Nicole Rudick is the managing editor of The Paris Review.


The Art of Instinct

Jean Dubuffet: Goat with a Bird, 1954

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.