. Although "Outsider Art" is often presented as a recent discovery, these ideas belong to a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance, when the modern image of the artist began to take shape. If Outsiders are in some way 'outside' the conventional art world, what happens to them, and to the works they create, when they are introduced to it? David Maclagan has been writing on "Outsider Art" for over twenty-five years, and this book sets out to challenge much of the received ideas in the field. "Outsider Art: From the Margins to the Marketplace" will be of interest to the growing number of people interested in the field of Outsider Art, and all those studying concepts of artistic creativity and their cultural background.
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About the Author

David Maclagan is an artist, art therapist and university lecturer based in Yorkshire. He has published numerous articles on Outsider art, art therapy and image-based psychology, and is the author of Creation Myths: Man's Introduction to the World (1977), and Psychological Aesthetics: Painting, Feeling and Making Sense (2001).


To celebrate publication of Outsider Art, James Maclagan will be in discussion with James Brett, the curator of the Museum of Everything, at the ICA on 10th February 2010, with Jarvis Cocker as fellow panelist. 'The author guides the reader through this complex debate, building up the historical background and investigating the growth of psychological ideas and psychiatric therapies during the 20th century. His analysis includes an introduction to the principles of art brut as defined by Dubuffet, the evolution of public appreciation, the role of collectors, and the impact of these developments on the artists themselves.' - The Art Newspaper 'a thoughtful, informative and well-researched analysis of an area of art that defies easy classification or study ... he shows that in the struggle for understanding of this complex and contradictory genre there is much to learn about art from the outside edge, and through it, understanding of the art that resides in the mainstream centre.' - The Art Book

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