Jenifer P. Borum

  • Peter Pinchbeck

    Constituting the first significant showing of Peter Pinchbeck’s work in New York since the memorial exhibition that followed his passing in 2000, these tandem presentations offered a representative range of his formidable oeuvre, which still awaits critical recognition. Although primarily a painter (AbEx lured him to New York from his native England in 1960), Pinchbeck first became known for his Minimalist constructions, one of which was featured in the watershed “Primary Structures” show at the Jewish Museum in 1966. He would soon shift his full attention back to painting, devoting his efforts

  • Philadelphia Wireman

    For the past decade and a half, the small, wire-trussed assemblages made by an anonymous artist known only as the Philadelphia Wireman have circulated busily within the folk/outsider art world, but the mystery of their origin has remained unsolved. Over a thousand of these enigmatic objects were found on a Philadelphia street corner by a student and brought to the attention of local outsider art dealer John Ollman, who has worked diligently to preserve and exhibit them at different venues, Matthew Marks Gallery’s minuscule Twenty-first Street annex being the latest.

    It is widely assumed, due to

  • “Coming Home!: Self-Taught Artists, the Bible, and the American South”

    “Coming Home!: Self-Taught Artists, the Bible, and the American South” was a Trojan horse of sorts. Organized by the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, it quietly infiltrated New York via the newly established Museum of Biblical Art. There it challenged the folk/outsider art establishment by unapologetically celebrating Southern culture and evangelical Christianity as the context best suited to facilitate an understanding of the region’s self-taught artists. “Coming Home!” was part of a growing critical/curatorial move toward the reclamation of such artists from both the carnivalesque

  • Sister Gertrude Morgan

    This retrospective, which featured the paintings, sculpture, writings, and music of New Orleans–based self-taught visionary artist Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900–1980), reflected a recent shift within the hybrid field of folk/outsider art from market-driven sensationalism toward critical self-awareness and increased curatorial accountability. Morgan, an evangelical African American from Alabama who believed herself to have been called by God to preach the Gospel through a range of expressive practices, is the kind of artist often misrepresented by the discourse of outsider art that is the legacy

  • “Heavenly Visions”

    This exhibition, the first major presentation of Shaker “gift” drawings and song manuscripts since 1979, shattered a number of common misconceptions about this centuries-old culture. The pared-down aesthetic one might associate with the Shakers through familiarity with their furniture is nowhere to be found in these bright, minutely detailed works in pen and watercolor on paper. And the widely held notion that making these works constituted a benign pastime for women was countered by the curatorial affirmation of the drawings’ powerful social, theological, and aesthetic significance in Shaker

  • William Edmondson

    FOR MORE THAN SIXTY YEARS, the limestone sculptures of William Edmondson (1874–1951) have stood patiently at the border of art's mainstream and its margins. When his minimal, reductive work came to the attention of Alfred Barr, the self-taught carver became the first African American to be granted a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. Yet despite this early crossover, Edmondson's work has been consistently ignored by a museum-market machine that privileges a baroque outsider sensibility. Now “The Art of William Edmondson,” a traveling retrospective organized by the Cheekwood

  • Leroy Person

    The work of self-taught artist Leroy Person (1907–85) has largely escaped the pull of the burgeoning folk/outsider market during the last two decades. Person’s minor-key sensibility may set him apart from the heavy-handed expressionism favored by institutions in that field, but his furniture constructions, carved sculpture, and crayon drawings occupy a powerful position within the margin even as they fruitfully challenge its borders. Comprising thirty-three works, Person’s recent solo debut provided a modest yet effective retrospective.

    Person’s intensely private, spiritual vision defies easy

  • Anna Zemánková

    A consistent source of formal and iconographic inspiration to academically trained, historically engaged artists throughout the twentieth century (from Paul Klee to Max Ernst to Julian Schnabel), talented autodidacts like Czech artist Anna Zemánková (1908–86) have too often been discussed using a pseudo-critical vocabulary (such as “compulsive visionaries,” coined by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992) that reads more like a diagnosis than an appraisal. Although the circumstances of this artist’s life might invite the former, the eighteen oil-pastel drawings that made up the show,

  • “The Direct Eye”

    With this exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has joined the very short list of major institutions willing to take on the challenge of contextualizing their holdings of work by self-taught artists within an expansive art-historical narrative. A selection of paintings and wall-mounted assemblages compared the work of four self-taught greats—Grandma Moses, Earl Cunningham, Horace Pippin, and Bill Traylor—with fourteen academically trained artists, ranging from Paul Sample to Alison Saar. In revealing the formal and thematic similarities between the two groups, the show staked out a decidedly

  • Forrest Myers

    For decades, Forrest Myers has been exploring the territory that comprises the no-man’s-land between design and sculpture, consistently forsaking a purist dedication to either in favor of a stubborn hybridity that has ensured his excommunication from both. His work invites us to indulge in the understandable impulse to buttonhole his output as “artsy chairs,” “functional sculpture,” or any other thumbnail epithets connoting a fall from disciplinary grace. But to accept this invitation is to miss the richness of Myers’ sense of play, a materially embedded, deconstructive wit that seriously

  • Red Grooms

    “New York Stories” is Red Grooms’ latest attempt to present a slice of Big Apple life. Nearly twenty years after his “Ruckus Manhattan” exhibition, Grooms is still primarily interested in portraying this city’s quotidian “ruckus”—his word for the chaos defining late-20th-century urban civilization—with a healthy dose of comedy. The artist’s trademark sculptopictoramas," mixed-media assemblages combining two-dimensional and freestanding elements, are especially suited to the task of characterizing the excitement and claustrophobia unique to New York. By mixing the dizzying pictorial recessions

  • William Daley

    For nearly forty years William Daley has pushed the boundaries of the ceramic tradition. Daley’s recent retrospective reflected his sustained exploration of the vessel form, focusing on the dynamic relationship between his drawings and works in clay. Comprising 45 pieces, dating from the mid ’50s to the early ’90s, this collection of both studies and finished works enabled the viewer to trace Daley’s ongoing effort to place the ceramic tradition in an expanded context—to explore its origins in the ancient ritual forms of diverse cultures, as well as to forge a relationship with architectural