Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: outsider art


International Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles


The cartoon is from the Daily Mirror, 6 January 1967. In an art gallery, a man is pinned to the wall inside a picture frame. The caption underneath reads ‘… and then I thought to myself, what can I put in the exhibition this year?’ It’s a lame joke. But it seemed fitting in this extraordinary exhibition, in which intense blooms of sensation were prised from their original habitats and transplanted into the subdued environment of an art gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

Frames of Reference

In recent years, the work of self-taught artists has come to be contextualized within larger narratives of contemporary art. How is Outsider Art best understood and what does this definition mean when ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ become blurred? How does it relate to fraught issues of education and exclusion, originality and exploitation? Jonathan Griffin invited Robert GoberMatthew HiggsPaul Laffoley and David Maclagan to discuss these questions.

John Hiltunen, Untitled, 2012, collage, 30 × 21 cm

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A Century of Art by Self-Taught and Outsider Artists

by Charles Russell; Prestel, New York

Some call it outsider art; others prefer self-taught. Still others insist on distinguishing between folk art and naïve art, or the less pejorative terms vernacular art and visionary art. Then there’s Art Brut, Neuve Invention and art therapy. Confusion and disagreement have come to reign over this fervently debated world. Charles Russell’s authoritative new survey attempts to clear up some of the muddle. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything But

The Museum of Everything opened in London in 2009. Describing itself as ‘a space for artists and creators outside modern society’, it was popular with the general public and the critical press. However, its presentation of what is often termed ‘outsider art’ is, argues Jonathan Griffin, ethically problematic and curatorially irresponsible. The fourth incarnation of The Museum of Everything opens in September 2011 in Selfridges department store, London.

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