Outsider Art is Inside
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLAH 2003
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
When Hans Prinzhorn wrote about the similarities between the “expressive impulses” of mental patients and contemporary artists in 1922 he could not have anticipated critic Peter Schjeldahl’s response to the inclusion of Outsider art in the 2013 Carnegie International: “When, as now, sincerity seems schooled out of professional artists, the straight stuff of it in demotic work becomes a heart’s oasis…our emotional and spiritual uses for art matter beyond our pleasures in formal sophistication.” Fostered by psychiatrists and by modern artists from Kandinsky to Dubuffet, the appreciation of what has been called Outsider, Self-Taught, Visionary, or Vernacular art has changed not only what is considered art but also what is considered important, generative, and authentic art. This class will explore where, when, how, and why those changes happened, through readings, discussions, and case studies.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: University undergraduate degree students, freshman and sophomores only. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.


Open to Undergraduate students.