Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Henry Darger is one of my all time favorite artists, ever. He is considered an outsider artist, not making work to make art for the world and the viewer, but only for himself. He taught himself to draw by copying over catalogs and other imagery, devised ways to show perspective as he was never formally taught. He kept intricate and heavily detailed journals recording the day's weather, and if you look you can often see people in the shapes of the clouds. The weather is another character in his rich imagery, along with the Vivian girls, fighting the Glandelinians in an epic battle for freedom in Realms of the Unreal.After his death, his apartment was discovered to contain one of the longest written pieces ever, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, his journals and illustrations. He created a maze out of stacks of paper so he could move through out his apartment.
The American Folk Art Museum showed much of his work and works inspired by him in a three floor show. Mostly, the other works couldn't even touch Darger.
In the guest book, one person had written "If he hadn't made this work, he probably would have killed someone." I don't know if I believe that, but it is an interesting thought about the drive to make.