Recommended books

There are many books available around the field of participatory, self-taught and outsider art. Below Outside In have given a list of books and magazines that we like reading …

  • A Tribe of One by George Melly – This book focuses on the great naive and primitive painters across the British Isles.
  • Alfred Wallis: Primitive by Sven Berlin – This compelling biography of Alfred Wallis was the first significant writing on the artist’s life and work. 
  • Art Brut: The Origins of Outsider Art by Lucienne Pierry – This critically acclaimed book traces the history of the concept of Art Brut, a movement which has had a profound effect on artistic and social history. The account is completed by biographical notes on the featured artists and an extensive bibliography.
  • Collecting Worlds: Contemporary International Outsider Art by Markus Landert – Collecting Worlds provides a representative overview of contemporary Outsider Art. Based on over five thousand works in the Korine and Max E. Ammann Collection, seven chapters provide access to a fascinating universe of images and imagery. 
  • Diary Drawings by Bobby Baker – In 1996 Bobby Baker was diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder. The 158 drawings and watercolours in this book, selected by Bobby from the hundreds more that she created daily as a private way of coming to terms with her experience, are an astonishing record of her slow and harrowing journey to eventual recovery. 
  • Groundwaters: A Century of Self-Taught and Outsider Artists by Charles Russell – This book presents a narrative of the history of Outsider Art, clarifies predominant theoretical issues, and draws comparisons with the modernist tradition. It brings into focus the enormous contributions self-taught artists have made to our understanding of creative genius and presents them in a book that will enthral anyone interested in Outsider Art.
  • How to Look at Outsider Art by Lyle Rexer – This book gives an overview of the field’s most exciting works, some of them never before published in book form. It offers guidelines for aesthetic and collecting judgments, and gives compelling accounts of some of the field’s spectacular successes and equally visible failures. 
  • It’s all writ out for you: Life and work of Scottie Wilson by George Melly – This richly illustrated account unravels most of the mysteries surrounding Scottie’s life and provides a witty and enthusiastic appreciation of the remarkable pictures that it produced. 
  • On the Map: Exploring European Outsider Art by Dr. Guislain Museum – This book was built out of a conference at the Dr. Guislain Museum and shows good practice and presentation from 70 organisations across Europe within the participatory arts field. 
  • Outsider Art by Roger Cardinal – A look at twenty-nine artists who are “outside culture,” unencumbered by “all kinds of cultural, social, indeed psychological prejudices.”
  • Outsider Art: From the Margins to the Marketplace by David Maclagan – In this book Maclagan challenges many of the current opinions about this increasingly popular field of art and explores what happens to outsider artists and their work when they are brought within the very world from which they have excluded themselves.
  • Outsider Art from Japan by Wbooks – A book which showcases Japanese Outsider Art to sit alongside the Souzou art exhibition. This carefully crafted publication is comprised of fifty biographies of Japanese artists. 
  • Outsider Art: Spontaneous Alternatives by Colin Rhodes – In this book Colin Rhodes surveys the history and reception of Outsider Art – first championed by Dubuffet and the Surrealists, now appreciated by a wide public – while providing insight into the achievements of both major figures and newly discovered artists. 
  • Raw Creation: Outsider Art and Beyond by John Maizels – This book provides an account and discussion of the work of outsiders and other non-academic artists, and builders of visionary environments. It begins with a brief history of the recognition of outsider art and in the second section of the book, it provides a guide to the full range of self-taught art.
  • Raw Vision: Outsider Art Sourcebook – An indispensable guide to the world of Outsider Art, essential for all enthusiasts and collectors of Outsider Art, as well as a fascinating introduction to the different facets of the genre.
  • Raw Vision magazine – out quarterly – Raw Vision remains the world’s only international journal of the art of the ‘unknown geniuses’ who are the creators of Outsider Art. Untrained, unschooled and uninfluenced by the art world, the work of these artists continues to stun and amaze. 
  • The Alternative Guide to the Universe by The Hayward Gallery – This book is a stunning companion publication to the Hayward Gallery exhibition of the same name. This highly illustrated, hardback catalogue surveys works from more than 25 self-taught artists, architects and urbanists, photographers, visionary engineers and outsider scientists.