Lisa Slominski was joined in-conversation by Nicola Wright (Curator, Exhibitions, Studio Voltaire) to celebrate the launch of Nonconformers: A New History of Self-Taught Artists (Yale University Press: 2022).
This new publication traces a global history of self-taught artists, advocating for a nuanced understanding of modern and contemporary art which is often challenged by the establishment.
When the art world has paid attention to makers from outside the cultural establishment, including so-called ‘outsider’ and ‘self-taught artists’, it has generally been within limiting categories. Yet these artists, including many women, people with disabilities, and people of colour, have had a transformative influence on the history of modern art.
Nonconformers includes work by well-known figures such as Henry Darger, Hilma af Klint, and Bill Traylor, and examines how self-taught artists factored into key movements of twentieth-century art. An international group of contributors addresses topics such as the development of l’Art Brut in France and the impact of the Black Folk Art exhibition in America, as well as the creative process of artists working outside of traditional studios. The publication highlights the work of contemporary practitioners which include artists recently commissioned by Studio Voltaire, such as William Scott and Nnena Kalu.