Fair  January 15, 2018  Barbara Basbanes Richter

Outsider Art Fair Returns to New York City

Courtesy of Portrait Society.

Bernard Gilardi, Life is Good, 1976, oil on panel.

It’s always hip to be an outsider, especially when we’re talking about art. So, mark your calendars for the Outsider Art Fair (OAF) which returns to New York City for the 26th year in a row from January 19th through the 21st. This year the OAF welcomes artists from all walks of life to submit a piece or two to the Fair.

Also known as art brut, outsider art is many things, but often includes a rawness unconcerned with academic rules or trends in the art market. French artist Jean Dubuffet recognized outsider art back in 1947 as “works produced by persons unscathed by artistic culture, where mimicry plays little or no part (contrary to the activities of intellectuals).”

Courtesy of Luise Ross.

Bill Traylor, Untitled (man pointing), n.d., 12 x 8 in, showcard color on cardboard.

Founded in 1993, the OAF focuses on self-taught, off-the-grid artists like Helen Rae, ACM and M’onma, as well as work by the likes of Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, and William Edmundson.

Though originally held in Midtown, the OAF moved to Chelsea in 2012 when it was acquired by Wide Open Arts company. The move was successful, and the fair received rave reviews, tripling previous attendance records. The OAF traveled to Paris in 2013 and helped revive that city’s tradition of championing self-taught artists. In October the OAF celebrated five years of exhibiting in the City of Lights.

Courtesy of Lindsay Gallery

Damian Valdes Dilla, Untitled, 2016, pen on paper, 19.5 x 27.5 in.

This year, on the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, the OAF is presenting an open call booth called Onward, where all artists are welcome to contribute any work of art that shares a vision of the future of women. Considered on a first come, first served basis, all work will be priced at $400, of which artists receive 50% commission on any piece sold. (See submission guidelines here.) Interested parties have until January 15th to participate.

Encompassing 63 galleries, with artists hailing from 35 cities and seven countries, the OAF will take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in New York. Come see what all the excitement is about--admission starts at $25. Tickets may be purchased here.

About the Author

Barbara Basbanes Richter

Barbara Basbanes Richter writes for Fine Books & Collections magazine and Art & Object. She’s also a professional ghostwriter.