Outsider Art Fair Moves to Chelsea for 21st Year

By Mathew Katz on January 21, 2013 7:29am 

CHELSEA — The Outsiders are moving in.

For the first time in its 21 years, the Outsider Art Fair will happen in Chelsea, moving from its longtime home in Midtown to the city's center of mainstream art.

The annual event celebrating self-taught and folk art will run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 at Center 548 at 548 W. 22nd St.

The fair is under new management — founder and longtime organizer Sanford Smith, who created the festival in 1993, sold it to art dealer Andrew Edlin, who runs Under Wide Open Arts.

"It's definitely a great opportunity to really place the Outsider Art Fair in the center of the art world," Edlin said.

"For art, Chelsea's much more of a destination than Midtown."

With more than 40 dealers from around the world on site, this year's fair will include drawn "schematics" of the Titanic, wooden carvings and psychedelic paintings.

Edlin spent nearly a decade selling art at the fair in years past, and plans to make several other changes to the fair that he said will make it a better place for visitors to learn about outsider art and dealers to show off compelling and strange artworks.

According to Edlin, the new space in Chelsea is more suitable for showcasing art than its predecessors in Midtown.

"It's got a much higher ceiling, it's overall much more of a big open space," he said.

The fair will have a series of lectures in a tent on the building's roof, including a talk from Mario Del Curto, a photographer who spent 30 years documenting self-taught outsider artists.

The Outsider Art Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Tickets to the fair are $20 per day and are available online. A ticket for all three days is $30. Admission to a special opening night preview on Jan. 31 is $50.

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