Weighing in at 188 pages, this issue of Patricide--one of the most illuminating and enthusiastic mags we now have regarding Surrealism in dialectic and practice--explores the concept of "The Outsider Artist". I have to admit that I was initially skeptical of this issue's theme, if only because I've always been a bit skeptical of the concept of "Outsider Art" for awhile now. What can it mean, really? That a person is "outside" of the mainstream doesn't necessarily give them more of a vantage point on aesthetics than, say, someone with a bad left knee. What matters, in the end, is the talent and work put into the art, not the artist's position in life.
This issue gave me a frank reminder of why this kind of rigid logic is not always enough. "Mystery and Meaning in Outsider Art" by Roger Cardinal is a good reminder that the reason we have "schools" like Surrealism, Dada, et al et al are indeed *because* of, rather than *in spite of*, individuals who fall on the margins of society. "Art Beyond Language & Intellect," an interview with Henry Boxer, "Inside the Outsiders by John Holt", "Art Therapy: Grappling With Significance, Signs of Presence by the aforementioned Roger Cardinal, "The Outsider" by Michael Paysden and "The Unwitting" by Edward Knight all give some solid relationality to the idea that if these individuals (many of whom suffer from bipolar disorder, panic and social anxiety, and a host of issues which have localized them into actual original thought and art through sometimes painful isolation) we would simply not have original perspectives much of the time. The truth about "Outsider Art", like so many things, is somewhere in the middle, and the Audacity of the Bizarre is to be found in these pages. Recommended.