Outsider art master artists fill Intuit’s galleries

January 23, 2020

Outsider art master artists fill Intuit’s galleries

Drawing of two trains moving left through a spiraling landscape
Martín Ramírez (Mexican, active in America, 1895-1963). Untitled (Trains and Tunnels) A, B, (detail), c. 1960-63. Graphite, gouache, crayon and colored pencil on pieced paper, 17 x 78 in. (43.2 x 198.1 cm). Copyright Estate of Martín Ramírez

January 23, 2020—CHICAGO—Outsider Art: The Collection of Victor F. Keen (on view February 6–September 7, 2020) will have a seven-month exhibition run in Chicago, where enthusiasts have long promoted this art, sparked, in part, by artist Jean Dubuffet’s 1951 speech at the Arts Club of Chicago endorsing the new genre.

Outsider Art: The Collection of Victor F. Keen features highlights drawn from the collection of the prominent Philadelphia-based art collector. This iconic exhibition showcases one of the premier collections of outsider art in the United States, featuring more than 35 of the genre’s most famous artists, such as Martín Ramírez, George Widener, Lee Godie, Bill Traylor, James Castle and William Hawkins.

The exhibition’s time on view will be filled with engaging public programs and educational events, including an artist talk with George Widener; a panel discussion with the collector, curator and an outsider art gallerist; and more.

Notable about Keen’s collection is its depth and breadth: American and European artists, artists working at workshops such as Gugging, and living artists, including Ken Grimes and George Widener.

Keen began his collection of Catalin radios and outsider art in the ’70s. While he acknowledges the shortcomings of the term “outsider art,” he continues to favor art created by those often placed in this realm: artists making work, often from found materials, created for their own purposes and outside of the commercial art world.

“The biographical narrative of every outsider artist is unique, but most share one or more of the following: no or only limited art training; living with mental or physical infirmities; poverty; educational deficit; being held back by racial discrimination,” says Keen. “I have found these aspects of the outsider art world compelling, including the fascinating (though almost always terribly challenging and unfortunate) variations in the individual artists’ personal circumstances. But personal challenges and disadvantages for the artists aside, the art must stand on its own.”

As one of the leading museums in the world dedicated to presenting outsider and self-taught art, exhibiting the collection of Victor F. Keen is a seminal recognition of an incredibly powerful group of makers and visionaries.

This exhibition is organized by Victor F. Keen and Bethany Mission Gallery (Philadelphia) in partnership with Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (Pueblo, Colo.) and Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. When not on tour, these artworks are typically housed in the Bethany Mission Gallery, a former Quaker meeting house and school.


Exhibition Opening Reception
Thursday, February 6, 2020, 5-8 p.m.

In Conversation: The Making of the Victor F. Keen Collection
Saturday, February 8, 2020, 2 p.m.


Established in 1991, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is one of the premier museums of outsider and self-taught art in the world, offering exhibitions; resources for scholars and students; a permanent collection of more than 1,200 works of art; the Henry Darger Room Collection; the Robert A. Roth Study Center, a non-circulating collection with a primary focus in the fields of outsider and contemporary self-taught art; and educational programming for people of all interest levels and backgrounds.

Intuit is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; and Monday school holidays.