Miscellany. 02.18.13.

Room Where Bessie Smith Died, Clarksdale, Mississippi, by Zoe Strauss. From the photographer’s billboard series. See it large. (Courtesy of Zoe Strauss.)

One comment

  1. Jim Linderman

    A comment for Jerry and Roberta. Champions not required…

    I have argued over the years against this proposal for several reasons. First, the most prominent “folk” artists belong on their own because their work, created outside the environment of art history, training and frequently even awareness…is DEFINED by their exclusion from the canon. Forget that their work often surpasses the calculated, often “success” orientated approach of contemporary and earlier “trained” artists (that is, it makes much of the work from the school look calculated and seem devoid of emotion) but also because as it is created in relative isolation, by definition it belongs in no school, nor does it belong in a timeline of art. Whether utilitarian (the folk art of useful objects made more beautiful by amateur embellishment) or that driven by such seldom understood motivations as religious fervor, isolated gumption, “otherness” in cultural influences or what have you…what literally describes the nature of the work’s basic qualities is that they do NOT belong.

    I happen to believe the work of the folk artist is often better than that of artists accepted into the “real” wing of the art world, but that isn’t the point. As the work was created outside regularly accepted standards and criteria of what “means” art…there is little justification for “bringing them in” as if they needed it anyway. We can understand, appreciate and value the work of folk artists without sullying their individualistic approach and often more sincere and authentic creations without them being “accepted” anywhere they need not go. All art is good. Why apply a value judgement against some of it by saying “it belongs” when it exists already? Show the work, love the work, study the work…but stop claiming it is good enough. It is already good enough without your approval.

    Jim Linderman
    Dull Tool Dim Bulb