In recent decades, art scholars, museum curators and collectors have struggled to put labels on art forms which depart from classic fine art categories and whose makers live and work outside the mainstream of society and the art world. Some if not all of these terms are problematic, or, at least, imprecise.
Art Brut - The idea of art brut or “raw art” appeared around 1945. Its conception is generally attributed to the French painter Jean Dubuffet who meant by the term "works executed by those immune to artistic culture in which imitation has no role” where their creators take all subjects, materials and styles from their own individuality and not from the base of classical art or from art fashion trends. Many of them were patients of psychiatric hospitals or other institutions. Their works are conceived without consideration of any specific destination, or any audience at all. Dubuffet argued that while mainstream culture managed to assimilate every new development in art, thus taking away whatever power it might have had, creators of art brut were not willing or able to be assimilated and therefore immune to the influences of culture. Dubuffet’s enormous collection of art brut was given to the city of Lausanne in 1971 and inaugurated as the Collection de l’Art Brut in 1976. The Collection de l'Art Brut insists that it alone can officially designate any newly discovered works as Art Brut. Today it contains over 15,000 works.
Neuve Invention (New Invention) - Dubuffet realised that many other creators produced works of comparable power and inventiveness to art brut, yet they had greater contact with “normal” society. This fact and the awareness they had of their art works precluded their inclusion within the strict Art Brut category. These artists were often humble workers who created in their spare time, or eccentric and untrained creators trying to make a living from their work. Some even had dealings with commercial galleries. As an acknowledgement to them he formed his "Annex Collection" which in 1982 became the "Neuve Invention" section of the Collection de l'Art Brut.
“Outsider” Art - The term was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut. While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "outsider” art is often applied more broadly to include certain self-taught or naif art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as “outsider” artists are believed to have little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world. They often employ unique materials or fabrication techniques. Much “outsider” art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. “Visionary” or “Intuitive Art” are other terms used, especially where the subject matter of the works includes images of a spiritual or religious nature. Intuitive art is probably the most general term available.
In recent years, “outsider art” has emerged as a successful art marketing category. Regrettably, today the term is frequently applied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the art world mainstream, regardless of their circumstances, the content of their work, or their awareness of it.
The Mariposa collection includes works by Dwight Mackintosh, Derek Webster, Donald Mitchell, Kerry Damianakes, George Wilson, Luis Aguilera, José Núñez, Pancho Cruz and others.
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More images are shown in the "More Paintings and Drawings" portfolio, below.