Everyday Genius : Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity
About the book
From Henry Darger's elaborate works of young girls caught in a brutal war to the New Mexican artist who sells animal-hide sculptures by the side of the road, the work of "outsider" artists has achieved unique status in the art world. Celebrated for their lack of traditional training and their position on the fringes of the social system, outsider artists nonetheless participate in a traditional network of value, status, and money. After spending years immersed in the world of self-taught artists, Gary Alan Fine presents Everyday Genius, one of the most insightful and comprehensive examinations of this network and how it confers artistic value. Fine considers the differences among folk art, outsider art, and self-taught art, explaining the economics of this distinctive art market and exploring the dimensions of its artistic production and distribution. Interviewing dealers, collectors, curators, and critics, and venturing into the backwoods and inner-city homes of dozens of self-taught artists, Fine describes how authenticity is central to this system in which artists - often poor, elderly, members of a minority group, or mentally ill - are seen as having an unfettered form of expression highly valued in the art world. Respected dealers, he shows, have a hand in burnishing biographies of the artists, and both dealers and collectors trade in identities as much as objects. Revealing the inner workings of an elaborate and prestigious world in which money, personalities, and values affect one another, and speaking eloquently to both experts and general readers, Fine provides access to a world of creative invention - both by self-taught artists and by those who profit from their work.
"One day - how I got started in art - when I was 60 years old, after I'd retired from pastoring, my shop was over in the garden that I have, my environment, I found out that when something got scratched, you do a touch up job on it. Well I'd put my finger in the paint like that - I could smooth it with my finger much better than with a brush. I'd learned to do that. I took my finger and dipped it in white paint, and I looked to do that. I took my finger and dipped it in white paint and I looked at it and this white paint was a human face on the ball of my finger there. And while I was looking at it, just a warm flash kinda went all over me all the way down and said, Paint sacred art." - Howard Finster"
Gary Alan Fine Biography
Gary Alan Fine (born May 11, 1950, in New York City) is an American sociologist and author.
Life and careerThe son of Bernard David Fine and Bernice Estelle Tanz, Fine grew up in Manhattan and went to the Horace Mann School. He studied psychology at the University of Pennsylvania (Phi Beta Kappa). He attended graduate school at Harvard University from 1972 to 1976 and received his PhD from Harvard in social psychology. His dissertation advisor was the eminent small group theorist Robert F. Bales. In 1976, he became an assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of Minnesota. At various times, he was a visiting professor at Indiana University (1980), the University of Chicago (1985), the University of Bremen (1986), and the University of Iceland (1988). In 1988, he received the American Folklore Society's Opie Award for the Best Scholarly Book in the field of Children's Folklore and Culture for his work With The Boys, an ethnographic study of Little League baseball teams. In 1990, he became the department head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia, a position he held until 1993, after which he remained a professor. In 1990 he was also the President of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism. During the term of 1994 to 1995, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, affiliated with Stanford University. He continued at the University of Georgia but accepted a position at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois beginning in 1997, where in 2005 he was named John Evans Professor. In 2002, he was the President of the Midwest Sociological Society, and in 2005 he was President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. He remains at Northwestern and in 2003 was a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences at Uppsala University in Sweden. In 2005 and 2006, he was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City. He is a former editor of Social Psychology Quarterly, an official journal of the American Sociological Association. He is married to Susan Hirsig Fine and has two children.
Academic focusFine has written ethnographies of a number of diverse small group activities from analyses of Dungeons and Dragons players and mushroom hunters to high school policy debaters and restaurant workers. Fine maintains that these different groups and distinct areas connect: My central research and writing focus is on the relationship between culture and social culture. This interest informs all of my writing from my study of Little League baseball to that of rumor to that of fantasy games. The question I ask is how is expressive culture shaped by the social system in which we all live and how does this social system affect the culture that we create and that we participate in. I examine the way in which small groups affect and give meaning to our shared experiences.His work on rumor has made a su ... Read full biography
|Authors:||Gary Alan Fine|
|Publisher:||The University of Chicago Press|
|Imprint:||University of Chicago Press|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Edition Statement:||2nd ed.|
|Illustrations:||Illustrations (1 col.), ports.|
|Publication date:||July 6, 2004|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||Chicago, IL, United States|