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Views from the Outsider Art Fair

Sludgy New York weather couldn’t dampen spirits at this traveling exhibition, highlighting artists operating far outside the traditional gallery scene.

Susan Te Kahurangi King, Untitled, c. 1978, Graphite, ebony and crayon on paper

While New York’s recent arctic weather has been a drag on the city’s cultural life—not to mention its transportation—the art world has still managed to keep things vibrant. This past weekend Chelsea’s Center548 hosted the 23rd edition of the Outsider Art Fair, an annual showcase featuring hundreds of international artists, highlighting the unique, marginalized, and often-visionary work of those acting outside the mainstream. With pieces ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre, this year’s contributions included perennial favorites like Henry Darger and James Castle, to first-time exhibitor Arte del Pueblo, presenting Haitian works from the collection of Jonathan Demme, to capsule exhibition If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran. The latter featured the evocative images of five artists whose creations were inspired by the concept of paranoia, and was held in tandem with a panel on the pathological sources of artistic inspiration.


The term “outsider art” encompasses many things. As Art Fair Director Rebecca Hoffman recently mentioned to the Huffington Post,

“I utilize the term 'outsider art' as an umbrella for a lot of different categories. Primarily, what we term outsider art is self-taught or non-academic work. So, that could be somebody who is a mathematician who has taught himself how to paint. That could be somebody who [has severe autism] and expresses himself through drawing. That could be a member of an aboriginal tribe in Western Australia, a herdsman for her entire life, who painted prolifically for her final 14 years of life. That could be someone who was drawing to escape violence in New Orleans. It could be someone who took to marble carving to express all of the diverse experiences he's undergone."

For those curious, all of these unique figures were featured prominently in this year’s fair. While in the past this term was applied to genre-defying artists ranging from Yayoi Kusama to the “primal” works of Jean-Michel Basquiat—today both are canonized in art history legend, almost as established as Monet or Van Gogh.

The fair, which offers the rare opportunity for those working outside the traditional art market to have their work shown, has become a breeding ground for new talent and, ironically, an institution. In short, it was not to be missed.

For rebellious art-lovers in Europe, don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it last weekend. After OAF leaves New York it will be making a second appearance in Paris, October 22–25.

Mary Whitfield, Fleeing Darfur, 2006, Watercolor on Arches paper

Andy Dixon, Yellow Portrait, 2014, Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas

Marianne Schipaanboord, Jan Runhaar, 2006, watercolor and pencil on paper

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

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Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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