Outsider Art Museum - Showcasing a Unique Genre

Outsider Art is a very intriguing genre of art work with no specific outline or boundary. What is outsider art? It is an English equivalent for Art Brut, which represents all works that are original and unique in form and content, something that had been unknown to the former Soviet Union before 1989. Later it was connected to a wide array of works including some from the "Neuve Invention" category. It is all artwork forms, for instance paintings, graphics, sculptures, installations and various constructions by people who have no artistic training or background. These artists are not bound by the acceptance of the artistic world, marketplace or definitions, infact they don't recognize themselves as artists. They produce art for themselves personally or for their community for no profit.

The Outsider Art Museum or Humanitarian Center is an organization whose main aim is to collect and exhibit Outsider Art. In seven years they have collected over 1000 artworks. Their first exhibition, in 1989, was of artwork from mentally ill artists and was a huge success. The idea was to awaken the public to the plight of the disabled and the mentally ill. From there the Museum collected and exhibited artwork from only artists with diagnosed mental disorders. Later they spread out, collecting an array of Outsider artwork to display. There were several parts to the collection consisting of works in the Neuve Invention category, the examples of Outsider Art, Marginal Art, Naive art and Art of the insane. For the last six years over thirty exhibitions have been held in different cities of the former USSR. For instance, Kiev, Tallin, Riga, Alma-Ata, St.Petersburg, Moscow as well as places abroad like Munich, Dusseldorf, Lima, Geneva, San Francisco, Nicosia, Budapest, Sofia and Luxembourg, have all enjoyed Outsider art exhibitions.

The first Russian Museum of Outsider Art was established in 1996, since then it has grown to over seven hundred pieces. In 2000 the collection moved to a new permanent premises in the Izmailovsky region in Moscow. It remains a museum dedicated totally to the collection and exhibition of Outsider Art in Russia. Interestingly, with the history of Outsider Art being associated with mentally ill people, the outsiders of our society, it is hard not to connect or recognize this artwork specifically to them. This does not mean that all artwork produced by a mentally ill person is recognized as outsider work though.

 



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