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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.