The real force behind these issues is the tremendous formal strength of the work. Not only do Outsider works compete (without a handicap) in the basic languages of colors, composition, surface, line, texture, spatiality and value, but they also possess tremendous humor, emotional impact, and deep, preverbal conceptual complexity, vitality and novelty. They also compete in price. Collectors have already discovered the work of Tammy Brakins, as well as Milton Davis‘ intricate black-and-white figurative ink drawings. But even their prices -- and we’re talking framed original painting -- top out at around $500. Equally substantial works are available for less than $100, with many original pieces going for as little as $5 or $10.
As the validity of The Art World‘s monopoly on cultural importance erodes, the relative value of Outsider and Insider will become more proportionate. Perhaps this will inspire academics and mainstream cultural workers to question some of the assumptions underlying their positions of authority, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. In the meantime, one thing is certain -- these prices won‘t last!
ECF ART CENTER HOLIDAY ART SALE | 3750 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (west of Crenshaw) | Saturday, December 7, noon--4 p.m. | (323) 290-2000