Create is a major group exhibition presenting a selection of the most important works created over the past 20 years by artists involved with three pioneering non-profit organizations: Creativity Explored, Creative Growth Art Center and the National Institute for Art and Disabilities Art Center (NIAD). These organizations were founded with the belief that exceptional creativity can emerge in anyone, and they support the work of artists with developmental disabilities through a unique and highly successful approach to group studio practice. The centers offer an experience that is, in many ways, the antithesis of that envisioned by the art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 when he coined the term “outsider art” to identify the work of artists who have no contact with the art world and who are physically and/or mentally isolated.
This major survey exhibition brings well-deserved attention to this compelling work, sharing it with a broad audience and expanding on its impact on a range of renowned international artists. Create sparks critical dialogue concerning the categories of contemporary art practice, especially the notion of “outsider art,” and challenges audiences to rethink the limitations of such categories. It is clear why works by these artists have been increasingly recognized as a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art, both nationally and internationally, among artists, curators, critics and collectors, as well as the broader cultural community, and are now in the permanent collections of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jeremy Deller, Chris Offili and Peter Doig, and in prominent institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Create presents a range of exceptional works in diverse media by twenty artists who have produced artworks at these centers over the past 20 years. Among the artists included are Judith Scott, William Scott, John Patrick McKenzie, Evelyn Reyes and Dan Miller. Each artist has sustained an art-making practice at the highest level for many years, and the range of their work is extraordinary: Judith Scott’s visceral sculpture utilizes found materials wrapped in knotted yarn or string; William Scott’s humorous paintings incorporate sardonic urban motifs; John Patrick McKenzie’s lyrical work employs the repetition of text drawn from pop culture, current events and his immediate surroundings; Evelyn Reyes’s pastel drawings feature bold, minimalistic shapes; and Dan Miller’s intricate work includes drawings and paintings incorporating layered text.
Create is a traveling exhibition curated by Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs, and organized by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and ICI (Independent Curators International), New York. The exhibition and accompanying catalog were made possible, in part, by Dr. James B. Pick and Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Additional support for the tour is made possible in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the ICI Board of Trustees.