History of SELF-TAUGHT

Jean Dubuffet, foreword to Art Brut by Michel Thévoz (1976)

The consideration given to the work of professional artists has had the effect of conditioning the public, of creating a state of mind which makes it responsive only to the art displayed in museums and galleries or to art that depends on the same frame of reference, the same means of expression. Any works which, out of ignorance or obstinacy, depart from the accepted codes are given no more than a passing or condescending glance; or, at best, they are granted the status of a marginal art. Yet it may be that this is a misguided view. It may be that artistic creation, with all that it calls for in the way of free inventiveness, takes place at a higher pitch of tension in the nameless crowd of ordinary people than in the circles that think they have the monopoly of it. It may even be that art thrives in its healthiest form among these ordinary people, because practiced without applause or profit, for the maker’s own delight; and that the over-publicized activity of professionals produces merely a specious from of art, all too often watered down and doctored. If this were so, it is rather cultural art that should be described as marginal.

Excerpt source:
Jean Dubuffet, foreword to Art Brut, by Michel Thévoz (Geneva: Editions d'Art Albert Skira, 1976), 7.

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