Outsider Art is work produced outside the mainstream of modern art by self-taught, untrained visionaries, spiritualists, eccentric recluses, folk artists, psychiatric patients, criminals, and others beyond the imposed margins of society and the art market. Coined by Roger Cardinal in 1972, the term in English derived from Jean Dubuffet’s “art brut”—literally “raw art,” “uncooked” by culture, unaffected by fashion, unmoved by artistic standards. In this indispensable book Colin Rhodes surveys the history and reception of Outsider Art—first championed by Dubuffet and the Surrealists, now appreciated by a wide public—while providing insight into the achievements of both major figures and newly discovered artists. From spirit-guided Madge Gill to schizophrenic Adolf WÜlfli, these individuals passionately and obsessively pursue the pictorial expression of their vision.
Colin Rhodes is dean of Kingston School of Art, London. His previous books include Outsider Art: Spontaneous Alternatives and Primitivism and Modern Art.