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Outsider art, black folk art, and self-taught art are all terms used in the English-speaking world to refer to works created by individuals on the fringes of the mainstream art circuit. The first part of our exploration of American outsiders takes us deep into black folk art.

Although such creations are the work of a specific category of the population, as the term indicates, they would certainly be classified as Art Brut in Europe, as they owe very little to any particular vernacular tradition. In fact, the best-known representatives of this so-called folk art have long since broken through the restrictions long placed on them by the label, earning their place in collections and museums of contemporary art across America.

Hawkins Bolden, Thornton Dial, Royal Robertson, Mary T. Smith, Henry Speller, Jimmy Lee Sudduth and Mose Tolliver – all part of the pantheon of black folk artists – bring a new meaning to the expression “deep South”.

portrait - © christian berst — art brut
Hawkins Bolden
portrait - © NOMA New Orlean Museum of Art, christian berst — art brut
Thornton Sr. Dial
Royal Robertson - © christian berst — art brut
Royal Robertson
mary t smith - © christian berst — art brut
Mary T. Smith
portrait of henry speller - © photo: william arnett, 1987, christian berst — art brut
Henry Speller
Jimmy Lee Sudduth - © christian berst — art brut
Jimmy Lee Sudduth
Mose Tolliver, 1987. - © Gerald Jones, christian berst — art brut
Mose Tolliver
American Outsiders I the Black South / African-American vernacular art
American Outsiders I : the Black South - © christian berst — art brut

Preface : Phillip March Jones
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition American Outsiders I : the Black South / African-American vernacular art, from june 19th to july 18th, 2009.
Co published with les éditions Le livre d’art, 2009.

Press review
American outsiders - The Black South
Télérama Sortir. July 15, 2009.
american outsiders I

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