13 April 2005


Going to see the movie In the Realms of the Unreal tonight. The film's about Henry Darger [Wikipedia], one of the more fascinating characters from the outsider art [Wikipedia] movement. People are generally familiar with the movement through the work of Georgia's own Howard Finster [Wikipedia] (via the rock bands who put his stuff on their album covers). Outsider art brings up interesting questions about elitism (these are untrained artists creating work, but we're seeing that work only because it is accepted as art by the establishment) and intent (much of this art was never intended to be displayed as art or even viewed by others). Similar to performance or conceptual art, outsider art is interesting in part from examining the process of the artists themselves.

Darger's process, his life, definitely sounds interesting. Whereas Finster's artistic eccentricities are religion-based which are, let's face it, a dime a dozen, Darger spent most of his life creating a unique, disturbing, and epic fantasy story in 15 volumes. My only concern about the movie, going in, is that they have taken some of his illustrations and minimally animated them. That seems completely unnecessary.

Another weird point about the movie: Dakota Fanning is the narrator. Besides the fact that she seems to be appearing everywhere lately, it's an odd decision to have a young female narrator for this movie. Darger's pictures contained thousands of images of nude young girls. It's maybe not a bad decision. Just weird.

[ posted by sstrader on 13 April 2005 at 11:45:23 AM in Art ]