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OAF Talk: Transgression and Taboo in Outsider Art

Virtual panel discussion

January 29, 2021

OAF Talk: Transgression and Taboo in Outsider Art

Infos pratiques

Featuring Michael Bonesteel, a leading author and authority on Henry Darger, art dealer Marion Harris, who has brought the art of Morton Bartlett to international acclaim, and renowned artist Joe Coleman, this panel, moderated by critic and curator Carlo McCormick, presented a risky conversation on the outré within outsider art, and consider what place this kind of work now occupies in a body politic increasingly defined by a new social consciousness and sensitivity. 

About the Panel

Michael Bonesteel is an independent writer, scholar, curator, and contributing editor to Raw Vision, and has published numerous book, newspaper and magazine articles, and catalogue essays. He is the author/editor of the first definitive book in English on America’s premiere Outsider artist: Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings (Rizzoli International, New York, 2000); as well as a 500,000-word unpublished abridgement of Darger’s magnum opus titled Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls in the Realms of the Unreal. Formerly, Bonesteel has been employed as an adjunct assistant professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; art critic for Art in America and Artforum magazines; and managing editor of several newspapers, including the New Art Examiner in Chicago.

Joe Coleman is a world-renowned painter, writer and performer who has exhibited for four decades in major museums throughout the world including solo exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), the Barbican Centre (London), Tilton Gallery and Dickinson Gallery (New York). Emerging in the downtown New York scene of the late 70s and early 80s, Coleman produced some of the most radical and transgressive performance art of its time, and can be seen in the films Mondo New York (1988) and Captured (2008). In his paintings executed with a single hair paintbrush, Coleman inserts biographical and autobiographical anecdotes and displays a great affection and reverence to his subjects. Through it all, Coleman does not dabble in taboo; he dives deep into the forbidden continuing his ongoing investigation into the darkness within all our hearts.







Marion Harris is an art and antiques dealer and has participated in the Outsider Art Fair since its inception in 1993. Originally from Scotland and based in New York since the 1980s, Harris is driven by a passion for collecting —her business combines the magic of the hunt with the satisfaction of research. In 1992, Harris discovered Morton Bartlett's dolls for sale at the Pier Show, a New York antiques fair, along with 200 staged black and white photographs of the dolls. She purchased the entire collection and later published a catalog of Bartlett's work titled Family Found: The Lifetime Obsession of Morton Bartlett. She continues to represent the Bartlett Estate.

Carlo McCormick is a critic and curator based in NYC. His essays have been included in hundreds of books, and his writing on art and popular culture in numerous mainstream publications and art magazines such as Artforum, Art in America and Art News. He was senior editor of Paper magazine for over 30 years. Recent exhibitions he has curated include Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder at Red Bull Arts and Punk Lust at the Museum of Sex. He is currently working on shows slated to take place in Beijing and Moscow.


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