|Martina Kubelk, untitled, polaroid 10,5 x 10,5 cm, 1988-1995, Courtesy Delmes & Zander / Galerie Susanne Zander|
Art brut joins market frenzy
Michèle Laird on the art market frenzy around Art Brut, on Galerie Susanne Zander, Type 42 & Martina Kubelk
As art brut hits a popularity high and finds its way into contemporary art museums and galleries, experts and collectors debate on the dangers of success and the strategies to still find new art brut artists. (...)
Whereas art brut museums (see list) tend to remain outside the art mainstream, galleries are doing everything they can to get in. They need to sell, after all.
For the past 25 years, Cologne gallery owner, Susanne Zander, has been a tireless discoverer of art brut, which she considers should be appreciated alongside contemporary art. She and her gallery partner, Nicole Delmes, like to borrow the term “conceptual outsiders” from NY Times critic, Roberta Smith, to describe the conceptual mono-manias of artists who work obsessively in single mediums, creating a complete world of their own with their art.
Zander suggested in a phone interview that outsider art is gaining ground in response to the virtualization of the world. “In a digital era, people are searching for roots, for authenticity” she said, adding that she spends more than half her time searching for art that she qualifies as strange.
“You can show me 1’000 works, and I’ll immediately be able to single out the important ones,” she said.“The stranger the work, the greater the possibility for me to step inside and see the world from the perspective of the artist, even if only for a few moments,” Zander said.
Judging by the artists they show, Zander and Delmes have a penchant that goes beyond art brut, if we are to look at the highly erotic fantasies of William Crawford, a San Francisco prisoner in the 1990s (see on Joshua Bellow’s art blog) or their upcoming show dedicated to an anonymous cross dresser who photographed himself over seven years under the identity of Martina Kubelk: Clothes – Lingerie.
An intense solitude is perhaps the common point between the individuals who used artistic expression to escape into the worlds they created.
Other examples include Horst Ademeit’s “secret universe”, which is revealed through the obsessive documenting of his surroundings, or the Polaroids of TV stars by the mysteriously identified Type 42 (Anonymous), whose work has just been acquired by the Elysée museum.
A collection of 950 Polaroid’s by an unidentified author was discovered in New York in the Spring of 2012. Probably taken between 1969 and 1972, the fleeting moments of television and movie stars -captured before the advent of video – indicate the obsessive nature of the photographer. The Elysée Photography Museum in Lausanne has recently made an important purchase from the collection, further blurring the frontiers between outsider and established art.
In Zander’s view, there hasn’t been a significant shift in the art market; her collectors are still the same as before. She notes, however, “that the public is much more interested”. Outsider art should not be treated differently, she insists: “It doesn’t belong on dark walls.”
Read the complete article HERE!
ART-FOLIO by Michèle Laird
|Type 42 (Anonymous), untitled (ALI MACGRAW), polaroid 8,3 x 10,8 cm, Courtesy Delmes & Zander / Galerie Susanne Zander|