Art | Need To Now

A museum for Outsider artists pops up across the Pond

Eccentric art events are making a scene in New York

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A museum for Outsider artists pops up across the Pond

January 19 2012
Vicki Reeve

At its Primrose Hill base in London, where it claims to provide “a space for artists and creators outside modern society”, The Museum of Everything has presented a fascinating range of exhibits, from fully working model fairgrounds to dark, intense and awkward paintings and sculptures via (stuffed) boxing and smoking squirrels. It also brought “outsiders” in at Exhibition #2 at Tate Modern, where it displayed over 200 works selected by its Board of Trustees, and further afield, at Hay-on-Wye, as part of the 2010 Crunch Festival. Its last show, Exhibition #4, at Selfridges in London, was a groundbreaker, seen by 100,000 visitors who came to view eye-opening works by self-taught artists who suffer from mental or developmental difficulties.

And now The Museum’s eccentricities reach New York City as its founder, James Brett, takes a range of events across the Pond – think talks, screenings, shopping, books and even a tea dance – at the Metro Art Show (January 19-22, catalogue in second picture) and the Outsider Art Fair (January 26-29).

Highlights include: a talk about The Museum by Brett, plus book signing and Q&A at the launch of The Books of Everything (four limited-edition volumes featuring colour plates of works in The Museum exhibitions so far, with text by artists including Cindy Sherman and Ed Ruscha); The Shop of Everything (first picture), selling prints, books and other items (including stationery, lithograph prints by Peter Blake, and dresses by Clements Ribeiro in collaboration with Atelier der Villa and Creative Growth), plus The Films of Everything 2009-11, which, narrated live by Brett, presents a history of his venture, from its inauguration during the Frieze Art Fair in 2009 to the Selfridges project – and looks to its future, which is set to include Africa, Russia and the Middle East.

If your aesthetic taste verges on the idiosyncratic and the downright oddball, check out The Museum of Everything. You’re unlikely to be disappointed.