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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.

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