Presenter: Nana Chingseng (Alice Wexler, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Art Education at SUNY New Paltz)
To accommodate his English-speaking readers, Roger Cardinal (1973) chose the more "anglofied" term for "Art Brut" as the title of his seminal text, Outsider Art. Outsider Art now encompasses the wide range of emerging art work that exhilarates viewers by defying ready-made responses to, and assumptions about, art. It's an art, Cardinal says, that has always been around us, but it took several centuries for our discursively-abled-minds to begin to grasp its import as pictures and visual stories of infinitely diverse ways of experiencing and living in the world. Our cultural tastes and assumptions, the many art-books that assure us that we are pointed in one direction, have made us impervious to alternative realities. After all, Cardinal reminds us, our cultural heritage in the honored domain of "art' established our superiority.
Artists making work under the Outsider rubric became a complex modern phenomenon of stigmatized people who reflected and communicated their own stigmatization. Until recently, these artists were known only in medical terms: schizophrenic, autistic, retarded, and so on. Within the past two decades, however, artists with disabilities are emerging with voices that announce that they seek to establish new metaphors from their own experience of the world.
About the presenter:
In RL, Nana is Alice Wexler, who teaches courses in studio methods and artistic development, instructional resources in art education, and art for exceptional children and adults at SUNY New Palz. Her research focuses on the art-making practices of exceptional children and adults, and on the integration of text and image in art works made by children and adolescents. She is writing a book on children with special needs in alternative settings.