A planned tour of the Chelsea galleries on Sunday was waylaid by the annoying fact of their all being closed. Now that I think of it, I guess they're always closed on Sundays, but that fact refuses to stick in my mind -- maybe because it makes absolutely no sense. I only walked down one street & up another to confirm that, yes, they were all closed, & I must have passed 2 dozen people easily, also peeking in windows & looking about themselves in confusion. Why would businesses be closed on one of the 2 main days people are able to go visit them? Surely it must be for religious reasons.
Anyhoo, me & my friendly neighborhood librarian ended up taking a detour up to 53rd Street to check out the American Folk Art Museum. It's a destination I've been meaning to check out for years, so I couldn't stay too mad at the galleries for being closed (on a prime visiting day, it bears repeating) or myself for forgetting this idiotic factoid. Saw a lot of stuff worth checking out, but the one person who really piqued my interest was Madge Gill.
Gill (1882-1961), like many artists in the museum's collection, is an "outsider artist". In its modern usage, outsider art isn't my favorite schtick, but I think it's debatable whether Madge really qualified, being neither clinically insane nor completely outside the art establishment (she had gallery shows within her lifetime). She has a pretty sad biography, though, & basically all of her drawings were created within a trance-like state, with a degree of prolificacy that sounds downright disturbing, until she eventually drank herself to death.
But you can't argue with results, I always say. I find her work incredibly rich & compelling. Her focus is entirely in 2 dimensions -- sometimes solitary figures on a blank page, but more often the entire surface is filled with shapes and marks, creating an almost accidental dynamic composition. Check out some of her images while I go get "galleries closed Sundays" tattooed on my forearm.