Outsider Art Fair, New York

January 19–22, 2017

Hours: Thursday, VIP Early Access 2–6pm; Vernissage 6–9pm

Friday–Saturday: 11am–8pm; Sunday: 11am–6pm

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, N.Y.


Garrol Garden, Untitled, 2016. Mixed Media on Paper, 18 x 26 inches. Courtesy of LAND Gallery. This piece will be exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair.

The Outsider Art Fair is the original fair dedicated to self-taught art created outside the mainstream. Well known for its maverick spirit, the fair has played a vital role in building a passionate collecting community and has expanded the awareness and recognition of Art Brut, Folk, and Outsider Art in the art scene. Attendance to this event has boomed within the last few years, attracting art enthusiasts and experienced collectors alike. Sixty galleries in total, including eight first-time exhibitors will attend the fair this year for its 25th anniversary edition. In response to growing interest, the fair opened an October show in Paris, France

John Martin, Untitled, 2015. Pen on found paper, 9 x 12 inches. Courtesy of Creative Growth Art Center. This piece will be exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair.
Carlo Zinelli, Untitled, 1968-69. Tempera on paper, 27.6 x 19.7 inches. Courtesy of Maroncelli 12. This piece will be exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair.

Jean Dubuffet coined the term art brut (meaning “raw art”) when he used it as the category name of his 1947 manifesto-driven exhibition in Paris. He defined art brut, saying, "We understand by this term works produced by persons unscathed by artistic culture, where mimicry plays little or no part (contrary to the activities of intellectuals). These artists derive everything…from their own depths, and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art."


The idea of “outsider art” was coined a little later, by British art historian Roger Cardinal in his 1972 book of the same name. Cardinal and Dubuffet were referring to artists who were extremely marginalized: the psychotics, mediums and eccentrics of society. Though this definition led to a misconception that Outsider Art is essentially pathological, in reality, the central common thread shared by Outsiders is their fundamental lack of conditioning by art history or art world trends.

George Widener, Tiger N' Madge, 2013. Ink on paper, 68 x 48 inches. Offered by Ricco Maresca, who will exhibit at the Outsider Art Fair.

Works by some of the most influential Outsider Artists will be on view at the fair. George Widener, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 50, incorporates his extraordinary abilities into his art by complementing his drawings with lists of statistics and historical facts recalled from memory. William Hawkin could barely read or write, but he transformed words into powerful visual elements, often through elaborate borders. Martin Ramirez was institutionalized after being diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic. A visiting professor of psychology and art discovered Ramirez’s drawings and collages created at DeWitt State Hospital in Sacramento.

Bill Traylor, Black Bear, circa 1939-1942. Poster paint and graphite on cardboard, 15.25 x 11.25 inches. Offered by Just Folk, who will exhibit at the Outsider Art Fair.
William L. Hawkins, Neptune Pool San Simeon, 1986. Enamel and collage, 49.02 x 31.01 inches. Offered by Ricco Maresca, who will exhibit at the Outsider Art Fair.

Bill Traylor’s expressive drawings were all created during his eighties over a span of five years, yet he is one of the most celebrated Outsider Artists of all time. Thornton Dial attended school only through the fourth grade, and did iron and cement work for a living. Completely self-taught, he expressed his deep convictions concerning racial, religious, and social values through his sculptural objects and works on paper. Purvis Young grew up in a violent, poverty-stricken, derelict neighborhood of Miami. He spent three years in prison for a breaking and entering charge before teaching himself how to create his own works of art, and applied his personal world views to his paintings and collages of found materials.

JJ Cromer, Untitled. Courtesy of American Primitive Gallery. This piece will be exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair.
John Holcomb, Apricot Afternoon Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 2016, 50 x 33 in. Courtesy of Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery. This piece will be exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair.

The Outside Art Fair will continue to celebrate the diverse backgrounds and nationalities of the artists presented. Among the highlights of this year’s offerings are works by First Nation aboriginal and native Canadian artists offered by Macaulay & Co., works by Japanese artists from Yukiko Koide Presents, tribal art from India at Hervé Perdroille, aboriginal art displayed by Rebecca Hossack, and Brazilian ex-votos from Mariposa Unusual Art. New York’s Cuban Art Center will debut their exhibition this year at the show as well.


Nine exhibitors from the very first Outsider Art Fair in 1993 will be exhibiting again this year, including American Primitive Gallery, Ricco Maresca Gallery, Luise Ross, Cavin Morris, Garl Hammer, Marlon Harris, Fleisher / Ollman, Henry Boxer, and Gilley’s Gallery. Hirshl & Adler Galleries, Just Folk, Steven S. Powers Works of Art & Americana, and other leading dealers from across the United States. International galleries will represent Haiti, Austria, UK, Belgium, Italy, and France.


Outsider Artists come from all walks of life, cultures, and age groups, and now, they may even outnumber Insider Artists. They bring an entirely new perspective and vision as they create works of art that are free from the influence of others. These artists continue to challenge and redefine the boundaries of what we see as art. The Outsider Art Fair in New York is the perfect setting to gain insight into the minds of these talented artists, and see the world in a different light. Located at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York, tickets start at $20 and are available online. To learn more about the Outsider Art Fair, call 212.337.3338 or visit www.outsiderartfair.com.

Click here to view a collection of Outsider Artist Bill Traylor.