Construction (Duck), a mid-20th century sculpture by the deaf mute artist James Castle (1899-1977)
Courtesy of Hirschl & Adler Modern; photo by Eric W. Baumgartner
A special selling exhibition of Outsider art works by around 60 artists should boost the New York art scene when it launches in a vast pop-up space in Soho this week (150 Wooster Street, 9-27 June). Super-Rough shines a light on self-taught Outsider creatives, bringing to the fore more than 200 sculptural works by around 60 artists. The large-scale event, organised by the Outsider Art Fair (OAF), also gets a star guest curator, namely the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. “We were eager to participate in the opening up of New York, especially since our next NY fair, our 30th anniversary, isn’t until February. People can’t wait that long! OAF’s primary role is to provide opportunities for our dealers, and while doing so we expand the audience for self-taught art,” says Andrew Edlin, the owner of the Outsider Art Fair. “Prices continue to escalate [in Outsider art] but at the same time new bodies of work are still coming to light with entry points that are accessible to collectors at all levels,” he adds. Around 30 galleries are due to take part in the event. Participating dealer Cavin-Morris Gallery of New York will show works by three artists including Guillaume Couffignal of France whose sculptures, based on old ruins and sunken boats, are priced between $3,200 and $5,000. “Meanwhile, [French artist] Sylvia Katuszewski works in Raku-fired terracotta, building sculptures based on the theme of motherhood. Her works are priced between $4,200 and $6,700,” says Shari Cavin, the gallery co-owner, adding: “Murakami collects within this field, so he has an experienced eye obviously informed by his own work. Plus we like the idea of a straight-up sculpture exhibit.” Jennifer Lauren, a dealer from Manchester, UK, will show six works by the Japanese self-taught artist Shinichi Sawada. “With Murakami based in Japan, he has seen Sawada’s work over there in museum shows several times, so really likes his work and the traditional methods used to fire his work from his studio. They are all wood fired in hand-built ovens in Japan,” Lauren says. The work Construction (Duck) by the 20th-century Idaho artist James Castle will be an exhibition talking point. “At almost twenty inches long, the construction is a comparatively monumental example by the artist, a deaf mute who lived with his family on their farm near Boise. Created by an artist cut off from many sensory experiences, Castle’s paper constructions emphasise simplified forms and tactile surfaces,” says Tom Parker, associate director of Hirschl & Adler gallery in New York. Travel restrictions mean that collectors attending will probably come from the Americas, rather than overseas, acknowledges Edlin. “But we intend to have a vigorous virtual programme that will include walkthroughs of the actual exhibition with noted artists and curators. The fair has been an international event with the addition of Paris in 2013, but we feel that Murakami’s collaboration will stretch the geographical boundaries of Super-Rough’s reach even further,” he argues.