“Great and Mighty Things” are being seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That’s the title of a highly unorthodox exhibition of self-taught or outsider art: works by people unschooled, unfiltered, and unmediated by outside aesthetics, but created out of a pure inner need.
But don't think that outsider artists are confined to the idiosyncratic paintings, drawings and sculptures that can be seen at the museum through June. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns hears outsider composers everywhere, even in the insider realms of Princeton University.
Jail Was Heat. Purvis Young, American, 1943-2010. Paint on weathered Masonite with nailed-on pieces of various types of weathered scrap wood, 43 x 34 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection
The term "outsider art" came into use in the early 1970s from a French description for unrefined art. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the preferred term today is “self-taught,” and a single collection of such work is the focus of a new, major exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.