Art by Artists Outside the Mainstream

Exhibition: January 23 – April 5, 2014
Reception: January 30, 6-8 pm, MOA Gallery

Create is a major group exhibition presenting an exceptional selection of the most important works created over the past twenty years by artists involved with the three pioneering non-profit organizations: Creativity Explored, Creative Growth Art Center, and the National Institute for Art and Disabilities Art Center (NIAD). These organizations were founded with the belief that exceptional creativity can emerge in anyone and they support the work of artists with developmental disabilities through a unique and highly successful approach to group studio practice. “The artists featured in this exhibition—all of whom have some form of developmental disability—possess the talent, independence, and depth of feeling that makes the most powerful art possible,” says curator Lawrence Rinder.

This survey exhibition sparks critical dialogue concerning the categories of contemporary art practice, especially the notion of “outsider art,” and challenges audiences to rethink the limitations of such categories. By way of touring the exhibition and thus raising the visibility and awareness of the artists and the centers in which they belong, it is clear why works by these artists have been increasingly recognized as a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art, both nationally and internationally, among artists, curators, critics, and collectors, as well as the broader cultural community, and are now in the permanent collections of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jeremy Deller, Chris Offili, and Peter Doig and in prominent institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Among the artists included are Judith Scott, William Scott, John Patrick McKenzie, Evelyn Reyes, and Dan Miller. Each artist has sustained an art-making practice at the highest level for many years, and the range of their work is extraordinary: Judith Scott’s visceral sculpture utilizes found materials wrapped in knotted yarn or sting; William Scott’s humorous paintings incorporate sardonic urban motifs; John Patrick McKenzie’s lyrical work employs the repetition of text drawn from pop culture, current events, and his immediate surroundings; Evelyn Reyes’s pastel drawings feature bold, minimalistic shapes; and Dan Miller’s intricate work includes drawings and paintings incorporating layered text. Multiple threads come together in this exhibition: the experience of over a hundred exceptional works of art, the lives of twenty remarkable artists, the story of three pioneering art centers, and the history of the disability movement itself.

To learn more about this exhibition, please visit the museum’s facebook page and youtube videos.

ICI Create is a traveling exhibition curated by Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs, and organized by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and ICI (Independent Curators International), New York. The exhibition and the accompanying catalog were made possible, in part, by Dr. James B. Pick and Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Additional support for the tour is made possible in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the ICI Board of Trustees.