amanda (swingfeline) wrote,

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Outsider Art

My brother is showing his paintings this weekend in a show here in NYC called the Outsider Art Expo, which celebrates artists outside the mainstream: self-taught, visionary, perhaps struggling with a disability or mental illness (schizo-affective and manic-depressive disorders, in my brother's case). He was accepted into the show via the Fountain Gallery here in NY, which works with artists who have mental illness, and in addition to the two paintings shown at the Expo, he has four more being shown at the Fountain Gallery starting this weekend.

This is a big coup for him and an avenue into the New York art world, but he's wrought with anxiety over it because of the pressure my mom is putting on him about it. She sent an email out to about 75 people telling them to show up at the Fountain Gallery today during the open house, and now he's afraid he's going to have to "make a good impression" on my mom's so-called important friends. It's bullshit. She's being ridiculous and we convinced him as much last night, we hope.

Anyway, we all went to see the Outsider show yesterday: my dad came down from upstate (sadly without Marsha as she fell down the stairs last weekend and fractured a bone in her knee), my mom and Jim from Nantucket (thankfully not staying with us), and Darren's parents came out from New Jersey. The show was amazing and really inspiring; the work felt honest and from the heart, unlike most of the contemporary BS I see out there that's cynical, commercial, and frankly, contrived. Seth's work was by far the best in the Fountain Gallery booth; the gallery owner told us he had hung Seth's painting first as the centerpiece of the collection. That made me really proud. Seth said he was amazed and inspired by the rest of the work at the show, and he felt his work didn't even start to hold up against most of it.

The really exciting thing about the show (besides my brother being in it!) is that I bought my first piece of art by a non-family member. There was a booth there from an arts center called Creative Growth in Oakland, CA. It's a day program where disabled and mentally ill people go to make art, and the work was truly amazing. The piece I bought is a drawing by an autistic man named Dan Miller, and it's a jumbled collection of words and writing that reflects his state of mind; he repeats colors, foods, and drinks in his work. I was immediately drawn to this piece (not shown on the page I linked to) and I'm very excited to own it and hang it. Not to mention that it's a great investment because his work will only go up in value; he was featured in a drawing show at MoMA here in NY last year.

So today we go up to the gallery for the open house and hopefully it won't live up to my brother's anxieties and fears. He's dealing surprisingly well with all of this and I'm really proud of him.
Tags: art, outsider art expo, seth
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