Revisiting Ramírez: Art Brut

Revisiting Ramírez:
Art Brut

Project Description

Revisiting Ramírez

by Edward M. Gómez

Now that the legendary Mexican outsider’s “last works” have surfaced, and better-informed research about his life has been published, new ways of appreciating his achievements are emerging, too.

Who was Martín Ramírez? What does his work mean? Those are the questions that have long intrigued admirers of the skillfully composed, mixed-media works on paper of the Mexican-born self-taught artist, who has earned a secure place in the outsider art
field’s canon of most-remarkable talents.

Except, of course, when those are not the main questions a researcher might ask, as when those who take a postmodernist critical approach to their subject matter, downplaying concerns about a body of art’s authorship, focus instead on the condition —social, cultural, political,economic, historical—in which a particular form of artistic expression develops or from which it has emerged.

By contrast, a so-called formalist approach to understanding and appreciating a work of art assumes that it can effectively convey to
a viewer whatever it has to say without the intervention of any kind of analytical or interpretative frameworks or theories, or maybe
even without any explanatory,biographical information about its maker. For a strict formalist, form is content, and therein resides a work’s meaning. Likewise, any work can, does and maybe even must speak for itself.

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