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Outsider Art Fair to Feature Painted Skateboards and Offbeat Talks

By Mathew Katz | January 24, 2012 11:00am

MIDTOWN — These artists admit that they don't really know what they're doing.

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Outsider Art Fair, where 'outsider' artists — creative types with no formal training, operating outside of the cultural and commercial mainstream — will descend on Midtown's 7 W New York at 7 W. 34th St.

The festival features exhibits, panels and instructive talks from more well-known outsider artists.

Over the years, the fair has become a high-profile place for outsider artists from around the world to sell their paintings, drawings, sculptures and even punk rock-inspired painted skateboards.

Prominent museums from around the world will also make a showing — Switzerland's Collection de l'Art Brut, New York's El Museo del Barrio and the American Folk Museum, to name a few, will have work on display.

Some of the events are sure to put the often-confusing world of outsider art on full display. "Collecting Madness" takes a look at a collector's passion for outsider art, as well as the fact that several successful self-taught artists have suffered mental illness.

"With Dubuffet" will look at the legacy of French modern artist Jean Dubuffet, who helped pioneer the field of outsider art. Yet another seminar is all about Pano drawings by Mexican-American inmates.

The fair runs from Jan. 27 to Jan. 29 at 7 W. 34th St. Admission is $20 per day or $35 for a two-day pass.

For a full schedule, visit the fair's website.