Outsider Art Analysis

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Colin Rhodes disappoints in his final chapter. In Outsider Art, Rhodes spends four chapters defining outsiderness by drawing on the biographies of numerous individual artists who are recognized as outsider artists. He shows examples of their work, but he largely avoids discussing the specific pieces. However, in the last chapter, Rhodes introduces an alternate definition, which contradicts the one he has carefully crafted in the previous four chapters, of what it means to be an outsider. In chapter five, he argues that outsiderness or otherness can be measured in terms of geographic, cultural, and/or political distance from the source of power. He argues that non-western people, because they were either colonized or became vassal states,…show more content…
It is important to remember that authorities have no power over outsider artists because 'true ' outsiders are detached from our shared reality. They live in their own world and their originality and value stems from their ability to depict their the world they experience in their art. Wölfli, without colored pencils and magazine, would still have lived in his world and, I would argue, have experienced that world similarly to how he depicted it with crayons and colored pencils. I will grant that it is possible that his art magnified specific aspects of the reality he experienced such that he might have seen more slugs or little birds the more he drew them or that his rate of interest might have grown faster the more he tallied his revenues and expense, but the laws his world obeyed would have basically remained the same with or without his records documenting his…show more content…
To the question of whether multiculturalism is a real possibility, we first need to define multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is not tolerance. Multiculturalism is finding value in paradigms shared by groups other than our own. Outsider artists present the challenging question of whether we can value personalized paradigms belonging to individuals or do we simply group outsider artists into one space and call them outsiders and value them for their difference from us as a group without worrying about how they differ from each other. The danger of the latter approach is that when we group people, ignoring their individuality, we dehumanize them. We do it to aboriginal people, to colonized people in Ireland, the Congo, and Burma, to racists and bigots, to mentally ill, and to any one we don

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