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Past Exhibitions

Outliers and American Vanguard Art

June 22–September 30, 2018

Self-taught artists—variously termed folk, primitive, visionary, naïve, outsider, and isolate—have played a significant role in the history of modernism, yet their contributions have been largely disregarded or forgotten. Organized by the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), this exhibition of 250 diverse works by more than 80 trained and untrained artists reveals how the mainstream art world has looked to artists without formal training for inspiration and innovation for more than 100 years.

Click on an image below to learn more.

“A groundbreaking show presents a new, inclusive vision of American Art”
The New York Times

About the Exhibition

Outliers and American Vanguard Art focuses on three key periods when the intersection of self-taught art with the mainstream has been at its most fertile: The First Wave includes the interwar years—particularly the aftermath of the Great Depression—through World War II; the Second Wave covers the “long” decade of the 1970s in the wake of the civil rights, feminist, gay liberation, and countercultural movements; and the Third Wave begins in the twilight of the twentieth century, when the long-held distinction between schooled and unschooled makers began to prove increasingly difficult to detect.

Contributing to these three great waves of interest in self-taught artists were groundbreaking exhibitions, artist encounters, and larger paradigm shifts that are the focus of this exhibition’s nine chronologically sequenced galleries. The great diversity of artists and artworks on display suggests that, while being an “outlier” implies distance from a norm, it also has defined a position of power central in shaping the course of twentieth-century art.

Explore the Outliers Interactive

Screenshot of an interactive featuring a grid of circular icons of artworks to click on.At the heart of this exhibition’s presentation of nearly 90 artists are themes of diversity and convergence that can be explored further through this interactive tool. Tap a thumbnail to learn more about the artist behind each featured work and discover connections between artists using the filters at left.

Organization and Support

Outliers and American Vanguard Art is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington
Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners

Logo for Fulton County.

Logo for Fulton County Arts and Culture.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Partner

Exhibition Series Sponsors

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation, The Antinori Foundation, Ann and Tom Cousins, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Jane and Hicks Lanier, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Barbara and Ron Balser, Corporate Environments, Peggy Foreman, James F. Kelly Charitable Trust, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, The Lubo Fund, Margot and Danny McCaul, Joyce and Henry Schwob

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Howell Exhibition Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, and Massey Charitable Trust