Art Brut in America: The Incursion of Jean Dubuffet
In the NYR Daily, Nicole Rudick writes, “For the painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet, genuine art was chaotic, unlearned, and driven by ‘instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness.’ It was created by those who had no schooling in the arts. ‘There was more art and poetry in the talk of a young barber,’ he wrote in 1945, ‘than among the specialists in art and poetry.’ He believed the best examples were found in the work of the mentally ill, who, he argued, were unafraid of the ‘ecstasies of the mind,’ which served as a private reserve for their work. Dubuffet spent decades collecting examples of this ‘savage art to which no one pays any attention,’ which he called ‘art brut.’ This work, nearly two hundred examples of which are now on view at the American Folk Art Museum, embodied for him a spontaneous and immediate way of making art, an untrained rawness.”
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