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Dog painted to look like a tiger, Zhengzhou, Henann (Photo MAXPPP-agence de presse)

Work / Art

Publication: Phaidon’s latest book celebrates the joys of outsider art

“Art is not always things created by people who call themselves artists,” said writer Barry Schwabsky, an observation that sums up an interesting new book from Phaidon. As shifting cultural, social and technological contexts change the way we look at art and how we define what is or isn’t worthy of this appellation, authors David Carrier and Joachim Pissarro have put together a collection of work that explores this brave new world. It’s a celebration of the kind of imagery which blows up the blogosphere but which wouldn’t normally trouble the so-called art establishment.

As the book’s editor Jennifer Lawson explains in this interview it’s not meant to be an iconoclastic statement of intent. “We’ve tried to avoid being too prescriptive or dogmatic,” she said. "I think it’s important to say that we’re not disparaging in any way towards the established art world, we just really took on board Joachim and David’s view that we should be looking at everything outside that as well.

“Art is not always things created by people who call themselves artists.”

Barry Schwabsky

“Secondly, the book doesn’t hammer a viewpoint. It doesn’t say that you have to consider every work presented in the book as art. Instead, it presents all these different works and explains some of the stories behind why they were created and asks the question: shouldn’t we perhaps be considering this to be art in the way that we consider the great works that are presented in galleries or museums to be art?”

And when you’re combining these kinds of big, timely ideas with such brilliant imagery, you’re onto a winner. After all, that dog looks like a tiger! 

Wild Art! is out now.

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