Astrology And Outsider Art

outsider art“The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: [aʁ bʁyt], “raw art” or “rough art”), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane-asylum inmates…”


Forty years later, I wonder if there is still such a thing as and outsider artist. In 1972, Uranus (rebel) was in Libra (art).  Today, Saturn is in Libra near the same degree which is probably why I am asking this question.

Personally, I don’t think so-called “outsider artists” are now mainstream. The revolution is over, see?

What do you think?

12 thoughts on “Astrology And Outsider Art”

  1. What is outsider and radical, and what is just the Emperor’s New Clothes?

    Is it good? Is it Art? Is it trendy, fashionable, a stock certificate-investment in the shape of art?

    These questions drive me nuts! 🙂

    How about this regarding Jackson Pollack:

    From Wikipedia:

    Some posthumous exhibitions of Pollock’s work were sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization to promote American culture and values backed by the CIA. Certain left-wing scholars, most prominently Eva Cockcroft, argue that the U.S. government and wealthy elite embraced Pollock and abstract expressionism in order to place the United States firmly in the forefront of global art and devalue socialist realism.[37][38] In the words of Cockcroft, Pollock became a “weapon of the Cold War”.[39]

  2. I dunno, I read about a woman who injected herself with horse blood and walked around with hoof-shoes as part of her “performance art”. Seems, pretty kooky but not particularly revolutionary haha.

  3. I would agree that the revolution is over, and most of it has been “done” to some degree. However, I will always believe that there is more to say.

  4. Jackson Pollock lived well within the boundaries of traditional culture and was celebrated in his lifetime by prominent critics, collectors and museums. Though he rejected conventional methods, he was a consummate insider, a member of the abstract expressionist movement, and a classically trained painter, not an outsider.

    Outsider art is something else entirely — in many cases an outsider artist is discovered after his or her death, when a relative enters a hoard-like apartment filled to the brim with paintings or sculpture that is completely unique. This person isn’t “reacting” to an art movement that preceded him in the way that Monet or Cezanne or Pollock did. This person is making work from an inner world entirely and would not be concerned at all with revolution, except in the most personal, unknowable ways. Henry Darger is probably the most prominent 20th century American example of an outsider artist.

  5. Elsa, what made you think of this?
    I would be really interested to know…

    …Especially because, I actually used to work with Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago ( And, as part of my graduate thesis at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I completed contemporary fieldwork on Outsider Art in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

    !!! So, I guess I should add to this thread !!!

    My thoughts:
    Outsider Art is a reference to art created “outside” of the arts mainstream and/or what is considered to be acceptable or popular due to critical acclaim within the field, which is a fairly contentious idea. And, since these artists are mostly self-taught (no formal arts training), they are deemed as being truly “visionary” or “intuitive” artists.

    And, while I know quite a bit about Outsider Art as an art historical reference, I agree with Elsa and I think it is a very complex and complicated contemporary issue for the Arts.

    After, studying Outsider Art in Europe, I discovered that it is contemporary practice to consider the art of the developmentally disabled and/or psychologically/mentally disordered to be the “new wave” of Outsider Art, which makes me even more incredulous towards the term usage.

    While I do think Outsider Art from last century has a simple purity of expression due to the fact that many of these artists used their imagination to create self-made worlds (before TV and the computer), it is also really misleading.

    It is similar to labeling someone’s art as “naïve” or “primitive” or “child-like” because they lack formal art training.

    And, honestly to believe that any individual is so isolated from the mainstream these days and has little to no has contact with the popular culture is kinda foolish.

    I think visual expression is a universal language!
    Training or no training.
    So, I guess “visionary” is relative these days.
    (…says me with Uranus on my Ascendant…hahaha!)

    Astrologically, I wonder where my interest in Outsider Art stems from?!

  6. jess – thanks for that. You deserve a response from me!

    This came to my mind because I am working on my book which is actually a compilation of stories. As I run through the stories, I am recalling various comments people have made about my writing. One person wrote a piece on their blog about “wonderful outsider artists and storytellers…” and I was one of the three people she named as examples. I was pretty flattered at the time, just to be recognized as a strong example of *something*.

    That was 5 or 6 years ago and in the current day, I just started wondering if my stories were still “outsider”.

    As for the astrology, at first I thought of Uranus. I have Jupiter in aspect to Uranus so that fits as Jupiter = stories. I think my stories actually are “outsider” but I don’t understand the term the way you do…er, correctly. To me, an outsider is a maverick and most definitely I think I fit that description.

    This concerns me at this point. It may not concern me tomorrow, I don’t know. Most likely I’ll just forget.

  7. Ahhhh. I see!
    Well, maverick is most certainly true!

    And, honestly, after studying art for 8 years, the people and things that stand out the most can usually be linked to being a maverick, being a visionary, being progressive, being intuitive, and being an individual.
    Oddly, not wholly surrounding innovation or newness.

    I have learned the greatest gift that I have with art and expression is my ability to connect the dots and/or how to weave a web. You have the ability, too. Its an art.

    Its like what Jim Jarmusch said:

    Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”

    Good luck on your book…it will be amazing

  8. the norms change a the culture adapts.
    i’m sure they will always be fringes, but what is fringe now may be normal in a couple decaes.

  9. Inasmuch as I’m fascinated by art history, and I think labels and classifying of movements are useful to grasp such a rich and complex topic, I don’t much like labels. They usually seem to me to be a cynical attempt by someone to control other people’s expectations. Kind of like advertising.

    The beautiful thing about today is that we have access to so much art – from the past, from today. It is daunting, and sometimes we miss the context. But we can certainly find something that resonates with us if only we look.

    Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my creative projects, I focus on the craft, the nitty gritty. The devil is in the details (for me, a Virgo). Interpretations are fluid and layered and more easily appreciated once you feel you’ve done your best.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top