Amy Cutler at the American Folk Art Museum

Amy Cutler
Traction, 2002
Casein and Flashe on wood panel
32 x 60 inches




Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger

American Folk Art Museum
New York, NY
April 15 – September 21, 2008

There is a long history of academically trained artists drawing inspiration from self-taught artists and thus freeing themselves to think in unexpected ways and on their own idiosyncratic terms, almost in defiance of what they were taught. “Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger” examines the influence of Darger’s remarkable and cohesive oeuvre on eleven such artists, who are responding not only to the aesthetic beauty of Darger’s mythic work—with its tales of good versus evil, its epic scope and complexity, and even its transgressive undertone—but to his unblinking work ethic and all-consuming devotion to artmaking. This exhibition demonstrates Darger’s pervasive influence on the contemporary art discourse and how an examination of the work of self-taught artists is essential for a full understanding of art history. By leaning into the boundaries of the Western canon, “Dargerism” illustrates how one self-taught master has spawned a new movement, a wholly new “ism.”

Brooke Davis Anderson, curator


Related Links

The Insider’s Outsider, Artnet review by Ben Davis
Art Lies: A Contempoary Art Journal, review by John Ewing