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High/Low Inside/Outside

postmodern exploration of high, low, insider, and outsider art.

Emily Storch

on 9 June 2010

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Transcript of High/Low Inside/Outside

High/Low Inside/Outside
CHOOSE One Pair Task #2 Then:
- Describe, Interpret, and Judge each work in your pair

Questions to Answer:
-Do you perceive any differences or similarities in skill level, handling of medium, design intention, Content,or quality?

-Is One "better" than the other based on these elements?

-what assumptions would you make about the artists based on what you "see" in the artwork?

Present your findings as a group. Every member must speak and give insight.

form a group of 3, then Identities Revealed! #1- Margaret Kilgallen-Insider
Henry Darger-outsider

#2-David Shirgley-Insider
Raymond Thunder-sky-outisder

#3-Henrich Muler-outsider
Jean dubuffet-insider

#4-Tarcisio merati-outsider
jean michaele basquiat-both!

#5-Cy twombly-insider
kiyoshi yamashita-outsider by:emily storch q's for reflection:
did you guess right?
reflect on the reasons for your guess,
and breifly write about it.
Share your thoughts, its discussion time! Outsider Art: what is it?

"internal" "raw" "Untrained" "pure" "Impulsive" "unaware" "primitive" "untouched" "idiosyncratic" "brutal" "visionary" "internal" "deviant" "spontanious" "The Term 'outsider art' refers to, in an open ended way,
to extraordinary works created by people who are on the margins of
society, and who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to
to fit into conventional requirements-social, psychological, or artistic-
of the culture they inhabit"
-David Maclagan
Teacher's section
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)

coined the term 'art brut' , french for 'raw art'
to describe 'outsider art'.

-dubuffet began collecting this kind of art from
psychiatric patients in 1945. In this work he saw a
new, pure dynamism that was absent in formulatic,
mechanical fine arts. He believed that culture deadened
the creative instinct, which in the outsider, remained
intact through lack of cultural particiaption. (cardinal, 1972) "IT MAY BE THAT ART THRIVES IN ITS HEALTHIEST FORM AMONG ORDINARY
-dubuffet, 1968 Identity politics

political action through artifacts to
advance members of an underrepresented,
misrepresented, or oppressed because of race,
religion, gender, or other social conditions.

High and Low Art 'lowbrow" "low art" how postmodernists talk about outsiders:

Form a group of 3

together,read 'how to look at outsider art'
by lyle rexler
pp. 23-32 q's for rexler read:

1) is outsider art really 'art'? why or why not?

2) who does rexler say defines what is insider and
what is outsider?
3) what kinds of people were marginalized in the 1939 exhibition,
'contemporary unknown american painters'? why do you think
this was?

4) why do you think rexler compares outsider art to pop art?
what do these two areas of art have in common?

5) how did insider art set the stage for appriciation of outsider
art in the 1960's, for example, what kinds of boundaries did
artists cross that used to define high and low?

6) is it nessicary in your opinion to take sides in the high art/low art
conversation like jean dubuffet did? what are pros and cons of this
kind of thinking? a contested distinction between "fine art" and
artifacts made for and used for everday living.
postmodernists collapse this distinction
The other
The Other is an individual who is perceived by
the group as not belonging,
as being different in some fundamental way. q's for postmodern terms you just learned!

1) where do you see indentity politics practiced
in everyday life?

2) do you have an opinion of what is to be considered art
and what is not?

3) have you ever been in a situation where you felt like
"the other"? what do you think its like to always be
considered the other? is outsider art really 'art'? why or why not?
who gets to say?
who do you agree with, davies or dubuffet? scholar david davies disputes the artistic merit
of outsider art as being based on the status of the artist
as an outsider. he aruges that these artists be held to the
same standards and held to the same value as insider artists.

"a judgement as to the artistic merit of an outsider piece must be grounded
in a judgement as to the process whereby the piece was generated."

in other words:

"it can not plausibly be argued that all entities whose generation draws upon
such menchinisms (the urge to create) or instincts are works of art"

or, an outsider could make marks be accident or in reaction to something,
not with the intention of actually creating. if we do not know they intended
to create, davies questions whether or not the work is art at all.
do you agree?
ttp://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/other.html task #3 Now...take the outsider artist from the group
and research them. YOu can also use basquiat. Process:
1) review the definitions on the raw vision website:
2) Research your artist in the library and on these websites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsider_art http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Basquiat.html
http://www.storytoys.com/indexgb.htm ( merata)

format for report
-1-2 pages
-record: name, bio, art medium.
-why they considered outsiders.
-what design princples are used in their work.
-what postmodern concepts are at work in the reception of their work.
answer these q's:
-who says the artist is an outsider?
- Do you agree?
-how did this artist come to be well known?
-was this artist really "untrained" and "unaware" in thecreation of their work?
-does this artist fit all the characteristics of an "outsider" or do they defy categorization? explain how.
- do you see a need for the category of "outsider art"? Why or
why not?
task #1 Design element highlight: dynamic tension There are certain things one may do to a composotion to
cret tension. One thing is to create a disruptive composition
that pays little to no respect to classical cannons such
as balance and symmetry. The work of outsider artist is
often seen as unsophisitcated becasue of the lack of
balanced design, making scenes that seem "off". The "off"
elements are really things that cause "tension". This can be
caused by many things, such as oddly placed objects and
skewed perpective. Dynamic compositions are often composed
of elements of tension and energy, and carry a spentanious
look, which is common in "outsider" work. This is precisly the reason
that dubuffet found outsider work so compelling. WEb Resources www.outsiderart.info http://www.rawvision.com/outsiderart/whatisoa.html http://art.org/index.html http://www.interestingideas.com/out/what.htm reflection:
take a look at this website on outsider art:


pay attention to the questions asked in the second
and third paragraphs. Have these questions occured
to you before? answer two of these questions on paper, then we will discuss the questions in class! http://visionariesandvoices.com/content/vv-home http://mentalhealthartscollaborative.org/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thunder-Sky-Inc/142014079277 conclusion!

We have concluded an indepth study on outsider art! Think about what you have learned and questioned, and also consider the artwork you viewed and how it effected you.
Do you see a need for a high/low art standard that sets others apart? Is the term "outsider"
accurate in describing the artists' work you looked at? who really gets to decided who is of what importance in our culture?
refelct on these issues and others on paper, giving an overview of your views on this lesson, and what, if anything, you learned.
Assessment context/overview

This lesson builds on postmodern terms learned
in any a.p. art class setting. Here I draw on terry barrett's
method of art criticism and postmodern definitions. Students
have learned about many kinds of artists, but outsiders are
rarely covered in any lessons. In my goal to blur pre-defined
social lines in an altermodern world, I have selected a topic that
is still in contentsion among artists and theorists. outsider art has
recently gained a lot of attention in the media, and in the interest
of being current and exploring a largely unexplored topic at this
level, I built this webquest. I have a lot of love for the lowbrow
realm of art, and this inquiry highlights this realm in a scholarly
and informative way.

Wojcik, D. Outsider art, vernacular traditions, and creativity. Journal of western folklore. v67 #3 Spring 2008.

This article takes aim at the stereotypes used to categorize "outsider art" and uses real life artists to debunk them. Wojcik challenges the assertion that outsiders create art in a cultural vacuum devoid of external influences, when in reality a number of forces shape the work of these artists labeled "outsider". I use this text as a resource because it is evidense of research done with the goal of brekaing down stereotypes that divide artists marginalized as outsiders. The artists cited by Wojcik are intensly human and honest, and create in their own right for complex reasons. I believe this to be true of all artists.

Davies, D. On the very idea of 'Outsider Art'. British Journal of Aesthetics. v49 #1. Jan 2009

Davies takes a very differnt view of outsider work in questioning the category as art in itself. His main arguement is that the only way to settle the arthood of an outsider piece is to establish it's provenance. Davies seems to hold an essentialist type view of art in that it must be created under certain terms with certain effects. If a piece is created with the intention of creating, it is art. If a mark is made in reaction to a psychological state with no goals, in Davies' opinion, it is not. The exhibition of any and every "outsider" artwork is not a matter of who created it, but how it was created. In a way, he aims to hold outsiders to the same standards he holds insiders to, and see little difference between the two, citing Pollock as an artist who creates intuitively, an outsider attribute. This view both makes sense and seems unfair at the same time, but Davies points are worth consideration.
Eisenhauer, J. Admission: Madness and (Be)coming Out Within and Through Spaces of Confinement.
Disability Studies Quarterly; Vol. 29 Issue 3 p.10.

Eisenhauer is an artist with a mental illness. In this article, she realtes her time in an institution in an istallation piece, examining herself as a disabled person, and coming out as such. Her expereince as an artist with an invisible disability gives an insight to what happens when one is categorized as a person with a disorder and how this effects their artistic reception. Eisenhauer maintains that she is not "in" or "out", but always both. It is rare to find the views of an artist labeled"outsider" by society because of a condition that does not really define them. Usually, the outsider is an object projected on without their consent. Eisenhauer rejects openly this dichotomy and adds a critical analysis of the ways in which persons with mental illnesses are received in the art world.

Analyze various views on a specific subject and form one's own perspective.

Relation to your own expereince the expereince of others.

Ability to interpret information with the goal of better understanding of the topic.

Define terms from postmodern and art lexicon and use correctly.

Identification various artists' work and the origin of their categorization.

Recollection the philospohical views learned.

Insight into how binaries come to be and who creates them.

Question the value of artworks considered to be inferior/superior.

The artist is not one kind of person, but many kinds of people.

Openness to exploration of topics that seem uncomfortable or outside the status quo.

Authentic consideration for views and philosophies not often considered in an everyday setting.

Making relevent issues that question common perception to one's own life.

Bibliography Intended Learning Outcomes Rubric #1 Rubric #2 Rubric #3 Reflexive Teacher Notes

Personal Context

An art educator, in my opinion must do justice to their chosen
field of art. There are many facets to art education, and we cannot expect to teach them all equally, but we can attempt to respect each aspect of art. This webquest is mainly philosophical. Ideally, I'd like all parts of art to enter into an inquiry. However, the topic of outsider art and the general concept of "the other" and "high/low" in art has a lot of material behind it. It is also a subject very personal to me, and I'd like to do this realm of art justice by allowing students to consider many viewpoints, learn about its history, and view artworks by outider artists. The general understanding to be made here is that defined boundaries are often placed with little consideration, and need to be questioned. Its easy to categorize and be categorized, and as good citizens of the world it is time to instill the ability to question these categorization.
I assess the progress made here with rubrics that break each assignment into parts. These parts can then be reassembled for a clear picture of how the student fared on each assignment. It is easiest for me to go from part to whole, so this is how I tackle assessment most successfully. Assessment is a matter of using whatever method serves you best.

Institutionl Context

The themes of this lesson reflect respect for diversity, a priority in most schools. Marginalization is becoming less and less acceptable in society at large, and its our job to help this process along. The concept of the outsider can be applied to a student's everyday life, as everyone feels out of place within a larger group at some point. In this way parallels can be drawn in the lives of students to outsider artists. This help to humanize this issue and foster a spirit of accpetance and rejection of unfair labelling within our culture.

Assessment Plan

My aforementioned assessment plan is one that reflects my personal aesthetic in the following ways. I believe that we expereince aesthetics in small ways everyday, and this melds into our psyche to create one big experence of aesthetics that informs everything we do and every choice we made. Each element in my rubric covers a possible choice students can make in completeing their assignment. Together, these small choices reflect a level of thinking equivilant to a grade. They can look at the rubric and choose to either expand their thinking or not. Each small decision they make tranlates into a bigger understanding.
I would like to extend this lesson in the form of a possible field trip. I was considering a trip to Visionaries and Voices' Northside studio. This could be an opportunity for students to see what real outsider artists are doing. This could include an introduction, tour, and then time to create art with some of the artists at V&V. There are other organizations in the area made up of outsider artists, such as the Mental Health Arts Collaborative. Thunder-Sky, Inc. would be a good place to visit, as the curators there incorporate both outsider artists and trained artists in many of their shows. This is just one way that I could bring this subject home, and give a human element to the lesson.

There is also the issue of students who do have disabilities. Because of their similarities to people classified as Outsiders, I'd like to add a forum for these students to relate their expereience as othered people. This could be an opportunity for these students and students without disabilites to share experiences on a human level. Extensions
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