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Reinterpreting the Pioneer

Outsider art, coined by Roger Cardinal - synonymous until 1980s with the 'art brut' movement begun by Jean Dubuffet - is any work of art produced by an untrained, idiosyncratic, or marginalized artist who is unconnected to the conventional art world - not necessarily by choice but by circumstance.

In 1987, the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art boldly launched an exhibit,'A Separate Reality - Florida Eccentrics,' curated by Karen Valdes and Executive Director, George Bolge. The Outsider art genre continues to grow in popularity with the general public, art collectors and museums. Our exhibition celebrates the 30 year anniversary of a seminal project of then sixteen artists, including Purvis Young, who grew in popularity through the years to become a national icon of Folk Art, re-purposing discarded materials into art and reclaiming the history and legacy of Black communities of Liberty City and Overtown, Miami. Young was elected into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2017 and joined 'The Highwaymen' Painters, legendary self-taught artists previously awarded Hall of Fame status; both were featured in 'Reinterpreting the Pioneer.' 

'Reinterpreting the Pioneer' Exhibition opened 12/2/16 through 3/5/17 at the Fort Lauderdale History Museum exploring pioneer people groups, who despite their marginal status, impacted the broader cultural community and established the popularity of self-taught art. The lens of Outsider Art is the perfect means with which to view the distinctive contributions of all 'pioneers' in South Florida. Professional artists statewide and in Broward County worked with next generation emerging talent creating art installations with scholarly speakers from the region's top humanities and sciences programs, special guests, studio labs with community conversations, pop up exhibits and receptions...

Image:  artwork by Bryant Gowans left, and Purvis Young right; photographed by Armando Colls

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