Does Outsider Art need to be categorised?

Do we need a sub category for outsider Art? by 

Mehrdad Rashidi, “Untitled” (circa 2009), ballpoint pen ink on found paper (courtesy of Henry Boxer Gallery)

Mehrdad Rashidi, “Untitled” (circa 2009), ballpoint pen ink on found paper (courtesy of Henry Boxer Gallery)

As the Outsider Art Fair in New York closes its doors for yet another year. I am left to ponder does the question does Outsider Art need to be sub categorised?

Certainly in this eclectic field of the Art world where do we place the works of Artists with severe Learning difficulties or in fact multiple and profound mental health problems? Are they Outsider Artists at all?

By definition (not that you will find many professionals within the art world willing to define the term) it’s a synonym for ‘Art brut’ the term coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972. Perhaps the term ‘Outsider Art’ is by far the lesser of two evils and years ahead out its un PC synonym but I do feel it still doesn’t fill the cup for me.

If you asked the regular Joe off the street and for that matter most Art industry dealers they would say that ‘Outsider Art’ Is work created by Artists who have no formal qualifications in visual arts. Well that begins to make things very broad doesn’t it?

Hmm… so let’s see so if that’s the case we certainly start to see a lot of ‘Outsider Artists ‘ Appear from out of the woodwork. If we started to call Sir Francis Bacon an outsider artist as he held no visual art qualifications I am certain we would be laughed out of the Tate.

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