Outsider Art Fair 2023

Outsider Art Fair 2023


One of my favorite art fairs to attend each year is coming up soon: The Outsider Art Fair, 2023 edition, opens on March 2 and runs through March 5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W 18th Street in NYC. The Outsider Art Fair is the only fair dedicated to self-taught art, art brut and outsider art, and this year will feature 64 exhibitors from 28 cities in 8 countries, with 12 first-time exhibitors.

Outsider Art Fair 2023
2023 Outsider Art Fair, March 2-5, 2023

Pictured above left is: “Abeyance, Held in Activity,” c. 1970-86, by Dorothy F. Foster (1903-1986). This drawing is made with ballpoint pen and ink on found newsprint, and measures 5.8 x 3.75 inches. The image is courtesy Fleisher/Ollman and the Estate of Dorothy F. Foster. Pictured above right is: “Untitled,” c. 1944, by Minnie Evans (1892-1987), and is a drawing made with crayon and pencil on paper, 11 1/2 × 9 5/8 inches. The image is courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art New York/Gift of Mrs. Nina Howell Starr.

In addition to the exhibitor booths, there will be some special events at the fair this year. “We Are Birds” is a curated exhibition featuring dozens of works inspired by birdlife made by self-taught and contemporary artists, including Greg Burak, Minnie Evans, Tony Fitzpatrick, William Hawkins, Chris Johanson, Pam Lins, Eleanor Ray, Fred Tomaselli, and Bill Traylor. This show is produced in partnership with The Birdsong Project to benefit the National Audubon Society.

Another special event, actually taking place before the opening of the fair, will be “OAF Talks,” with two panels on Minnie Evans (moderated by Esther Adler, Curator of Drawings and Prints, MoMA), and Arthur Bispo do Rosario (featuring Javier Téllez, curator of Bispo do Rosario: All Existing Materials on Earth). These talks are in collaboration with Americas Society (at 680 Park Avenue), will be held on Monday evening, February 27th. More info on this here.

In the course of writing this post, I learned something quite interesting: the image above by Dorothy F. Foster, comes from an intriguing story. Claire Iltis, associate director at Philadelphia’s Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, was browsing through an antique store in Port Jervis, NY, when she happened upon a photo album containing a series of drawings. Each was labeled with the signature “Dorothy F. Foster,” which was a name unknown to Iltis. They were selling for $5 each, and the striking images grabbed her attention. She started to do the research on who this artist was, eventually learning that Dorothy F. Foster was born in New Jersey in 1903, spent much of her childhood and adult life in NYC, attending the Wadleigh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, followed by studies at Cooper Union. She worked in fashion in New York, wrote poetry, and painted. In the 1970s she retired to Port Jervis, NY to live with her sister, during which time she made these ballpoint pen drawings on scraps of paper from magazines and newspapers, and saved them in photo albums. It’s the classic story of an overlooked or unknown artist’s work being discovered in an obscure location and getting posthumous recognition and a new standing in the art world. I’ll be very interested to see these in person. You can read more about this story here.

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