The 28th annual New York edition of the Outsider Art Fair takes place January 16-19

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The 28th annual New York edition of the Outsider Art Fair takes place January 16-19
Atmosphere at the 2019 New York Edition of the Outsider Art Fair. Photo by Olya Vysotskaya, Wide Open Arts.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Outsider Art Fair takes place January 16-19, 2020 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street.) New features of the 2020 Fair include a redesigned floor plan and revamped café, various curated projects, special programs, and first-time exhibitors from Japan, India, Portugal, Canada, and various U.S. cities. Participating galleries in the 28th edition of the Fair include 65 exhibitors, representing 35 cities, from 10 countries, with 10 first-time galleries.

Among the first-timers are: ACM Gallery (Tokyo, Japan); Arushi Arts (New Delhi, India); bG Gallery (Santa Monica, CA); Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York, NY); Les Impatients (Montreal, Canada); Koelsch Gallery (Houston, TX); Kushino Terrace (Hiroshima, Japan); MANICÓMIO (Lisbon, Portugal), and Stephen Score (Beacon, MA).

The 2020 Fair’s Curated Spaces include:

The Hummingbird Paints Fragrant Songs: Sara Flores and Celia Vasquez Yui, an exhibition cocurated by Brett Littman (Director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York), and The Shipibo Conibo Center in West Harlem, New York. Both artists, Flores and Yui, live and work in a region of the Peruvian Amazon where the Shipibo indigenous peoples are struggling for their cultural and social survival against deforestation and oil and palm interests, which brutally encroach on collective land and lifeways. The work is spiritual and tied to indigenous wisdom and the healing ceremonies of local shamans. The intricate patterns in the works signify this deeper consciousness and also communicate a strong relationship with plants, the earth, and ecology. The work of both artists appeared in the film Icaros: A Vision (2016).

Relishing the Raw: Contemporary Artists Collecting Outsider Art, an exhibition curated by Paul Laster (writer, editor, independent curator, artist and lecturer), of Outsider Art collected by contemporary artists. Contemporary artists lending work from their collections include Polly Apfelbaum, Maurizio Cattelan, Nicole Eisenman, Jenny Holzer, Chris Martin, Nicolas Party, Julian Schnabel, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Terry Winters, and others. They are lending paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings by such notable self-taught artists as Vahakn Arslanian, Morton Bartlett, Hawkins Bolden, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, James Castle, Howard Finster, Lee Godie, William Hawkins, Daniel Johnston, Mary T. Smith, Janet Sobel, Miroslav Tichý, Mose Tolliver, Joseph Yoakum, and many more.

Special Projects at the 2020 Fair include:
A special project wall of 500 “bogus cinderella” postage stamps—stamps created for fictitious states to declare their existence, but which hold no postage value—is curated by Laura Steward (Curator of Public Art at the University of Chicago). The stamps offer a unique glimpse into an alternative United Nations of 25 “bogus” states. They are largely drawn from the former collection of Jim Czyl (1947 - 2014), who wrote the “Cinderella Scene” column in Linn’s Stamp News from 1982 until his death.

From the Perspective of a Child is an exhibition of artworks from the permanent collection of the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA), which houses over 2,000 artworks by child artists from over 50 countries. The CMA permanent collection sheds light on children’s art and ideas from a broad range of eras and regions by providing windows into how children have seen and represented their world in specific historical, social, regional, and national contexts. On view are selected pieces from the Kuniyoshi Collection, a portion of CMA’s permanent collection representing young artists who participated in the Federal Art Project (FAP), part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created in the 1930s. The FAP offered free arts education to people of all ages. In concept and function, this open-door policy promoted the arts as a valuable element of society and an activity to which every individual should have access.

OAF Talks:
OAF Talks continue in 2020 with a program organized and moderated by Bill Arning (curator and contemporary art advisor), Just Don’t Call It Practice!, which deals with the professionalization of art and its ramifications for our culture. It will address the market realities, language, and criticism that can make artists less adventurous, while considering the way that Outsider Artists tend to be less concerned with critics, curators, collectors, and other art-world conventions. Participants include Marilyn Minter (artist), Lonnie Holley (artist), and Laura Hoptman (Executive Director, The Drawing Center). The talk takes place Tuesday, January 14, at 6:30pm at the New Museum.

Ace Hotel Programming:
A site-specific installation by artist and poet Frederick Weston titled Frederick Weston: Blue Bedroom Blues will be on view at Ace Hotel New York from January 15 through February 5, 2020. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Outsider Art Fair and is curated by Gordon Robichaux, NY. For Weston’s immersive installation, the walls of the gallery are painted entirely in the artist’s signature blue, within which he has installed a series of his intimate paper collages from 1999 and a large multi-panel artwork created specifically for the exhibition. In the center of the gallery, Weston transforms a bench with a fabric cover that suggests a bed. Weston previously lived in the Breslin, which is now the site of Ace Hotel New York. Weston’s Blue Bedroom Blues brings his life and work full circle. The Blue Bedroom Ballads/Blue Bathroom Blues series is inspired by Weston’s experience living with HIV. This exhibition coincides with another that includes Weston's work, titled Souls Grown Diaspora at apexart in New York, opening January 10, curated by Sam Gordon.

Additional Outsider Art Fair programming at Ace Hotel New York includes a 45-minute interactive performance by Harley J. Spiller, “The Re-mark-able Pencil,” exploring the history of human marking. To accompany the performance, Harley is preparing a 350-word essay, handwritten in pencil, which will be available as a limited edition zine. Harley J. Spiller is an artist and museum worker focused on singing for the unsung. He currently serves as the first Ken Dewey Director of the legendary avant-garde arts organization Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

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