Twenty years after publishing the last issue of Julie Doucet’s Dirty Plotte, Drawn & Quarterly has gathered the first dozen issues along with Doucet’s early, unpublished, and previously uncollected work, and numerous appreciations, in a two-volume slipcase edition. Such lavish treatment can’t dispel the unruliness of Doucet’s project; these comics are as pertinent and captivating today as when they first made their way into the culture. Doucet’s parodic depictions of intense violence are still unsettling; her elastic treatment of sex and gender is still daring; and her open-ended treatment of female identity is still vital.
Art brut was a source of inspiration for the painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet’s own work, which ranged from primitive-looking drawings scratched into impasto to a totemic figure composed only of two unmodified grapevine roots and a block of slag. But he also advocated tirelessly to spread art brut’s influence as a movement, from postwar France to New York and, in particular, to Chicago. Dubuffet’s greatest contribution to contemporary art, beyond his own work, may have been his validation of an art of instinct and his insistence on what he called an “infinitely diversified expansion” of art history.