Timed to coincide with Christie’s Outsider Art sale, this program explores “self-taught” artists from the 20th century to today examining the complex relationship between the artists/creatives and the establishment. It looks at historical shifting genres and terminology: Modern Primitives, l’Art Brut, and Outsider Art, which were impactful but restrictive. The course also considers via a contemporary lens how personal circumstance and predetermined cultural positions - race, gender, mental health, poverty, disability - rendered a discriminatory positioning often more complex than merely being “self-taught.” Artists featured include William Edmondson, Adolf Wolfli, Martin Ramirez, and Judith Scott. Lectures will be supplemented by conversations with specialists and guided tours of Outsider Art at Christie’s.
Lisa Slominski is an American curator, writer, and cultural producer based in London. She advocates for neurodiversity in the current contemporary art discourse and actively examines the historical framework of artists considered ‘self-taught’ or ‘outsiders’. Academically she lectures on the effects of artists assigned as ‘Outsiders’ including for Queen Mary University of London. Recent articles include “Ron’s Place: The Theatre or (personal) Power” in the peer-reviewed journal for Cambridge University Press and “Season One: for an inclusive and accessible contemporary art world” for Art UK. In 2020, she co-founded the inclusive international curatorial platform Art et al. which focuses on international commissions and collaboration between arts professionals with and without disability. Previously, she curated public art commissions on Chicago’s mass-transit system with the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and for Tenderpixel, London. Her book, Nonconformers: A New History of Self-Taught Artists was published by Yale University Press in 2022 and presents an international history of artists often identified as ‘self-taught’ advocating for a nuanced understanding of modern and contemporary art often challenged by the establishment.
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