Definitions: State of the Art - RAW VISION

Definitions: State of the Art

First published: Winter 2001

‘Art races ahead, while criticism shuffles blindly after, convinced that it too is making great strides.’
– Roger Cardinal

For years now, academics and theorists have been grappling with the problem of defining a still developing and expanding field which is made up of many contrasting elements. In order to find some logic in what can often become a haze, we need to look back half a century, to the first comprehensive analysis of the meaning and context of works which were by now in the process of being fully accepted as art.


Jean Dubuffet gave the ‘art with no name’ an identity and intellectual rationale. He was able to elevate its status from the ‘art of the insane’ or ‘mad art’ to an altogether higher level.

Here was the purest form of visual expression yet discovered, one which was inherently at odds with established high culture and its concepts of sequential art history. However, he also realised that insanity was no guarantee of artistic merit and that true Art brut was produced by only a minority of mental patients. He saw that Art brut could come from any quarter – often where least expected. Art brut was pure creation, an unconscious flow from within that defied any preconception of what art should look like or stand for. 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #37