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

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Public Programs

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

January 18 2017

Managing an artist’s career or estate requires extreme sensitivity and astute business skills. Often, outsider artists present dealers and scholars with a somewhat unique quandary of management and interpretation, as the artists are frequently either dead when their work is discovered, or are perceived as having a limited ability to talk about the meaning of their art and make decisions about the trajectory of their careers. This panel discussion brought together four professionals who were tasked with navigating this difficult terrain, to talk about the ways in which they have helped shape our understanding of the work of artists who were unable to shape it themselves. Together, they discussed both the rewards and potential pitfalls of this task of stewardship, and how their lives have been shaped by the work of these remarkable artists.

This event was presented to the public for free through special arrangement with the Outsider Art Fair.

Panelists included Karen Patterson, curator of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, who talked about her relationship to the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein; gallerist Marion Harris, who talked about finding and promoting the work of Morton Bartlett; and Tom di Maria, director of the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA, who discussed the life and work of Judith Scott.