Saturday, December 27, 2008

Outsider Young, the Elder

Sign up now and keep the art supplies when you graduate.
If you ever wanted to be an artist or a painter/sculptor in particular, well then just pick up a twig n some mud n git-yer-self to it.

As the year 2008 is all but over and in the spirit of the Rubell's "30 Americans" Show, I have been meaning to post these few photos of miami's own "grand marshal of outsider art" Purvis Young. First I am compelled to note the irony of the label 'outsider' as it is not self-imposed but given to folks who comprise the majority of dedicated artist community at large. So really the few who are recognized by the critics and collectors, the elite art world, are indeed the outsiders, they are the fortunate few who break from the many to gain recognition and build markets.

People whose opinion matters in the art world seem to love his work, his prolific nature. They have a romance with the swampy rawness, the earthy primitive, the works looks great on pristine white walls. Personally I thinks the work is totally depressing as a manifestation of the inscesent characteristic of Miami's institutionalized historical racism, the 'beat-to-a-pulp tragedy of Overtown. I am not a huge of his work, but a true humble admirer of his life and dedication, the spirit of creativity- Purvis knows that it can not be killed.

Pre-Krylon Hazzy Lazzy Days in Overtown.

Like the Highwaymen Painters of old Florida and today's graffiti kids, I think Purvis Young is pleased to sell some work to feed his family but probably does not care a rats tail about all the hullabaloo surrounding his life's work. Certainly not at his age. The speculators, purveyors, and middle-people willing and able to flip the currency of paintings as a commodity, as a validation of their own self-serving importance and flagellation by recognizing what has always been here, trumpet their keen observation only serves to further the trivialization of Art. If art is born in the artist studio, museums are where it goes to die.

Pre-Dade Sign Ordinance - Miami's Chauvet or Lascaux

I have not sought him out but have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Young at, of all dumb places, the Bass museum Grand openings. Not surprising he did most of the listening. I told him about the warehouse in northmiami that is filled to the rafters with many of his works. He has this aura of Super-Kool Swampman like a Zora Neale Hurston character he reminds me of Jean-Michel Basquait, if jean-michel had lived to grow old.

Inside-Out - any paint will do, mud if ya aint got non.

For those many of us in miami's artist community who never did or are done "emerging" (aka young n cheap) keep your overhead low and your chin up high and load your palette with patience and perseverance because it is never tool late to be recognized... it just might take 80 years.

Together Purvis Young and Tony Lopez the sculptor rack-up nearly two centuries of Outsider Art in the Swamp. I wonder who else is out there quietly doing their thing, feeding the spirit they possess.


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