Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Far Side

Outsider art enjoys little favor these days in the professional art world, where the right to be crude, weird, and nasty is reserved for artists with master’s degrees from leading art schools. Sophisticates caricature a taste for outsider art, with some empirical justice, as a sign of patronizing sentimentality and populist resentment. But the intransigent grandeur of a Wölfli calls everybody’s hand. He seems to be at least as troublesome for outsider fanciers as for vocational élitists. Besides having an immensely complicated and subtle technique, Wölfli is scary. Trying to make a pet of him could get your hand bitten off.

The New Yorker on Adolf Wölfli