Self-Taught and Outsider Art: The Anthony Petullo Collection

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9780252026669: Self-Taught and Outsider Art: The Anthony Petullo Collection

This spectacular volume reproduces in full color some 150 pieces from the "Anthony Petullo Collection", an extraordinary assemblage of paintings and drawings produced by individuals working outside the perimeter of conventional art training and traditions. Some of the pieces are fanciful, even whimsical. Others are haunting in their unembellished depiction of vulnerability and terror. Some are spare; others are crowded with figures. Some exhibit a childlike simplicity; others are almost sculpted in their precision and clarity. The thirty-six European and North American artists represented in Self-Taught and Outsider Art include a hospital janitor, a factory worker, concentration camp survivors, a truck driver, a guard at the Tate Gallery, a self-proclaimed fortuneteller and healer, and a female impersonator and Hollywood screenwriter. Their "canvases" include paper, wood, long strips of calico cloth, and cardboard. One artist paints with both hands simultaneously; another finds it difficult to paint except amid the chaos of his family. Many began painting quite late in life; others had early dreams of pursuing art that were deferred by economic and family circumstances. Some have been institutionalized or incarcerated; others have struggled with terrible poverty and personal loss. Perhaps more than the work of conventionally trained artists, pieces by outsider or self-taught artists are entwined with the identities of their creators. In support of that connection, "Self-Taught and Outsider Art" presents the artworks in conjunction with portraits, usually photographs, of the artists and brief biographical sketches. In some cases a friend or patron provides an anecdote about the artist. Taken together, these offer an intimate glimpse of the process by which art emerges from experience.

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From Library Journal:

Interest in nonconventional art continues to grow. While as yet no one term encompasses all the artists working in this genre, self-taught and outsider are often used. Generally, these artists create without any formal art education; some begin very late in life, some have multiple careers, and some have ended up being institutionalized. Regardless of their circumstances, they all have talent that is being recognized. Petullo, a private collector and member of the board of the Milwaukee Art Museum, here shares many fine examples (excluding sculpture) from his own collection. Reproduced in full color are almost 150 works by 36 artists, each represented by a photo-portrait. These reproductions, along with the educational introduction by Jane Kallir (proprietor of the Galerie St. Etienne in New York) and the biographical information provided by Margaret Andera (curatorial assistant, Milwaukee Art Museum), make this book a good introduction to both European and North American artists of this genre. Although many of the artists shown here are well known, the collection does contain the work of 20th-century European artists generally unknown in the United States. While this is a nice book that would enhance any library, it is recommended primarily for larger and academic collections as a complement to books on the subject that are broader in scope, such as Chuck and Jan Rosenak's Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Folk Art and Artists (Abbeville, 1991), or that provide a more comprehensive history, such as Michael D. Hall and others' The Artist Outsider (LJ 2/1/94). Susan Lense, Upper Arlington P.L., OH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

"The heart of this beautifully illustrated and well-designed book is the art. Organized alphabetically by artist, each entry includes a photograph and brief biography of the artist and full-color reproductions of the art." -- Choice "Petullo ... shares many fine examples ... from his own collection [of outsider art]. Reproduced in full color are almost 150 works by 36 artists, each represented by a photo-portrait. These reproductions, along with the educational introduction by Jane Kallir ... and the biographical information provided by Margaret Andera ... make this book a good introduction to both European and North American artists of this genre." -- Library Journal "Petullo has also avidly collected the art of self-taught artists ... [who] have an intuitive drive to make images and forge vigorous and arresting styles all their own... These are hypnotic compositions of truly startling originality, including the organic, hyperdetailed drawings of Scottie Wilson and Anna Zemnkov, who said that her works 'seemed to draw themselves'; Albert Louden's dynamic paintings; James Lloyd's pointillist gouaches; Sylvia Levine's sensitive modernist oils; and the epic drawings of Henry Darger, to name but a few of these striking, self-realized artists, the equals of their professional peers." -- Booklist

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Petullo, Anthony
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