Art Brut

Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses - where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere - are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professions. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.

Raw art, 'raw' in that it has not been through the 'cooking' process: the art world of art schools, galleries, museums. Originally art by psychotic individuals who existed almost completely outside culture and society. Strictly speaking it refers only to the Collection de l'Art Brut

Jean Dubuffet's original 1945 term for the works that he collected and revered; later adopted by the Collection de l'Art Brut at Lausanne. Art Brut means 'Raw Art'. Raw because it is 'uncooked' or 'unadulterated' by culture. Raw because it is creation in its most direct and uninhibited form. Not only were the works unique and original but their creators were seen to exist outside established culture and society. The purest of Art Brut creators would not consider themselves artists, nor would they even feel that they were producing art at all. Art Brut is visual creation at its purest - a spontaneous psychic flow from brain to paper. No works of Art Brut are allowed to be exhibited away from the Collection at Lausanne. Equally, the name 'Art Brut' is not permitted to be used except as a description of the works in the Collection. Similarly, the Collection de l'Art Brut insists that it alone can officially designate any newly discovered works as Art Brut.

Neuve Invention Used to describe artists who, although marginal, have some interaction with mainstream culture. They may be doing art part-time for instance. The expression was coined by Dubuffet too; strictly speaking it refers only to a special part of the Collection de l'Art Brut.
Folk Art Folk art originally suggested crafts and decorative skills associated with peasant communities in Europe - though presumably it could equally apply to any indigenous culture. It has broadened to include any product of practical craftsmanship and decorative skill - everything from chain-saw animals to hub-cap buildings. A key distinction between folk and outsider art is that folk art typically embodies traditional forms and social values, where outsider art stands in some marginal relationship to society's mainstream.
Marginal Art/Art Singulier Essentially the same as Neuve Invention; refers to artists on the margins of the art world.
Visionary Art/Intuitive Art Raw Vision Magazine's preferred general terms for Outsider Art. It describes them as deliberate umbrella terms. However Visionary Art unlike other definitions here can often refer to the subject matter of the works, which includes images of a spiritual or religious nature. Intuitive art is probably the most general term available. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is dedicated to the collection and display of such artwork.
Naïve Art Another grey area. Untrained artists who aspire to "normal" artistic status, i.e. they have a much more conscious interaction with the mainstream art world than do Outsider Artists.
Visionary Environments Buildings and sculpture parks built by visionary artists - range from decorated houses, to large areas incorporating a large number of individual sculptures with a tightly associated theme. Examples include Watts Towers by Simon Rodia, Buddha Park and Sala Keoku by Bunleua Sulilat, and The Palais Ideal by Ferdinand Cheval.
Naif Art The naif or primitive painters remain within the mainstream of painting proper, even if they fail ingenuously to practise its style. However, they accept its subjects, technique (generally oils) and even its values, because they hope for public, if not official recognition.
Marginal Art/Art Singulier The works of artists, usually, but not exclusively, self-taught, that are close to Art Brut and Outsider artists, both in appearance and directness of expression. These are the artists 'on the margins', that grey area of definition that lies between Outsider Art and normal mainstream art, very similar to Dubuffet's Neuve Invention category. Art Singulier encompasses French marginal artists.
Folk Art A simple and direct term that has become much used - and over-used - especially in North America. Originally pertaining to the indigenous crafts and decorative skills of peasant communities in Europe, the term was later appllied to the simply made practical objects of colonial days - a combination of charm and practical craftmanship. In contemporary terms, Folk Art can cover anything from chain-saw animals to hub-cap buildings. The crossover with Outsider Art is undeniable, but most Folk Art has its own traditions and is often very different from the psychic flow of Art Brut.
Neuve Invention Dubuffet realised that there existed many creators whose work was of comparable power and inventiveness to Art Brut, but their greater contact with normal society and the awareness they had of their art works precluded their inclusion within the strict Art Brut category. These creators were often humble workers who created in their spare time, or eccentric and untrained artists trying to make a living from their work - some of whom had dealings with commercial galleries. As an acknowledgement to them he formed his "Annex Collection"; in 1982 this became the "Neuve Invention" section of the Collection de l'Art Brut.
Visionary Art/Intuitive Art Both of these are deliberate umbrella terms, used together they can include almost everything of value in the field, including much tribal art and the urban folk art of the third world, as well as most of the works described above. They are safe and honest general terms that avoid the specifics of Outsider Art or Folk Art.
Naïve Art Often confused with Outsider and Visionary art, this term refers to untrained artists who depict largely realistic scenes, often in minute detail, with people, animals, and other aspects of the observed world, sometimes combined with fantasy images. They often aspire to normal artistic status and are usually very different from the visionaries to be found in the pages of Raw Vision, and may often be seen as quite sophisticated amateurs verging on professionalism.
Visionary Environments The environments, buildings and sculpture parks built by intuitive artists almost defy definition. They have become known by various terms, Visionary Environments and Contemporary Folk Art Environments being perhaps the most appropriate in current use. Although Outsider Art has been used to describe the environments, some feel the label to be insulting to these particular creators, many of whom are integrated members of their local communities. Another popular term, especially in the US, is Grassroots Art, which can also cover the more humble expressions and constructions of ordinary folk in both town and country.
Copyright 2009 Tesseract Fillms