Friday, June 06, 2008

Artcar artists- They are not Outsiders- Just the Art! The Wrap Makes a strong case for more incluson.

Press Release

Topic: "Come in to the Outside" Art installation highlights the cultural reality of the

Date: July 18-20 2008

Place: Artscape, Baltimore Maryland

Contact: Conrad Bladey, 510-789-0930

Summary: Outsider Artist- Artcar to be wrapped by fabric barrier. The "Welcome to the Inside" installation walls off an artcar with colorful fabric a la Christo. A gate lets visitors "Come in to the Outside". The fence symbolizes the cultural divide which exists between the arts community and visionary cartists like Conrad Bladey. Visitors will be asked to leave something - a shoe, hat, article of clothing…something behind as they enter the installation thus symbolizing that which artists have to give up in order to be Outsider Artists or Visionaries. It is hoped that the installation will bring the cultural isolation of cartists to the attention of the Baltimore Arts community and that they will be included in future city wide arts events and made welcome. One need not be culturally outside when one is a visionary, outsider artist.

Description: The "Outsider" or "Visionary" artist is defined as generally self taught, executing artworks that express visions or ideas that often use techniques and materials and genres that are outside of the mainstream. In addition in stark contrast to artists such as those now working in studios in the Bromo Seltzer Tower who tend to represent themselves as for example: Artist Inc. visionary artcar artists do little at all to make money (their obsessive visionary behavior more often accumulates debt). Artcar artists in addition to supplying their own materials must keep a car running and filled with gas. Yet, neither AVAM nor Artscape provide any funding at all for local artcar artists. Yet participation in city events brands the artcar artist in the eyes of the public, draws thousands to the festival and generally provides free entertainment while at the same time other entertainers are paid. Unlike other artists artcar artists generally stay at the festival full time. It is not as with other artists represented there who come in, hang an artwork on the walls (which they are actually offering for sale) and leave.

For more than a decade Visionary Artists such as Conrad Bladey have been included in prominent City events. Their art is very popular with the public at large. Appearances by Artcar artists from the "outside" have ranged from Artscape to the Charles Village Parade, Mayor's Christmas Parade, the Baltimore Book Fair and the harbor festival. While the art is visionary and "outsider" the artists are no different than other artists pursuing their own more conventional goals. Although the art has found a place in the hearts of the public the artists like Visionary Artcar Artist Conrad Bladey remain culturally isolated and do not yet have a place within the loop of the local arts community. These artists are not included in calls for participants and artworks such as Baltimore Festival of Maps which involved many arts organizations and artists in the city of Baltimore. They were also left out of the popular Fish out of Water project a few years ago.

Visionary artcar artists have seen opening receptions for their installations disappear and out-of-town curators brought in to curate art car exhibits at Artscape. Yet because of minimal association visionary cartists have been "branded" by association with institutions such as the American Visionary Art Museum and Artscape. They are not so much supported by these institutions but used for publicity purposes- and to draw crowds. Each day cartist Conrad Bladey is told that he must have something to do with them when in fact, Artscape has only the most minimal of relationships providing only a parking spot, and the AVAM simply starts a parade.


The artcar for this project is the 1966 Pontiac Catalina now known as "Someday the Frogs will Inherit the Earth." The car is a wetlands inspired Jackson Pollack painting inhabited by frogs with a large trombone horn on the hood which plays. A soundtrack reflecting on outsider existence will be playing from the car. The car will be surrounded by a 5 foot or more wide bright florescent orange and red fabric fence supported by poles set in cinder blocks.. Signs at the entrance will instruct the visitor participant to think of the present day culture of the Outsider artist. Visitors will be instructed to leave an item of clothing, hat shoe or belonging at the door just as the visionary/outsider must leave cultural belonging and personal inclusion outside when they practice outsider and visionary art.

There is a web page for the fabric which was used to wrap a house here

A web page for the car is here.

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