Comstock's magazine 0519 - May 2019 - Page 42

n OUTSIDER ART highly visible exhibitions like the Outsider Art Fair, an annual four-day event founded in 1993 that hosts more than 60 inter- national exhibitors displaying works from “artists pushing the boundaries of creativity.” Former SCN clients Bob Sulin, Jon Espegren, Jeff Work- ing, Wendy Chu and Jerry Williams have been shown at the Outsiders Art Fair, and SCN’s inclusion at national gatherings as well as at local galleries and events like Sac Open Studios, Verge’s annual tour of more than 250 artist studios around the region — SCN was a featured stop last year — has helped art- ists find recognition outside the walls of the classroom. “Art shows make me totally excited,” Franklin, the SCN client, says. This feeling of excitement is one that permeates pro- grams like SCN, where the focus is on the process of making rather than the promise of selling. (When artists like Frank- lin do sell a piece, Berger says the artist keeps the amount of the sale minus the cost of materials.) But as with any art form on public display, buyers often come calling — and when that happens, it’s important for program directors and gallery owners to know how to handle an often complex situation. WHO SELLS OUTSIDER ART? In March 2013, an untitled mixed-media work of colored pen- cil, wax and other materials on paper depicting a man on horseback by outsider artist Martín Ramírez fetched more than $270,000 at Paris auction house Cornette de Saint- Cyr, setting a sales record for the artist. His other works had reached prices as high as $95,000 (at Christie’s in 2003) and $134,500 (at Sotheby’s in 2011). Ramírez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the ear- ly 1900s and worked for the railroads in California between 1925 and 1930. After suffering a head injury or stroke and be- coming homeless, he was institutionalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Ramírez spent more than 30 years in in- stitutions, first at Stockton State Hospital and later at DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn. At DeWitt, Tarmo Pasto, a visiting art professor, came across the arresting artwork Ramírez had been making with the materials around him — brown paper bags, examination-table paper, oatmeal, fruit juice, saliva and crayons. Ramírez’s art was eventually introduced to the wider world by Pasto, artist Jim Nutt and Chicago-based art dealer Phyllis Kind. Since Kind’s first solo exhibition of Ramírez’s work in 1973, the artist’s drawings and collages have become some of the most highly valued examples of outsider art on the market. But not everyone has such a story. “It’s a crappy roll of the dice,” says Moe, who believes some of Ramírez’s market value is due to the finite avail- ability of his work since his death in 1963. His work didn’t Making Asphalt Beautiful California’s Premiere Applicator of GAF StreetPrint & StreetBond and Trafficscapes Products by Ennis-Flint 42 | May 2019 Asphalt Impressions 916-383-0441 CA# 900385