Press Release  March 22, 2018

Wisconsin Outsider Art Finds Recognition at Intuit

Courtesy Intuit

Prophet William J. Blackmon (American, 1921-2010). The Family Path of the Whole Earth to Heaven, n.d.  Latex and enamel paint on plywood. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the artist. M1988.179

Chicago -- Chicago, a long-time hub for outsider art, need only look slightly north to find a strong, like-minded neighbor. With museums, galleries, residents and collectors supporting numerous art environments, roadside attraction sites and art grottos, the state of Wisconsin has proven a fertile home to a number of self-taught creatives. The permeation of an interest in outsider art and its crossing of literal and figurative borders is the impetus for To Be Seen and Heard, opening at Intuit in March.

On view March 23-June 17, 2018, To Be Seen and Heard brings attention to five frequently under-recognized Wisconsin artists: Prophet William J. Blackmon, Josephus Farmer, Simon Sparrow, Albert Zahn and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. These artists, who were preachers, environment builders and multi-media experimenters, created works, not in isolation, but, instead, “to be seen and heard." Oftentimes using public spaces or the facades of their own homes and churches as canvas, these artists expressed to the world their ideas and personal visions. “There is a common perception that outsider artists don’t seek recognition for their work, but these five artists provide evidence to the contrary,” said Tim Bruce, co-curator of the exhibition.

To Be Seen and Heard features nearly 50 paintings, photographs, sculptures and reliefs. From the signs and religious imagery of Prophet J. Blackmon and Josephus Farmer to the mixed media constructions of Simon Sparrow to the carvings of Albert Zahn and paintings and photographs by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, the exhibition highlights the important contribution these artists have made to the art sphere. “It has been rare to see more than a single example of these artists in major exhibitions. It is our contention that all are worthy of critical acclaim and deserve a larger examination of their body of work. Our intention is to awaken the field’s interest in and understanding of these five artists through this show,” said co-curator Matt Arient.


Established in 1991, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is one of the premier museums of outsider and self-taught art in the world, offering exhibitions; resources for scholars and students; a permanent collection of more than 1,200 works of art; the Henry Darger Room Collection; the Robert A. Roth Study Center, a non-circulating collection with a primary focus in the fields of outsider and contemporary self-taught art; and educational programming for people of all interest levels and backgrounds.

Intuit is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; and Monday school holidays. More information at


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