Guest Lynne Cooke and host Charlotte Burns view works by James Castle in the "Outliers and American Vanguard Art" exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (until 13 May)
One of the most talked about exhibitions this year, “Outliers and American Vanguard Art”, closes next week at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (13 May), after which it will travel to the High Museum in Atlanta and then to LACMA.
Our guest today is Lynne Cooke, the senior curator of special projects at the NGA who spent five years researching the exhibition. Talking to our host Charlotte Burns, Cooke says much of the art on show was made by people on the peripheries, often in marginalized positions because of their gender, race, class or age. “A great deal was made by African-American artists. Their work is simply not entered into the circuits and orbits of the contemporary art world for lack of opportunity, for lack of education, for lack of money. As I said: class, race.”
The exhibition comprises around 270 works by more than 80 artists and focuses on periods of social, political, economic and cultural upheaval in the United States, during which times the boundaries between the avant-garde and the outliers—self-taught, marginalized, Outsider artists—became more porous.
One of the most thoughtful curators working today, Cooke talks to us about her experience in preparing for the show, which “called into question a whole set of ideas about creativity and the basis on which innovation and originality and exploration take place”.