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Their Purpose Wraps Around the Back of Things: Outsider and Visionary Art

Their Purpose Wraps Around the Back of Things: Outsider and Visionary Art


Explores the genre of Outsider and Visionary Art

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Where to Visit: Two museums

American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore MD


INTUIT: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art


Exhibition: A tour of "PostSecret"

Site-Specific: Salvation Mountain, Slab City, CA

"Outsider Art" by Kay Ryan

Most of it’s too dreary
or too cherry red
If it’s a chair, it’s
covered with things
the savior said
or should have said—
dense admonishments
in nail polish
too small to be read.
If it’s a picture,
the frame is either
burnt matches glued together
or a regular frame painted over
to extend the picture. There never
seems to be a surface equal
to the needs of these people.
Their purpose wraps
around the backs of things
and under arms;
they gouge and hatch
and glue on charms
till likable materials—
apple crates and canning funnels—
lose their rural ease. We are not
pleased the way we thought
we would be pleased.