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OAF Talk

From Obscurity to Prominence: The Discovery and Stewardship of Outsider Art

New York 2017

OAF Talk


The New Museum
235 Bowery, New York NY 10012

Managing an artist’s career or estate is a difficult dance that requires extreme sensitivity and a distinct set of business skills. Often, outsider artists present dealers and scholars with a somewhat unique quandary of management and interpretation, as the artists are either dead when their work is discovered, or have a limited ability to make decisions about their careers and talk about the meaning of their art. This panel discussion will bring together three figures that have been tasked with navigating this terrain, to talk about the ways in which they have helped to shape our vision of artists’ legacies who were not able to shape it themselves. We will discuss both the rewards and potential pitfalls of this kind of stewardship, and how the work of these remarkable artists impacted their lives. 

Chris Wiley

Chris Wiley is an artist and writer. His writing has appeared in numerous exhibition catalogs and magazines including Kaleidoscope, Mousse, and Frieze, where he is a contributing editor. His work has recently appeared in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Hauser and Wirth, Marianne Boesky, and Nicelle Beauchene Gallery. 


Karen Patterson
Curator, John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Patterson’s primary focus is the Arts Center’s premier collection of folk art, self-taught art, and artist environments. Karen will share her thoughts about her relationship to the work of Wisconsin-based outsider artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein.

Marion Harris
Owner, Marion Harris Gallery

A recognized resource for antiques and contemporary self-taught art, Harris will speak about finding and promoting the work of Morton Bartlett, who, from 1936 to 1963, devoted much of his spare time to creating and photographing a series of intricately carved lifelike plaster dolls.

Tom di Maria
Director, Creative Growth Art Center

Tom di Maria has served as the director of the Creative Growth Art Center since 2000. Founded over 40 years ago, the Center is the oldest and largest art center in the world for people disabilities. Tom will discuss the life and work of Judith Scott.

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