Primitive Art ~ Naive Outsider Folk Art Brut ~ Art History Show
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This is a powerpoint presentation about Primitive Art, which consists of Folk, Naïve and Outsider Art (called Art Brut in France). To best assess this presentation, download the preview, which contains 20 actual slides.
1) PRIMITIVE ART BULLET POINTS
These art forms used to be easier to separately classify than they are today. Folk, Naïve and Outsider Art were much more easily spotted as one or the other.
They are so overlapping by 2016 that it is becoming more common to see all of them next to an artist’s name. Howard Finster, for example, now often has this after his name and work: folk art, outsider art, naive art.
The one thing they are unified about is that they all consider themselves full practicing artists, just like their counterparts in the mainstream art world.
Mentally ill and Prisoner artists are now cropping up in every category but Folk Art.
Perhaps the tendency to call all of these movements the universal “Primitives” and the movement “Primitivism” will ultimately be the solution.
2) NAIVE ART BULLET POINTS
Naïve art is done by artists who are not traditionally trained. It is popular and well collected.
It is simply done and, in some cases, can verge on the childlike.
Modernists who are tired of the art world find this kind of art refreshing, especially since the artists sincerely love doing their art and do not fit into the celebrity art world mold.
Henri Rousseau is the most famous artist in this category. He was self taught and the simple verging on childlike regularly appears in his work.
Naïve art, also spelled naïf art, is also referred to as modern primitives. The category also overlaps with what is called outsider art, or in France Art Brut.
Children’s art, prisoners and mentally ill patients are frequently classed here.
These artists are not hobbyists or amateurs. They are passionately devoted to art, as much or more so than mainstream artists.
Naïve art is usually very detailed with brilliant, highly saturated colors. It often lacks perspective, which creates a floating effect with the figures.
3) OUTSIDER ART BULLET POINTS
Roger Cardinal, an art critic, in 1972 came up with the term Outsider Art. The French had already named it Art Brut ("raw art" or "rough art”) via French artist Jean Dubuffet.
Both terms meant artists who have little contact with the mainstream art world or its institutions. They are likely outside of any conventional mainstream.
Outsider Art enlarged to include quite a bit more than Art Brut had ever contemplated and it is still expanding.
The subject matter is often the expression of extreme mental states or fantasy worlds.
4) FOLK ART BULLET POINTS
Folk art used to be crafts and decorative arts associated with peasant or indigenous cultures.
This linking to a specific cultural subset is the main thing separating it from the other movements listed here. This requirement is fast fading though.
Today folk art includes practical and decorative art-craft items. The items included broadened significantly.
Folk art exists within traditional society but its artists are not usually professionally trained.
The American Folk Art Museum in New York City makes no cultural reference to its art. It defines its art and artists as self taught and uses no other criteria. There is no mention of peasant or indigenous cultures.
5) ARTIST PROFILE: THE ULTIMATE OUTSIDER
FRIEDRICH SCHRODER-SONNENSTERN, 1892-1982, had the most colorful past of all of these artists. As a child, he was sent to reform schools because of thefts and violence.
Then he was sent to an asylum because he was thought to have Dementia Praecox, a deteriorating psychotic disorder with rapid cognitive disintegration, which occurs in the late teens. He didn’t have it but these experiences made him hate authority, which was ideal for this art form.
He came to Berlin in 1919 after a stint with the circus. He took up occultism, divination and healing magnetism. This was so he could found a sect. He created his name Sonnenstern (English: Sun Star) while being a con-artist. He was an alternative medicine quack doctor and called himself Professor Dr. Eliot Gnass von Sonnenstern.
He came to art late, in 1942. By 1959, at the Surrealist exposition in Paris, he was considered a leading artist. Jean Dubuffet and others were very impressed by him.
However, when his long time companion, Martha, died in 1964, he began a descent into alcoholism.
Schröder Sonnenstern's paintings are usually disturbing. Some are erotic while others are monstrous. His disturbing figures are part human and part monster. They have distorted body parts and distorted bodily functions.
The Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern mental illness case has been of continued interest to psychiatrists and psychologists. Psychologist Alfred Bader did an extensive study of him which was published in 1972 as, “Insane or Artist? The case of Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern.” Bader’s theory was that schizophrenia was likely his illness.
5) ARTIST PROFILE: FRIDA KAHLO, 1907-1954, MEXICAN SELF-TAUGHT PAINTER
Kahlo came to art from medical conditions and the pain they caused her. She needed to pass the time while convalescing and also to keep her mind off of her pain, which would endure throughout her life.
Specifically, Kahlo first had polio as a child. Then she was in a horrific bus crash which left her with a broken spinal column, broken collarbone, broken ribs, and broken pelvis.
Her right leg was fractured in eleven different places plus crushed and dislocated, along with her shoulder. The bus’s iron handrail pierced her abdomen and uterus. All of this is detailed in her paintings and is why she included her self portraits in them. It was "her pain."
Kahlo married Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist. She was mostly known as his wife and not as a painter in her own right. She died at 47 and was “discovered” later in the 20th century. Her popularity soared. Today she is very well known as a painter and her work is very well collected and exhibited.