Is Jim Carrey an Outsider Artist? With His Debut Booth at the Outsider Art Fair, the Actor May Be Redefining the Term

Maccarone's booth dedicated to Carrey is just one of the highlights of the newly released exhibitor list for the January fair.

Jim Carrey painting in his studio. Courtesy of the artist.

For its 27th edition, the Outsider Art Fair will welcome 67 galleries to New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion in January. This year, the fair includes such notable exhibitors as first-time participant Maccarone, which will present a solo booth dedicated to political cartoons by comedian and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind actor Jim Carrey.

The gallery first exhibited Carrey’s drawings at its Los Angeles space in October, where it showed roughly 80 works on paper and one painting. The works were political in nature, growing out of a series of scabrous cartoons the actor has posted to social media, and timed to coincide with the November 6 midterm elections. At the Outsider Art Fair, Carrey will present new material, created partly in response to the results of the midterms.

But can a Hollywood actor really be described as an outsider artist?

“While Carrey certainly is a self-taught artist, nobody would say that Carrey is a culturally isolated figure as some other outsider artists are,” Andrew Edlin, director of the Outsider Art Fair, told artnet News. “Even though we’re more connected [to art] by technology, Carrey shows that we’re still discovering incredible examples of work by people who aren’t part of the art world, aren’t schooled, and came to art without career aspirations or without the audience being a driving factor.”

Edlin says he invited Michele Maccarone to exhibit Carrey’s work at the fair after he came across it in her Los Angeles gallery. “Michele Maccarone is actually hip to, and savvy to, outsider art,” he said, noting that she mounted a show of the colorful works of Eugene von Bruenchenhein, who produced thousands of photographs, paintings, and other works in his Milwaukee home, in 2014. “So when I saw that she did a show of Jim Carrey’s work it was a logical decision to give her a call.”

Indeed, Carrey’s participation in the fair comes at a time when the definition of what it means to be an artist has never been more in flux. Is Artificial Intelligence an outsider artist? (Does an algorithm count as “formal training”?) What about a Hollywood director working in VR like Alejandro González Iñárritu?

Jim Carrey, The Great Spewdini (2018). Image courtesy of Jim Carrey and Maccarone.

Other highlights of the 2019 edition of the fair include artworks by some of the biggest names in the field, including James Castle and Von Bruenchenhein at Fleisher/Ollman (Philadelphia); William Edmondson at Ricco/Maresca (New York); and Anna Zemánková at Cavin-Morris (New York). Classic art brut will also get a place at Pol Lemétais gallery from Saint Souver de Moustier, France, which is bringing works by Madge Gill and Carlo Zinelli.

This year’s fair will also present a memorial booth dedicated to the late dealer Phyllis Kind, who died last month and dedicated much of her career to overlooked artists who had not been formally trained, including Martín Ramírez and Henry Darger.

See the full exhibitor list for the 2019 edition of the Outsider Art Fair below. 

Almost Art Project
Peg Alston Fine Arts
American Primitive Gallery
Atsuko Barouh
James Barron Art
BigTown Gallery
Galerie Bonheur
Henry Boxer Gallery
Norman Brosterman
Chris Byrne
Cavin-Morris Gallery
Center for Creative Works
Creative Growth Art Center
Creativity Explored
Andrew Edlin
Esperanza Projects
First Street Gallery
Fleisher/Ollman Gallery
Fountain House Gallery
Fred Giampietro Gallery
God Love We Deliver
Good Luck Gallery
Galerie Gugging
Carl Hammer Gallery
Marion Harris
Hill Gallery
Hirschl & Adler Modern
Humbaba Fine Art
Just Folk
Yukiko Koide Presents
Korea Art Brut
Tolna Searle Projects and Krowswork
LAND Studio & Gallery / NAP Projects
Jennifer Lauren Gallery
Galerie Pol Lemétais
Lindsay Gallery
Joshua Lowenfels Works of Art
Main Street Gallery
Mariposa Unusual Arts
Mason Fine Art
Nisqually Gallery
One Mile Gallery
The Pardee Collection
Galerie Hervé Perdriolle
Portrait Society Gallery
Steven S. Powers Works of Art and Americana
Project Onward
Pure Vision Arts
Raw Vision
Ricco/Maresca Gallery
SAGE Studio
Julie Saul Gallery
Stewart Gallery
Phyllis Stigliano Art Projects
Tanner-Hill Gallery
Tops Gallery
Winter Works on Paper

The Outsider Art Fair comes to the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, January 17-20, 2019.

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