2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Beyond the Outside: Inside Henry Darger's Legacy
Victoria L. Smith
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Dr. Sara Orel, and Prof. Martha L. Rose, Faculty Mentors

Early twentieth-century American artist Henry Darger combined intricately textured monsters, horned naked children, and bloody disemboweled adults in his fantastical illustrations accompanying his narrative In the Realms of the Unreal. The three hundred collaged paintings continue to perplex audiences as they reveal a man whose life and work were full of paradoxes. His pieces illuminate an inexperienced yet resourceful artist, an uninformed yet imaginative mind, and a reclusive genius who sought the company of his fantasy children. Due to the circumstances of his life Darger is accepted as an Outsider artist. This paper will introduce the conditions of Outsider art, examine Darger as an Outsider artist, and then suggest that the influence of his work transcends the boundaries of Outsider art. While continuing to serve as a muse and inspiration to today's contemporary artists, Darger's legacy has moved from the outside and now maintains a foothold inside contemporary culture.

Keywords: Henry Darger, Outsider art, disability, contemporary , sexuality, Chicago, painting

Topic(s):Art - Art History
Disability and the Arts

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 114-4
Location: OP 2210
Time: 8:45

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