Ed Nelson

Outsider

Here is a class of art for which a clear definition is not going to happen. Outsider is the broader name for artists who were not academically trained. This name, which was adopted when the market was in its infancy in the 1970s, helped distinguish it from the Folk Art market — which is also naïve and non-academic but generally from before the turn of the 19th/20th century.  So, Outsider is really a convenient but sometimes awkward market name where the artist’s roots, raw style, and innocent intent are inseparable. Like all emerging markets it’s also filled with wannabes hoping to be discovered as overnight sensations. As with all genre categories, the key remains having the ability to recognize authenticity, innovation, and significance.

Ed Nelson
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