Frank Maresca: New York Social Diary

Frank Maresca:
New York Social Diary

Project Description

Frank Maresca


“Frank Maresca, part-owner of the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, is one of the leading experts on and collectors of outsider art in the country. He’s something of a natural educator, carefully defining for us the distinction between ‘outsider artist’ and ‘self-taught artist’. His apartment, so restrained and pristine that it is a little eerie, is a kind of foil to the collection of extraordinary work and found objects that he owns.

I wanted to go back to basics and talk about the whole concept of ‘outsider art’ – I mean there isn’t any such thing as ‘outsider writing’ or ‘outsider music’ – can you talk about the context of ‘outsider art’?

I don’t particularly like the term, I’ve never really liked the term. It is the term that has really stuck and it’s stuck for a number of reasons, mainly because, certainly at least here in America … it’s become a romanticized term. Mostly everyone that I know when you mention a person who is an outsider, they don’t think of someone who is operating so far outside of society (as we know it) to be they need to be with caregivers—that is [my] definition of outsider art—in the same way that the artist Dubuffet defined it essentially as the art of the insane.

But if you were to talk [in general] to people in the States, the figures that would come to mind would be someone like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Isadora Duncan…

So what do you think, in your world, of the role of the self-taught artist?

That is absolutely what it’s about. It’s about influence. Certainly this the case with the self-taught, and the outsider artists—it is important to me to make the distinction between the two…the outsiders are so lost in their own worlds that they need someone from ‘inside’ society to be caregivers…”