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DAILY PIC: 35 undated, hand-drawn images, or copies, of butter labels, by James Castle, the deaf and dumb outsider artist who died in 1977, and has lately been seen all over the art world. Nicely gridded up, and presented on the clean white walls of Peter Freeman gallery in New York, Castle’s labels looked fantastic. My eyes cannot resist such modernist pleasure. But I am not sure how much credit should go to Castle, and how much to the modernist giants who made Castle’s images available to us, as art. That is, before the Bauhaus championed the grid and Warhol taught us to love repetition - not to mention copies of consumer imagery - could Castle have been seen as appealing art? I’m particularly troubled that no one seems to be even asking the question. When an objet gets trouvé, there’s a good chance it’s the finder not the object that ought to matter to us – and all outsider art, by definition, has to be found before it can become insider stuff. (Courtesy Peter Freeman, Inc. in cooperation with The James Castle Collection and Archive)
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive. The Daily Pic can also be found at the bottom of the home page of thedailybeast.com, and on that site’s Art Beast page.

Oct 15, 2013

DAILY PIC: 35 undated, hand-drawn images, or copies, of butter labels, by James Castle, the deaf and dumb outsider artist who died in 1977, and has lately been seen all over the art world. Nicely gridded up, and presented on the clean white walls of Peter Freeman gallery in New York, Castle’s labels looked fantastic. My eyes cannot resist such modernist pleasure. But I am not sure how much credit should go to Castle, and how much to the modernist giants who made Castle’s images available to us, as art. That is, before the Bauhaus championed the grid and Warhol taught us to love repetition - not to mention copies of consumer imagery - could Castle have been seen as appealing art? I’m particularly troubled that no one seems to be even asking the question. When an objet gets trouvé, there’s a good chance it’s the finder not the object that ought to matter to us – and all outsider art, by definition, has to be found before it can become insider stuff. (Courtesy Peter Freeman, Inc. in cooperation with The James Castle Collection and Archive)

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive. The Daily Pic can also be found at the bottom of the home page of thedailybeast.com, and on that site’s Art Beast page.

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