Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger
New York
American Folk Art Museum
Now through September 21

Grayson Perry
He Comes Not In Triumph, 2004
Glazed ceramics
21 x 12 in./ 53.3 x 30.5 cm
Photo: Victoria Miro Gallery, London
© Grayson Perry
Courtesy American Folk Art Museum, New York

New York’s American Folk Art Museum brings together 11 contemporary artists from all over the world who have been influenced by the visionary self-taught artist Henry Darger. Darger’s epic paintings of the Vivian Girls — the abolitionist heroines of his fantastical writings — hang beside the younger artists’ work on two floors. Some exhibit obvious relationships with the Chicago recluse, such as Justin Lieberman, who overlays Darger’s backgrounds with images of nudes and young beauty queens, and Anthony Goicolea, who recreates Darger’s imagery in photographs. Others, including Amy Cutler, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Grayson Perry, display similar interests in myth-making, queer affect, and utopian striving. By highlighting the outsider artist’s growing influence on contemporary art, Dargerism challenges the art-historical canon, as it considers the aesthetic possibilities of narrative, struggle, and transgression. – Thomas Lax

Anthony P. Munoz