This year’s Outsider Art Fair in New York took the form of an online event with in-person exhibitions in a handful of galleries. Next year, the fair, which usually takes place in late January, will open at its usual Chelsea location in early February.
Now, the fair’s organizers have created “Super-Rough,” a selection of nearly 200 sculptural works by an international roster of art brut and outdoor artists, including Takashi Murakami as guest curator.
The exhibition, which opens Wednesday at 150 Wooster Street in Soho and runs until June 27, will present a survey of welded-metal, carved-stone, embroidered-fabric and cut-paper creations by nearly 60 artists.
The name “super-rough” follows on from the word “super-flat” Murakami, even though it shares no allusion to the true flatness of traditional Japanese art forms and sometimes increased two-dimensionality in pictorial space. And as the title suggests, “Super-Rough” will draw attention to the self-taught sculptors’ power of craftsmanship.
Mixed-media composition works by ACM (artist Alfred Corinne Marie), Hawkins Boldenhandjob Paul Amar And other autodidacts that work with or found or castoff material will be plentiful as well. The art will primarily come from American and foreign dealers who attend the New York Fair.
For Murakami, in the past, he sent and reworked stylistic events in his own work, which was as colorful as it was in Japanese pop culture’s obsession with cuteness in cartoon-character mascots, fashion or corporate logos. was destructive. Today, Murakami embarks on an aesthetic journey that has taken him from critique of cute pop to an embrace of the iconic aura of art brutality and authenticity of outlandish art.
In a recent email interview, writing from his studio in Tokyo, Murakami said that as a university student, “I became aware of outdoor art when I saw an exhibition at the Setagaya Art Museum.” That 1993 show in Tokyo, called “Parallel Vision: Modern Artists and Outsider Art”, originated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2011, also in Tokyo, Murakami visited an exhibition of the work of American outdoor artist Henry Darger. It was organized by Yukiko Koide, a Tokyo-based dealer specializing in so-called Japanese art brutality. He has done several works for “Super-Rough”.
Murakami later acquired a darzer of his own, as well as mystical, ink-on-paper paintings by contemporary Japanese art brutalist maker Monma. He explained, “By owning such works, I was deeply struck by the beauty and tension that existed in the gap between freedom and restriction at the moment of artistic creation.”
“Super-Rough” includes such diverse treatments of sculpture-building materials as the menacing trident with the metal gods of Brazilian blacksmith Jose Addario dos Santos; Upstate New York woodworker John Byam’s tank, rocket ship, and other objects made of wood chips, sawdust, and glue; Polish-American Ted Ludwijk’s large, graceful faces were carved into the stones he pulled from the Hudson River; and wooden figures painted by Frenchman Roger Chomo, who was known as Chomo and lived in an art environment southeast of Paris.
Of particular interest, from Japan, are the unglazed ceramic figures of the Kazumi Kama, which have multiple faces and pointed surfaces; bulbous, breast-like mounds of yumiko kawai made from fabric and embroidery thread; And Yuki Fujioka’s scissor-cut scraps of paper, whose delicate, wavy edges keep these items from lying, well, super flat.
Murakami also noted that he sees the way in which outside artists’ “thoughts and feelings flow through their pens and paintbrushes”, without “worrying” that he comes to his senses when he believes that someday , his work “can no longer be accepted by the world at large.”
By helping to present the “super-rough”, he said, he wants the public to know that artists like him “have been deeply influenced by art brutality”. of the artist.” Humbly – and respectfully – he noted to feel a kinship with him.
“I’m so glad I’m being allowed to sit in the same circle among these artists,” Murakami said, a comment that many outdoor-art lovers might consider supercool.