Archive for the ‘ O ’ Category


Dates: 1972-Present

Origin: International

Key Artists: Henry Darger

The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for Art Brut. The English term “outsider art” is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. Outsider art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1992). The term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the mainstream “art world,” regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work. In 1991, the first and only such organization dedicated to the study, exhibition and promotion of outsider art was formed in Chicago: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Chicago is often recognized for its concentration of self taught and outsider artists, among them — Henry Darger, Joseph Yoakum, Lee Godie, William Dawson, David Philpot, and Wesley Willis. Intuit maintains a non-profit museum, open to the public, which features exhibitions of art by intuitive, outsider, and self taught artists.

Wikipedia contributors. “Outsider art.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <>

Henry Darger



Dates: 1950-1965

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely

a journalist’s rhyming label, in the era of Pop art, for ‘optical’ art that relies entirely upon the sensations created by visual processes. It was an international form of geometric abstract painting and sculpture which assumed importance as a style in the 1960s, evolving from the work of artists like Josef Albers and Victor Vasarely, who became one of its leading exponents. Adopting theories from the psychology of perception, the Op artists manipulated colour, line, and shape to induce vibrant effects of shifting, flickering, and even dazzling surfaces, sometimes so startlingly that the work appears to throb with energy and movement. The geometric images, whether very simple or extraordinarily complex, and the colours are meticulously worked out in advance of painting to ensure a precise result. Thereafter, since technical rather than artistic skills were required, the painting was sometimes undertaken by studio assistants. The term Op art was first used anonymously in Time magazine (23 Oct. 1964), and a major exhibition, The Responsive Eye, followed in 1965 (New York, MoMa). Op art, particularly the work of the British painter Bridget Riley, was plagiarized by 1960s and 1970s fashion and popular graphics.

Jones, Yvonne. “Op art.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <;

Victor Vasarely