What to see at the 2020 Outsider Art Fair in New York

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, 'No. 877, May 30 1960' (1960)

Now in its 28th edition, the Outsider Art Fair will take over the Metropolitan Pavilion from January 16 through 19.

This year, the fair will feature 65 exhibitors from the United States, Europe, South America and Southeast Asia, reflecting the ever-broadening interest in artists transcending the boundaries of the mainstream art world. 

First-timers at the biannual event include Tokyo's ACM Gallery, New Delhi's Arushi Arts, Montreal's Galerie Robert Poulin and Santa Monica's bG Gallery, which will display the expressionistic work of American self-taught artist and renowned mathematician Gregory Horndeski.

The 2020 OAF New York will also present two group exhibitions as part of its "Curated Spaces" section, respectively titled "The Hummingbird Paints Fragrant Songs: Sara Flores and Celia Vasquez Yui" and "Relishing the Raw: Contemporary Artists Collecting Outsider Art."

While "The Hummingbird Paints Fragrant Songs" will solely focus on Shipibo artists Sara Flores and Celia Vasquez Yui, "Relishing the Raw" will offer a fresh point of view on collecting outsider art

This presentation will feature paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings by such notable self-taught artists as Vahakn Arslanian, Morton Bartlett, Hawkins Bolden, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Mary T. Smith, Janet Sobel and Miroslav Tichý.

These pieces all come from the private collections of contemporary art superstars like KAWS, Cindy Sherman, Maurizio Cattelan and Jenny Holzer, offering visitors an insider look on why the self-taught genre is having a moment.

"Artists who collect outsider art often see an affinity between the work they make and the work they collect. They find a purity in outsider art. It wasn't made for a commercial art market -- it was made from a compulsion, an obsession, or to give an image to a vision," curator Paul Laster told the Observer.

Long perceived as the art market's poor stepchild, outsider art is gaining wider enduring recognition, as testified to by Christie's upcoming auction dedicated to the niche self-taught genre.

The sale, held during the 2020 OAF New York on January 17, will feature masterpieces by the category's top artists like Henry Darger and William Edmondson, as well as significant works by up-and-coming names in the field.

Additional information about the 2020 OAF New York can be found on the fair's website, including the full list of participating galleries.