© samantha krukowski
Jean Dubuffet and the Deculturation of Art

M.A. Thesis, Department of Art History, Washington University in St. Louis
Advisor: Rob Jensen


Reading Dubuffet in the postmodern era is a dubious project. Dubuffet's written contribution outlines an artistic utopia of sorts, where every man is an artist, hierarchies of value dissolve and the artistic act is once again returned to its original, Dionysian state of revelry and intoxication. Dubuffet's desire to reinvest art with importance and meaning reverberates hard in the midst of today's art world of exhorbitant prices and media-driven artistic success. He makes his audience want to believe in the transcendant nature of art, and many writers have swallowed Dubuffet whole, without looking back. Dubuffet's thoughts, however, should be regarded as more than revitalizing, unentangled, free-floating ideas that can be grabbed for critical play periodically. They are bound in a literary, cultural and political history (with echoes of Marx, Nietzsche and Foucault) that determines many of the precedents which contribute to Dubuffet's views. Reading Dubuffet is a transformative experience. His language is insistent and repetitive, much like advertising (although Dubuffet is also poetic).

While my intent has been to question, examine and implicate, I have found that I must constantly wean myself from Dubuffet's style. After having pored over so many of his documents, his voice seems to have found a hiding place in my consciousness so that my queries are often answered first by this visiting-memory voice before they can be disentangled for more objective speculation. It would be untruthful if I denied my trepidation at embarking upon this study which, by its very nature, contradicts many of Dubuffet's professed beliefs. Reading Dubuffet well does not necessarily involve appeasing him. In the early days of my research, I did consider methods which might have been more agreeable to my subject. Yet Dubuffet is too paradoxical to satisfy. His dislike of words (as I paused on the idea of a visual thesis) is contradicted by the breadth of his own writing. His dislike of coherence and value judgements (as I paused on alternative written structures) is not echoed in either his written or visual work--Dubuffet finds styles within which he works (if only for short periods of time) and he criticizes in a manner that replaces value judgments that he does not like with those of his own.

Reading Dubuffet reveals his insistence on the reappearance of creativity. This concern is one with which I have tried to invest my study. I have allowed, as much as possible in the midst of quotes and historical interpretations, for the horizontal dips and detours that Dubuffet preferred. And I have presented a body of material that deserves more investigation, expansion and clarification. Hopefully, the issues raised here will be examined and taken in all directions like colorful kites, recalling the sparkling robes that Dubuffet would have had art dealers don in a celebration, rather than a sale, of art. An acknowledgement of my thesis committee is necessary, and I extend my thanks to Dr. Angela Miller for her participation and Dr. John Nunley for his incessant imagination and willingness to take time away from the museum to provide me with books, ideas and inspiration. Lastly, I wish to thank Dr. Robert Jensen, who has contributed enormously not only to this project but to my entire graduate school experience.


While ample scholarly material exists concerning Jean Dubuffet's art, there has been less attention paid to his writing. The voluminous amount of written work that Dubuffet produced during his career not only clarifies the artist's approach to his own artwork but it addresses larger art historical issues that continue to surface in contemporary debate. This paper focuses on Dubuffet's written work, in part as it relates to his artwork but more specifically as his ideas and theories reflect the modernist climate of post-war Europe and notions of the avant-garde.

This study is divided into three parts. The first provides an account, based mostly on secondary sources, of Dubuffet as he was perceived by his contemporaries and by others who have reflected on his accomplishments since his death. This section is meant to elucidate the paradoxical nature of Dubuffet's many roles--as visual artist, writer, collector of art brut, and museum-founder. It places him in the historical and cultural context of post-war France and relates his theories to others of the time. I also examine the character of the books and articles devoted to Dubuffet as a subject and how they relate to the quality of Dubuffet's own writing as well as the contradictions that are located therein.

The second section revolves around a consideration of Dubuffet in the role of writer and presents an outline of his ideas. This outline is relatively free of analysis in order to allow for a more dynamic presentation which emphasizes Dubuffet's writing style and cadence. I have chosen not to organize Dubuffet's ideas chronologically: a primary group of doctrines recurs frequently in Dubuffet's writing and their development does not vary tremendously between his early and later years. I have also concentrated my investigation on certain types of writing in Dubuffet's corpus. While much of his writing pertains to specific paintings that he made or exhibitions that he had, there are essays which stress a philosophical discourse and aesthetic dialogue that is more pertinent to my purposes here. Many of these essays are about art brut, an interest of Dubuffet's that is at the heart of both his artistic and editorial enterprise.

The last section of this paper is an examination of Dubuffet's relationship to art brut, the creative work of individuals who generally live on the margins of society as we know it (prisoners and mental patients, for example.) From Dubuffet's perspective, art brut artists were the least acculturated to societal expectations and interpretations of art and therefore their work was, unlike cultural art, original and authentic. Dubuffet's passion for art brut is inextricably entwined with his notions about how and by whom art can and should be made. He strove, in his own work, to emulate art brut and to rid himself of his culture-based value system. While Dubuffet's interest in and support of art brut informs both his artwork and his writing, his attempt to locate artistic truth in an Other has larger historical implications.

There is a continuous tendency in art history (and in all history) to translate disenchantment with the present into the romanticization of an Other. Pablo Picasso used the imagery of primitive art to inspire his images, especially his Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907), and to deconstruct traditional modes of representation. Paul Gauguin lived in Tahiti and painted native subjects, rejecting the pursuits of his contemporaries in search of his art which he believed represented nature and unbridled sexuality. Dubuffet's history reveals his own attempts to find truth in foreign places; in the late 1940's Dubuffet traveled to the Sahara, apparently to confirm "his belief that more 'primitive' societies held a key to true creativity." (Glimcher, 9) That Dubuffet located originality and authenticity in art brut seems to be a variation on this recurrent historical theme.

The tripartite organization of this paper will provide a more objective look at Dubuffet than any of the current literature provides on its own. The resultant picture is not necessarily a more coherent one, however, as I have intended to provide the points of contention and agreement without summarizing their effect.

Pablo Picasso was one of the first modern artists to find inspiration for his images in Iberian sculpture and primitive art; this is visible in his Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907). Paul Gauguin, some twenty years beforehand, had traveled to exotic locations like Tahiti in search of an unspoiled aesthetic experience that could serve as a contrast to art of the Western tradition.

Dubuffet not only voyaged elsewhere in his attempt to locate an unsullied society, he discovered what he believed to be an authentic and original aesthetic phenomenon in his native country of France. This discovery was art brut, the creative work of individuals who generlaly live on the margins of society as we know it (prisoners and mental patients, for example.)became interested in art brut and invested in it these notions of aesthetic originality. but foundEuropeal
Dubuffet's involvement with art brut is part of a larger historical context which is particular to the period spanning the First and Second World Wars. The artist's writing provides a key to his ideology, interests, and the historical and artistic sources for both.

Chapter 1

The literature that exists on Dubuffet, his work and his ideas is of a fragmentary and contradictory nature. There are biographies about his life and his artwork; of note is Mildred Glimcher's Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality.2 But this text, like much of the Dubuffet literature, is but an accepting narrative which relates Dubuffet's ideas and experiences to his artwork. Glimcher raises few questions regarding the consistency and intelligibility of Dubuffet's project, but rather characterizes him as an artist-genius in whom contradiction is subordinated to originality and to claims of artistic independence. There also exists a substantial literature on Dubuffet via art exhibition catalogues, which by their very promotional nature, celebrate, not criticize, the artist's work.3 Many are prefaced with commentary by Dubuffet himself, which presumably underscores the authenticity of his endeavor and provides the reader with a map for the location of meaning in his work. The rest of the literature on Dubuffet is found in the form of magazine or journal articles. Some are merely adaptations of or monuments to Dubuffet's own ideas. A much smaller literature has treated Dubuffet as a contradictory creature whose artwork, writing and interest in art brut together represent a paradoxical phenomenon.4 The paradoxical nature of Dubuffet's activities is most visible when these biographies, catalogues, and articles are compared in terms of content and style.

Dubuffet's enterprise is manifested in four interrelated pursuits. He was at once a visual artist, a writer, a collector and supporter of art brut, and a museum-founder. How much each one of these roles affects the others has been an important site of contention among the artist's critics. Dubuffet's decision to pursue a professional art career was not made until relatively late in life, after a series of attempts and diversions. As a young man, he trained briefly at the Parisian Académie Julien, only to leave after six months to pursue his work independently. After four years of producing work by himself (during which time he also studied numerous academic subjects), he served a year of military service at the meteorological office of the Eiffel Tower. It was supposedly during this year that Dubuffet first came into contact with drawings made by a "visionary" woman, an experience that has been interpreted as formative for his later involvement with art brut. In 1924, Dubuffet married and joined his family's wine business. Dubuffet returned to his artistic pursuits sporadically after this, once more seriously in 1933, but it was not until 1942 that he began to paint again, and Glimcher explains that "(he believed) he was too old to have a career as an artist (and was) painting again for his own pleasure, determined this time to be utterly true to his principles."5

Apparently Dubuffet felt constrained by artistic and cultural traditions in his earlier, career-oriented attempts to make art and he wanted his work to be for himself, to stand on its own in opposition to those traditions. Through this independent approach to art-making, Dubuffet hoped to arrive at a more individually motivated, original and truthful art form which served as a contrast to the art he saw around him. Many writers have taken Dubuffet at his word and have understood his artwork to be a reflection of his beliefs, and his beliefs to be a viable commentary on culture in general. William Rubin said, rather myopically, that "Dubuffet, in my estimation, the only major painter to emerge in Europe after World War II, stood outside the main trends of French art."6 Glimcher, Dubuffet's chief American apologist, agreed and asserted that "throughout his life, Dubuffet remained always a subversive, a provocateur, within the cultural landscape of the mid-twentieth century. He sought, in his life and through his art, to liberate himself as well as the rest of us from all forms of intellectual oppression..."7 While Dubuffet's reasoning (and that of his supporters) is logical enough, it seems impossible to separate Dubuffet's anticultural positions and late decision to make art from certain historical precedents or from what became his successful artistic career.

It is certainly ironic that Dubuffet chose to pursue art full time during an era when the very act of painting had lost significance. Marcel Duchamp rejected painting exactly thirty years beforehand, and had gone on to deny the importance of craft in art with his readymades. In 1940, Barnett Newman wrote that "some of us woke up to find ourselves without hope...painting was dead."8 In the midst of many similar comments and actions, Dubuffet reasserted modernist beliefs in the value of art and the role of the artist as an authentic voice. To understand this move in terms of Dubuffet's rhetoric, it could be argued that Dubuffet's decision to pursue art full time was a part of his oppositional, anti-cultural stance. But such a conclusion dwarfs the irony in Dubuffet's activity, for Dubuffet's anti-culturalism (even if painting is considered a part of it) can be seen as a professional activity which actually belonged to a greater cultural mechanism. As John Rajchman notes in his introduction to Thierry de Duve's Pictorial Nominalism, the Parisian avant-garde had worked on a 'refusal model,' where it fell to the Academy to determine the criteria of identification of a painting and to the avant-garde to refuse them. The great battle of personalities, styles and ideologies of the institution of refusal carried with it a conception of the pictorial event as a radical or revolutionary break with tradition, eventually inducing the 'fantasy of the tabula rasa'.9

This refusal model was thus a cultural institution and the very thing with which Dubuffet wanted to do battle. Thus Dubuffet's attempt to construct an avant-garde artistic persona via his late entry into the art scene and his anti-cultural stance was from its very inception paradoxical, if not quixotic. This has led some critics to deny the rebellious nature of Dubuffet's enterprise entirely. Robert Hughes, for example, suggested that once a viewer gets used to Dubuffet, his imagery and sign-system becomes predictable and no longer disquieting. Dubuffet no longer seems to be 'debasing and perverting the very nature of art.' Instead, he has expanded its vocabulary. We can now look calmly at those personages composed of excrement and butterfly wings, those graffiti and thick pastes and crude little turnip-men...His pictures now look like pictures. They have altogether lost the power to shock, and most of them are now drained of the power even to surprise us...they have entered the canon of belle peinture...Dubuffet has managed to make every brutality look sweet, like a very good cook performing miracles with horsemeat.10

Both Dubuffet's approach to art and his belief structure were entangled in the political and artistic milieu of his time. Dubuffet was certainly not the first artist who wanted to break away from (or expand upon) artistic traditions. Dada had aggressively denounced the mechanizations of the cultural art establishment in the early 1900's, and Surrealism followed after, insisting upon another reality than that which had governed the majority of the history of art. Dubuffet's rejection of conventional methods of representation, subject matter and use of materials recalls both of these artistic manifestations. According to Barbara Rose the Dada commitment to the brutal and shocking and to chance operations as a way of arriving at new, unexpected combinations and compositions were important elements in Dubuffet's experiments with creating images by moving around liquids like putty, cream, or grease until strange figures or landscapes emerged from the slipping, sliding, and manipulation of the materials.11

Clearly technique ought not to be the exculsive site of comparison between Dubuffet and the Dada/Surrealist legacy. Dubuffet was obviously immersed in Surrealist ideas. Surrealism's faith in the socio-political efficacy of the imagination, its attempt to discover a cultural tabula rasa in ethnographic studies, its equation of personal freedom with political radicalism all played an important role in Dubuffet's artistic-political aesthetic. Dubuffet may have exactly agreed with that great precursor to Surrealism, Apollinaire, who wrote in L'Esprit nouveau:

To explore the truth, to seek it in the ethnic domain, for instance, as well as in that of the imagination, such are the chief characteristics of this new spirit....The new spirit, then, admits even daring literary experiments, and these experiments are on occasion anything but lyrical. That is why lyricism is merely a realm of the new spirit in today's poetry, which is often content with experiments, with investigation, without being concerned to give a lyrical signification...But such research is useful, it will constitute the basis of a new realism...Surprise is our greatest new resource. It is by surprise, by the rank it accords surprise, that the new spirit is distinguished from all previous artistic and literary movements...There is no need, in making a discovery, to select by rules, even rules applied with taste, a subject classified as sublime. One can start with an everyday subject: for the poet a falling handkerchief can be the lever with which he will raise a whole universe...12

Throughout his writing, Dubuffet distinguished himself from the past and celebrated the imagination, the element of surprise, the importance of the banal. Like Apollinaire, Dubuffet dismissed rules of all kinds as restrictive and found truth in people and things touched least by culture and its prescribed framework. The mention of ethnicity in the passage above reminds not necessarily that Dubuffet was interested in primitivism, but rather that his anticulturalism was bounded in a European and more specifically, a French context. Apollinaire was writing in the closing years of the First World War, and his interest in a national, Gaulic identity reverberated in the work of post-1945 writers and artists. Dubuffet spoke of a universal aesthetic but it is doubtful that his notion of universal was really an international one. Dubuffet's interest in art brut betrays his nationalism, for his own collection of art brut as well as those he visited consisted of works by mostly European individuals.13 Dubuffet's belief in the authenticity of art brut was bound in Surrealism, for the creative strategies of chance, automatism, and collage which he learned to admire in Surrealism he later transferred as signifiers of authenticity in art brut.

Surrealist theories were only part of a larger context that shaped Dubuffet's formative work. Together, Surrealism and Dubuffet's ideas were deeply embedded in the shifting attitudes of a world at war. The material and industrial growth that preceded World War I spawned international peace, domestic stability, the advance of constitutional and democratic government, and a faith in science, reason and progress. The aftermath of that war wrought a steady decline in those values and an international postwar depression. Surrealism was in part a response to the demoralization, frustration and resentment which followed; its concern with the workings of the unconscious mind had as much to do with the influence of Sigmund Freud as with the fear that progress, the product of reason, was no more than a phantom.

Surrealism addressed itself to what Max Ernst called a 'crisis of conscience and of awareness.' Western bourgeois culture was to be changed by changing its values and realitieis...Surrealism attacked the restrictions and limitations of bourgeois, logical and rational reality...through the exploration and discovery of the inner world, partially conceived as Freudian-inspired dreamlife and the unconscious, the Surrealists intended to develop a world for which there was no previous outer model.14

Dubuffet's anti-rational, anti-institutional ideology can be tied to the First World War and reactions to it (like Surrealism) as well as to attitudes that preceded and followed the Second World War.
Dubuffet's insistence on the primacy of the individual over the state (which was, for him, equivalent to culture) rejected the totalitarian and marxist ideologies that dominated both political and artistic discourses in the interwar era. Both totalitarianism and marxism rendered the individual meaningless outside the social body. Moreover, the rise of mass media, and propaganda machines that formed an essential part of state culture, no matter what the political persuasion, tended to marginalize the importance of the individual. Not surprisingly, Dubuffet's writing, which began near the end of the Second World War, revealed a generalized suspicion of all official institutions and productions. His interest in art brut, in particular, came from the desire to seek truth in places external to the political or cultural establishment. Apparently, this was not a unique reaction--Glimcher pointed out that "the decade following World War II saw the flowering of a climate of repudiation of received values, and a simultaneous passion to return to origins both nationalistic and primal."15 In a more precise essay, Henry-Claude Cousseau confirmed that
'children's art, naive art, the art of the mentally ill, and the art of those amateurs who painted and sculpted as if outside of time', were able to appear as both salvation from a suffocating academism and as a response to the impression of exhaustion following the Second World War. This response gave rise to independent artists such as Dubuffet, Fautrier and Atlan among others, as well as to movements such as Cobra.

The uncertainty of that era manifested itself as a nostalgia for the archaic, the primitive, a need to return to sources and roots. The poverty of established values engendered a trust in popular and
ancestral cultures, and created the desire to discover other unknown and distant cultures, as if they had proved their authenticity or at least reestablished a possible coherence of reality.16
The pretense to a tabula rasa may have led Dubuffet to disassociate himself from the Dada-Surrealist tradition. Although clearly Surrealism lived on--if only in the person of André Breton--thoughout the 40's and 50's, the sense that pre-war artistic culture was exhausted may have led to, if not an explicit, then an implicit denial of the Surrealist legacy within Dubuffet's own art. If Dubuffet claimed not to have been influenced by art brut, it may have been part of a larger claim at absolute originality--the tabula rasa. That originality is of course imbedded in the discourses of modernism--it captured Dubuffet within the institutions of modernism that he otherwise sought to overthrow.

Dubuffet never would have considered himself an art brut artist--he was far too educated to assume this identity. He was, however, an ardent supporter of art brut and began to collect the work systematically in 1945. 1947 marked the first exhibition of a small group of works of art brut; by 1948 the Compagnie de L'Art Brut had been formed and included over sixty members including André Breton, Jean Paulhan and Charles Ratton (a dealer of primitive art). In October, 1949, the first major exhibition of over two hundred works of art brut was held at the Drouin gallery in Paris. It was for this exhibition that Dubuffet wrote his infamous essay "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts", and introduced, as it were, the art brut manifesto.

Some scholars dispute any formal connection between art brut and Dubuffet's work. Thomas Messer in his essay for the catalogue of an exhibition entitled "Jean Dubuffet and Art Brut," argued that art brut

strengthened (Dubuffet's) resolve to repudiate his heritage in favor of an art without antecedents. The only lesson he learned from art brut was to learn no lesson, not even from art brut...from a strictly formal point of view, Dubuffet was not in the slightest influenced by the works he collected.17

Messer's statement may well have been determined by Dubuffet's consistent (professed) repudiation of art historical traditions. Messer took at face value Dubuffet's insistence on the rejection of any influence and saw Dubuffet as having moved beyond art brut, taking it only as an example. Messer supported Dubuffet's career of opposition by refusing to allow that art brut may have penetrated the artist's guard.

Other scholars support a formal link between art brut and Dubuffet's work. Dubuffet's love of art brut and his belief in the spontaneous, truly imaginative approach of its creators played a large part in the way he wanted to make art. In an interview by Valère Novarina, Dubuffet explained that he wanted his work to be revelatory; he discouraged all attempts at planning a work before or during its creation and welcomed the unexpected.18 Glimcher has thus argued that
there are many aspects of Art Brut which resonate in and unify (Dubuffet's) work. The Art Brut conventions of compulsive repetition, chance, automatism, microscopic and macroscopic views, were essential in his work. He adhered to their rejection of perspective, scale, proportion and naturalistic coloration, as well as the combining of images and writing. Many Art Brut artists favored bricolage, or tinkering--the fortuitous use of materials. Dubuffet's use of unorthodox
materials such as macadam, paste, bark, branches, sponges, shells, stones, butterfly wings and aluminum foil was a source of both his inspiration and originality. Like the Art Brut artists, Dubuffet often used themes considered unworthy of art...his work, like theirs, is meant to express
the isolation and alienation of inner psychic and mental states rather than the visual world.19

As much as Messer's critique was measured by Dubuffet's profession of oppositional culture, so Glimcher's subscribed to Dubuffet's rhetoric. She saw in Art Brut (capitalized to signify its importance and a replication of Dubuffet's writing style) the site of an authentic artistic language with Dubuffet the most unimpeachable purveyor of this discourse within the field of high culture. It is difficult and in a sense unnecessary to deny the formal similarities between Dubuffet's work and art brut, for what I wish to address are the paradoxes this relationship generates.

Dubuffet's efforts to secure public attention for art brut also, inadvertently or not, publicized his own work which contained similar formal characteristics. All of Dubuffet's writing about art brut and the exhibitions he coordinated for it aimed at garnering recognition for art brut as a phenomenon external to culture, but that recognition was secured in the domain of a cultured audience. While the Compagnie de L'Art Brut adopted Dubuffet's anticultural stance, it was populated by a cultural elite much like Dubuffet, despite the artist's professions that he wanted his art (and all true art) to reach the common man. It is not clear that Dubuffet's audience or that for art brut was ever comprised of such ordinary people. In the 1962 catalogue for the Dubuffet retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Peter Selz commented: "Dubuffet's mythical 'common man' would certainly prefer looking at Brigitte Bardot than at one of the artist's blobby grotesque corps de dames..."20
One of the most glaring contradictions in Dubuffet's art brut enterprise exists in the museum of art brut in Lausanne, which he founded in 1971. In all of his writing, Dubuffet lambasted the museum and the gallery as elitist, cultural institutions that deny the real function of art. To Dubuffet, creativity no longer exists in art made for museums or galleries since it serves external, commercial purposes. He insisted that true art is an internal endeavor. Dubuffet's beliefs were echoed by Michel Thévoz, the curator of the Lausanne collection, who argued that all art forms suffer when exposed to cultural promotion and attention. In reference to primitive art he stated that

at the very time when African and Polynesian statuary was recognized as genuine art, its inspiration failed and the production of these peoples was reduced to stereotyped objects catering for the tourist trade.21

Children's art suffers in the same way, since

the creative power attributed to children more and more admiringly tends, by the fact of that admiration, to be reduced to the projective myth built up by the adult to counterbalance his own sterility.22

Lastly, Thévoz said that the art of the mentally ill has lost its vitality as well, for

(the mentally ill) are not blind to the keen interest--symptomatological, therapeutic and even lucrative--that is being taken in their work...therapeutic encouragement and paternalist benevolence act as a conductor
towards 'normalization'; they are in effect a much more subtle and efficient means of repression.23

Thévoz enters into the realm of the ironic along with Dubuffet when he concludes that "Western culture seems doomed to distort any other form of expression by the mere fact of taking aesthetic notice of it."24 Both he, through the writing of his book and in his role as curator, and Dubuffet, through his varied efforts to publicize art brut and the founding of the museum, are taking aesthetic notice of art brut. Yet neither he nor Dubuffet defends this phenomenon, nor the resultant compromising of art brut that their theories will naturally entail.

Any defense that does exist can be found in various stipulations about the museum and its methods. Dubuffet was very careful to conserve the idiosyncratic nature of the exhibited work by creating an equally idiosyncratic (and even elitist) museum, open only by appointment and usually only to scholars for study of the collection. Dubuffet also required that no item from the collection be removed for display elsewhere: hence there is no risk that a work of art brut will be seen next to any work not of art brut, or displayed in any way that will impair its extra cultural status."21

These imperatives clarify Dubuffet's desire to shield art brut from the consumptive and commercial machine of culture, but a museum, in its name and format, seems to invite cultural machinations. Dubuffet's fear that art brut would not stand up in comparison to cultural art could have been based in his fear of a viewing public unused to any extra-cultural art forms. Yet a museum, even a museum with odd hours, would be more likely to draw a cultured audience than not. Again, perhaps the museum of art brut can be understood as Dubuffet's ultimate attempt to fight culture with culture's forms, by employing a different, disagreeable message in its collection. Michel Thévoz demonstrates in a particularly animated passage how these questions raise the ruff of the supporters of Dubuffet and of art brut:

it is open to anyone to blacken the picture, to interpret Dubuffet's intrusion into the art system as a compromise and the housing of art brut in a museum as a comedown to the cultural level. Sarcastic
disparagement is an easy enough attitude to take. Culture addicts behave like people with a contagious disease whose only consolation is to keep an eye on others in hopes of detecting the symptoms of their
own illness.22

Here, it is Thévoz who seems to have blackened the picture with his inability to move beyond Dubuffet's assumptions to consider or respond to legitimate criticism.

Thévoz's defensive posturing brings me to a last paradoxical consideration of Dubuffet and an introduction to my examination of Dubuffet's theories. Dubuffet, as a writer, is as contradictory as the literature about him. Stylistically, he is alternately dogmatic, poetic, idealistic and paranoid. And few writers on Dubuffet have escaped the artist's style and contradictions. It is as if Dubuffet, in his desire to fight all coherence and organization, created a literature of quagmires and whirlpools which would consistently send investigators spinning. Despite Dubuffet's extensive activity as a writer, he repeatedly denied the importance of writing and insisted that "written language (is) a poor tool. As an instrument of communication, it conveys merely the carcass of a thought."23 Some scholars have taken Dubuffet's attitude towards writing seriously, and denied that Dubuffet even believed what he said. Barbara Rose wrote that "it is difficult to believe that Dubuffet ever seriously entertained the views he preached."24 It is fascinating that Rose did not bother to contextualize her comments, for it was Antonin Artaud, one of the great Surrealist writers, who said that "all writing is garbage."25 The fact remains that Dubuffet did write a great deal, and did relate his own art and that of art brut artists to his theories. Though Dubuffet is a contradictory character and theorist, his beliefs are indicative of many historical concerns and tendencies at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Chapter 2

Dubuffet was no exception to the defining impulse of modernist artists to explain and present their ideas about and approaches to art. Modernist historiography has always privileged the artist's voice--if only because artists have written and spoken so much in the last century and a half. And modern artists have been alive to be interviewed, not contradicted by the art historian. Perhaps the canonical demonstration of such privileging is to be found in Herschel Chipp's Theories of Modern Art. There Chipp asserted that the writings and statements of painters and sculptors as well as of critics and poets, are valid source materials for a study of the ideas and doctrines of modern art. Artists are considered to be legitimate commentators upon their own art, immersed as they are in the ideas and attitudes of their environment and being the sole participants in
and witnesses to the act by which the work of art is created.30

Chipp assumed, first, that modern art is of necessity about ideas and doctrines. Second, he believed that legitimate commentators are only those who are the most unmediated observers of a work's creation, the first interpretors who have the privilege of unreflected observation. To Chipp, that mythic, spiritual moment of isolated creativity is witnessed (note the legal twist) only by the artist. It is because the audience and art historian are absent during that moment that they cannot comment on the artistic production without an indication of the artist's supposed intent supplied by the artist himself.

The notion of intentionality in art has been criticized as fallacious and romantic. It sets the artist up as a genius, even a shaman, whose words of truth (and expression of truth) are vehicles which the uninformed must use to learn what the artist has already discovered. An artist's intent denies the role of an audience (or any other external factor) from determining, even in part, the meaning of an artwork. As E.H. Gombrich pointed out, the intentionalist (and expressionist) argument "suggests that the artist broadcasts his message in the hope of reaching a mind that will vibrate in unison with his own, and that his medium (the work of art) is only the means to achieve this end."31 Here, the artist is superior to an ignorant audience, and if the public cannot understand an artist's words or artwork it is due to their own lack and not that of the artist. Intentionalist arguments produce a particular irony when applied to Dubuffet, who repeatedly argued that true art must be accessible to everyone.

Dubuffet believed that by writing, he could communicate his version of artistic truth. Not only could he explain his approach (and thus publicize his work) but he could reveal what he considered to be his basic insights into the creative process as well as their universal significance. The intention/expression problematic indicates that Dubuffet's enterprise paradoxically opposes two positions: first, Dubuffet as a member of the avant-garde at the same time that he was a champion of art brut and second, Dubuffet as a writer who dismissed writing and privileged artistic manifestations to art theory.

Dubuffet's written work appeared in numerous forms, like the critical literature that is devoted to him. He was an obsessive commentator on his studio work, and documented it through nearly forty volumes devoted to describing each object created during his lifetime.32 He was also an active propagandist for his conception of the calling of art. Among his numerous essays was the infamous speech he gave at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951 entitled "Anticultural Positions," which outlined his creative methodology and his thoughts about the nature, role and meaning of art and audience. A particularly significant work and Dubuffet's only book, Asphyxiating Culture is a philosophical and political discussion which elucidates Dubuffet's antagonistic stance towards culture and its influence on the public domain of art and the private domain of creativity.33 Finally there is Dubuffet's role as "historian", critic, or propagandist for art brut, setting this authentic art against his definitions of "cultural", "customary", or "habitual" art.

Dubuffet revealed his assumed role as social critic in most of his texts. In his anti-culturalism, he posited the realm of culture against that of the individual, and saw culture as equivalent to the state and the police. To him, it represented bureaucracy, propaganda, patriotism, indoctrination, capitalism, the status quo, and illusory coherence. The individual, however, was the keeper of the creative spirit and the domain of the common man. The individual exemplified rebellion, independence, creativity, nature, diversity, and eclecticism. These two poles affected art and all institutions which supported and patronized it.

In Asphyxiating Culture, Dubuffet defined culture34 as:

the knowledge of works of the past (in addition, let's not forget that this notion of 'works of the past' is entirely illusory: what has been preserved represents only a very specious, limited selection based on trends that won acceptance in the minds of scholars) and sometimes more generally the activity of the mind and the creation
of art.35

Here, historical knowledge is deemed by Dubuffet a shaky construct; culture represents an organizing, categorizing and cataloguing force which is powered by the failed efforts of scholars, intellectuals, and artists. Cultural institutions, by their very nature, reflect social stratification.36 This was one of the primary reasons that Dubuffet despised culture: it favors an elite. This elite diminishes the importance of the common man. Dubuffet continued:

The State's directors mean to give culture the same hierarchic form as the Church of olden days, that is, a well-structured pyramid, a vertical arrangement. On the contrary, creative thought would gain strength and health in the form of horizontal proliferation, in an infinitely diversified expansion. There is no worse obstacle to this
proliferation than the prestige of a few showoffs among the ranks of high dignitaries, the importance of whom has been drilled into the public. There is nothing more sterilizing than this, nothing more apt to dissuade the common man from thinking for himself, nothing more likely to make him lose all confidence in his own capacities. Also nothing is more apt to disgust him with art, which he will come to believe is only an impostor at the service of the State, in other words, of the police.37

Cultural celebrities create an aura of importance and represent an illusory system of fraternity and coherence that diminishes the value of ideas and beliefs that might originate elsewhere in the general populace. Dubuffet faulted the hierarchical structure of culture for demeaning the importance of the common man, a universal symbol and signifier of diversity. Dubuffet favored diversity and all that springs from it and believed that it signifies a body of ideas that has truer and more democratic value than those originating in cultural hierarchies. Dubuffet's emphasis on culture as vertical and creativity as horizontal further clarifies his desire for diversity. Horizontality reflects an expansion of ideas that proceeds from notions of equivalency and universality. A horizontal proliferation of ideas resists the classificatory character of culture and supports differentiation. Not only is horizontality anti-cultural, but Dubuffet argued that it is a natural state and insists that the structure of culture is illusory and fabricated. Dubuffet used a cellular model to demonstrate that diversity (horizontality) is an originary state:

From birth, a life's form is contested by its cells, which dream of emancipation; this is why species become diversified, and even within these species, the same mechanism, forever multiplying diversification, continues; there are always individuals who tend to distinguish themselves from the species.32

Biological examples such as this one serve as the basis for numerous other passages which extended Dubuffet's feelings about towards the organizing tendencies of culture:

This rejection of the chaotic swarming, this simplistic thirst to classify everything into genres and species, cannot take place without the brutal mistreatment of each individual's specific characteristics and the elimination of all that does not enter into the norm...It is chaotic swarming that enriches and enlarges the world, that restores its true dimensions and its true nature.38

Dubuffet's use of biological and evolutionary metaphors to support his arguments derive from his belief in some sort of state of nature. Dubuffet's political agenda might be described as the desire for a state of natural democracy. This natural democracy is hardly a system but really a state of subjectivity governed by individualism. The individual, the common man, serves as the basis for all values, and these values are constantly in motion, fighting the stasis that characterizes the structure of culture. Dubuffet suggested that this constant shifting and evolution can be guarded when all individuals constantly act in opposition to anything that seems static. "The individual," Dubuffet wrote in Asphyxiating Culture,

essentially defines himself through objection...the antagonism between the reasons of state and the healthy vigor of individualism gives the waters of the social sea an internal, vivifying movement.39

This objection is a clear link to Dubuffet's participation in the 'refusal model' of the Parisian avant-garde.

This constant refusal by the individual against the collective values of society renders all notions equivalent and invites a disturbing relativism. Dubuffet's dislike of value judgements by the cultural system is lessened in the face of his own strong opinions and value judgments. And in his desire for equivalency, he omitted cultural ideas, which could be understood as lending to (not destroying) the diversity to which he aspired. A brief sampling from his writing further demonstrates Dubuffet's notions of equivalency. In Asphyxiating Culture, Dubuffet noted in reference to truth that "there is no truth; the only truth is an individual truth, which needs to be carefully preserved."40 In an essay from 1945 entitled "Notes for the Well-Read", Dubuffet discussed beauty: "we call anything that stirs our passions beautiful, but nothing stirs us for long; only our passion is permanent, its object changes. There's nothing in the absolute but the absolute void."41 He continued this thinking in "Anticultural Positions" and said that "no one doubts for an instant that beauty exists, but you'll never find two people who agree on which objects are beautiful."42 In "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting" from 1945, Dubuffet addressed equivalency in art: "everybody in the world is a painter. Painting is like speaking or walking"43 as he did in "Notes for the Well-Read" again: "as though there were partitions between various arts, as though they weren't all one and the same, as though there were several different arts. One that's good for some people (which we enjoy) and one that's good for us (which we judge)."44 Relativism regarding humankind was mentioned in "Notes for the Well-Read" when Dubuffet wrote "there are no more great men, no more geniuses...they were invented by the Greeks"45 as it was in a 1960 essay entitled "Perceiving" when he questioned "is there such a thing as an exceptional soul? I very much doubt it. I have my qualms about the alleged superiority of the erudite savant, the refined and precious aesthete, over any old farmhand."46 In "Notes for the Well-Read" he went so far as to summarize: "the world forms a huge, continuous broth, which has the same taste everywhere--the taste of man."47 In Asphyxiating Culture, Dubuffet noted the equivalence, even, of ideas, "The entire scale of notions we use depends upon our location at the moment, that all notions are temporary, functions of the coordinates of the place we occupy, and must be modified with each step we take."48

For Dubuffet, the system of culture must be reorganized if not reinvented. Culture imposes its stifling system on all of us, and it is this system which prevents individualism, diversity and creativity from flourishing. Dubuffet proposed, at the end of Asphyxiating Culture, that institutes of deculturation (an oxymoron in Dubuffet's belief system) be founded which would be geared towards obliterating the lessons learned within culture.

The time is right to found institutes of deculturation, kinds of nihilist gymnasiums, in which especially lucid monitors would teach deconditioning and demystification over a period of several years, so as to endow the nation with a body of solidly trained negators who would keep protestation alive, at least in small, isolated and exceptional circles, in the midst of the great and widespread waves of cultural accord.49

Through continuous efforts to combat accord and agreement, these institutes would supposedly return man to a "basic state" which would foster original thought and creativity. These "gymnasiums", traditionally part of the European upper-level educational system, would serve as schools of opposition, even while they acted as avant-garde, elitist enclaves. Dubuffet refuted the argument that such institutes of deculturation would become a part of the cultural system:

Perhaps this total contestation would also be incorporated into culture. This is not so sure. It is worth trying. In these colleges one would be taught to question all accepted ideas, all revered values, all our thought mechanisms which involve cultural conditioning without our being aware of it would be denounced; in this way we would clean the machinery of the mind until it was thoroughly scoured.50

Dubuffet did not really believe that the character of the mind, once exposed to culture, could return to the state of a tabula rasa. "Total deconditioning," he wrote, "is impossible; it is a matter of varying degrees."51 Dubuffet did believe, however, in a primal state of consciousness that exists in all of us. His intent as stated in the 1968 essay "Demagnetization of Brains" "is the discovery of thought and expression in its native state."52 To Dubuffet, this native state was rare in cultured societies, although he did locate lesser levels of inculturation in certain types of people. Dubuffet's common man registered lower on the scale of inculturation. This was partially due to his lack of education, which Dubuffet extolled in Asphyxiating Culture: "People with little schooling (so much the better for them)...perceive the cultural procedure to be a ridiculous game which in no way concerns them."53 Dubuffet warned, however, that these uneducated people should not attempt to combat culture. Dubuffet idealized their proximity to a state of nature but recognized that their lack of awareness of their cultural conditioning made them vulnerable. Dubuffet insisted that "those who have experienced culture firsthand will have the responsibility of refuting it"49 and noted that "in the end, it is more fruitful to refuse and contest culture, than to simply lack culture. The latter is undoubtedly more dangerous; a person without culture is an easy prey for inculturation."55 Dubuffet's romanticization of the lesser-educated underlines the anti-rational character of his arguments. He lambasted intellectuals and their writing and he championed "primitives" and even the insane for their remove from culture.

It is in Dubuffet's discussion of art, an arm of culture, that his ideologies and their aims are played out in a specific fashion. Artists and art history (a cultural construction) represent the hierarchies of the state. Artists are simply camouflaged monarchs and members of the elite that ignores the common man. "Just look," he chided, "at the care that artists take (with their vestimentary disguises and their individualistic behavior) to be known as such and clearly distinguish themselves from the common people."56 To bear the title "artist" indicates a sacred, social space which is necessarily separate from (and considered more virtuous than) the masses.

The history of art also values superiority over equivalency. It reflects an illusory cultural classification that rules our notions of what art is and what it means. Art history as we know it only presents a meagre representation of the productions of the world, and Dubuffet asserted that those "masterpieces" which make up the history of art have nothing to do with creativity in a text from 1948 entitled "A Word About the Company of Raw Art":

The habitual art, pompously displayed in salons and galleries, has succeeded in passing for the only art, to the exclusion of all others, in most people's eyes. This art seems to us quite poor in content, reduced to endless repetitions and imitations, and almost devoid of personal creativity. We take it to be a parisitic substitute which merely mimics artistic creation; having none at its source, it replaces this creation with arbitrary words and useless theoretical systems.57

The self-referential character of art history denies the involvement of the common man in a number of ways. First, as Dubuffet explained in "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting", its internal conversations and manipulations confound his ability to understand it:

It proceeds completely through secrets and confidences and allusions to which we have to have the proper clues. it is often more of a parlor game than, strictly speaking, an art. In such rarified air, it appears slightly winded and anemic.58

Second, its "theoretical systems" and dependence on the past bore him, negating any possiblity for his emotional involvement. And third, the art historical system is closed to his creative productions and in fact, diminishes his ability to make them. This lends art history, and culture as well, a conspiratorial character.

The very word art suggests conspiracy. In Asphyxiating Culture Dubuffet clarified his paranoia at the sound of this word:

When culture utters the word 'art', it is not art that is concerned, it is the notion of art. The mind must strive to become aware of--and not to forget--the enormous difference in nature that exists,
in all art as in all things, between the thing and the notion of the thing. In all domains, cultural thought assumes the position of a spectator, not of an actor; instead of considering the forces, it
considers only the forms; instead of movements, only objects; instead of methods and trajectories, only dwellings.59

Cultural art's limited scope prompts Dubuffet to consider an art that would be universally comprehensible. In a speech of 1972 Dubuffet said that "a work of art fails in its function if its meaning is too limited. I believe that the meaning, or rather the meanings, of any work of art should be wide open so that each of us can absorb it into our own particular universe."60 Art made from an individualistic standpoint would be more meaningful to individuals who make up its audience. In fact, true art has an anti-social character. Dubuffet cautioned in the preface to a collection of his writings that true art is "allergic to the air of collective approval...(and is)...essentially reprehensible."61 True art is not about constructs or games but it acts on a more basic level. As Dubuffet reiterated in his "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting", it should set people off balance instead of intimidating them with a meaning that they cannot decode: "art should always make people laugh a little and frighten them a little."62 The distinction between cultural art and true art is an external/internal one. Cultural art is important in terms of fabricated values such as skill, effort and monetary worth. True art is based on an internal, individualistic creativity which creates emotional and meaningful responses in its audience.

That true art takes place and is received in an internal space by both maker and audience reveals how, for Dubuffet, art and creativity are linked to emotion, pleasure and a kind of inebriated, almost hallucinogenic state. In the cultural history of art, those who have been rewarded have been those who have honed their skills, say, of draughtsmanship, coloration, or of expression. The artists who have been recognized have been those who have produced large bodies of work demonstrating a progression in technique, an understanding of previous masters, and perhaps some variation on the themes of art history. For Dubuffet, none of these goals serves a purpose for true art. Painting, to him, is not a demonstration of skill, of attempting to produce a likeness. He said in the 1964 catalogue for his "L'Hourloupe" cycle:

There may indeed be painters who try to reproduce what they see, but such an activity is difficult to explain...why...do they make such an effort? To have others see it as well? How nice of them. I find painting uninteresting if it does not offer sights that the painter wishes to see and that he has no chance of encountering if he does not make them up himself.63

The creation of true art thus has more to do with an unconscious state than with a conceptual one. Dubuffet made many references to art as an instinctual undertaking. In "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts" of 1949, Dubuffet said that art "is another means of cognition...its ways are clairvoyance."64 The realm of true art is not necessarily an earthly one, and the reason for making it is out of necessity. Dubuffet continued in "Anticultural Positions": "Man's need for art is a totally primordial need...I am convinced that art has a great deal to do with delirium."65 True art also encompasses sexuality, as Dubuffet clarified in his "Notes for the Well-Read": "there is no art without intoxication. But then: wild intoxication!...Art is the most passionate orgy within man's grasp."66 Here, the influence of Nietzsche is inescapable. Art is an anti-rational, Dionysian enterprise.

In the same way that Dubuffet suggested that institutes of deculturation be founded in order to fight societal inculturation, Dubuffet believed that art must be approached with as little attention as possible to its surroundings and its past in order to return to being a creative activity. In Asphyxiating Culture he wrote that "In terms of art, the first step toward deconditioning will consist in distancing oneself from all that is traditionally expected,"67 and "the most effective means for putting thought into action (in a constructive sense) is certainly to throw it into situations until then unknown by it...only nihilism is constructive."68 One's goal, as an artist, is to enter into the creative act with as few preconceptions as possible. This, in turn, will allow for a new dialogue between maker and material, maker and instinct, maker and imagination, which have all been suppressed in customary art. The idea is not to design a painting and then paint it, not to see a landscape and reproduce it, but to launch an interior voyage which will reveal the very nature of art itself. Dubuffet insisted upon this approach in "Notes for the Well-Read": "art should be born of the material and the tool...it should retain the mark of the tool and its struggle with the material,"69 and "it wouldn't be very interesting for the artist if he already knew the ultimate destination, if he were to paint a picture that already existed fully in his mind."70 He urged: "feed on inscriptions, on instinctive drawings. Respect the impulses, the ancestral spontaneity of the human hand when it draws its signs."71

That art is to be liberated from the realm of culture and returned to the interior mechanisms of its creator nullifies the importance of institutions that have long supported it. Painters working in this interior mode will not think of how long their paintings will last but will glory in the moment of creation. Audiences, too, will take part in this celebration. "Art products," Dubuffet asserted in his "Author's Forewarning",

(and views on them) are like beaujolais wine: I don't think they have a bouquet unless drunk during their first year. I am a presentist, an ephemeralist. Away with all those stale canvases hanging in dreary museums like the wives in Bluebeard's cabinet! They were paintings: they no longer are.72

The desire to conserve art is only a manifestation of the cultural concern with monetary value. Dubuffet argued in "Notes for the Well-Read" that we can have no feeling for, no connection with, works of the past.

Work makes sense only in terms of the collective mood prevailing at the instant when it is created...This communication works only for contemporaries: look at some old maps--the flourishes won't teach you anything today.73

It is only too contradictory that when Dubuffet was asked in the Novarina interview whether he destroyed his work, he retorted "very little. If you mean my finished works, then it is an exceptional occurrence."74

Dubuffet's challenge to the production and the preservation of art extended into the realm of the audience. Dubuffet recognized the allure of the public and of the cultural art establishment for any artist, and noted that each artist must do battle with the public arena. The very idea of the audience can be a corrupting force. If artists create work with the intent to exhibit it, and strive to make it acceptable, titillating, provocative, or arousing for a public, they only participate in cultural art production and fail to tap true creativity. Dubuffet reminded in Asphyxiating Culture that art is not something to view, but "something to live and to do."75 True art is so involved with the stance of its creator that it should only be considered with this in mind. Dubuffet believed that true works of art should be received on the same level at which they are created.

An artistic production derives meaning only from the stance from which it is issued. Works of art are matters of the mind's movement, of stances adopted, and they must be viewed at this level, and not at that of their outer forms.76

To Dubuffet the stance of production (intention) should be important to an audience, and he enlarged the notion of audience to include an imaginary one. By doing so, he might have momentarily escaped arguments about the nature of intentionality. With the creation of an audience that may not exist, an artist can avoid the socially corrupting art establishment and simply create without the concern of how such work will be received.

The production of art--as all acts do--implies addressing others. But which others? The face of the other can take on many forms. The other can be an unknown, very distant black hole, for whose benefit a bottle is thrown out at sea. Or else on the contrary it may have a face, and this face may be sensed as real, a true protagonist, or else as a purely imaginary projection. For some, the other is an objectivization of oneself. The recipient that a creator assigns to his production may, according to the case, be the great multitude or a restricted group very different from the masses...or else...an imagined being, not yet existing, a being resembling its inventor.77

Dubuffet implied here that an imagined audience can serve a more useful role than a real one. It is precisely on the line between imagination and reality that Dubuffet outlined his notion of the audience. He refuted the existence of any one reality taking precedence over another in this instance as well:

Show can also be exercised in reclusion, in the absence of a public, only for the benefit of the shower himself, who then invokes an imaginary public. There is no distinction to be made between real things and imaginary things, seeing that the world--what seems to us to be the world--is in any case imaginary, with no reality other than the one we assign it.78

The notion of an imagined audience seems to spring at least in part from Dubuffet's involvement with art brut, which is usually made without thoughts of an audience and often with a highly developed imaginary idea of reception, especially among the more psychotic of its creators. Art brut, the creative productions of those who inhabit the cultural and societal fringes, is the product of its makers' geographical isolation and the inhabitant of many prisons and mental institutions. It is in art brut that most of Dubuffet's arguments about true art culminate. Art brut artists supposedly create objects which refer to an internal value system and not to the art establishment. In "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts" Dubuffet defined art brut as:

Anything produced by people unsmirched by artistic culture, works in which mimicry, contrary to what occurs with intellectuals, has little or no part. So that the makers (in regard to subjects, choice of materials, means of transposition, rhythms, kinds of handwriting, etc.) draw entirely on their own resources rather than on the stereotypes of classical or fashionable art. We thereby witness the pure artistic operation, unrefined, thoroughly reinvented, in all its aspects, by the maker, who acts entirely on his own impulses. Thus, we have art that evinces the sole function of inventiveness rather than those functions that are constant in cultural art, the functions of the chameleon and the monkey.79

Dubuffet's views as outlined in this chapter can be related to his interest in art brut because he takes it as a representative model against which he can compare and repudiate culture and its manifestations. To Dubuffet art brut is not an intellectual endeavor, it denies artistic elitism (except, perhaps, when it is introduced by Dubuffet), and it is a production, largely, of isolated individuals. Art brut also represents the common man, or the proletariat, and it can be understood to stand for a certain equivalency of value since it involves those who have traditionally been excluded from the public view. The creators of art brut serve to illustrate that no true, uncultured tabula rasa exists and that cultured people must fight the cultural state. Further, Dubuffet's support of art brut confirms it as an internal activity, bound to what he believed were unconscious processes, which he took as a model approach to his own work.

Chapter 3

Dubuffet's association with art brut is riddled with contradictions that begin with its name. The term "art brut" was coined by Dubuffet; its relative translation is raw art. Dubuffet did not clarify the reason for this appellation. Barbara Rose suggests that Dubuffet's interest in describing his own art as "brut" was part of his anti-culturalism: "if Parisian art was 'jolie,' he would be 'brut'; if they were cooking, he was defecating: the ultimate French insult to art."80 Perhaps his motives were similar in applying these terms to the creative productions of hermits, prisoners and psychotics so that they would serve as a contrast to cultural art in France. Despite Dubuffet's failure to provide explicit reasoning for the term, it is clear that "art brut" deviates from previous definitions of related work which rarely included the value judgements implied by the word "art".
Dubuffet's interest in art brut can be traced back to 1923, when he was engaged in military service in the meteorological station of the Eiffel Tower. During that year, he discovered the visionary drawings mentioned previously and became interested in the beliefs of clairvoyants. He was also given a copy of Hanz Prinzhorn's book Artistry of the Mentally Ill (Bildnerei der Geisteskranken). Prinzhorn explained his decision to call the productions of the mentally ill "artistry", and it is from this precedent that Dubuffet breaks away. Prinzhorn's definition is worth quoting at length:

The revival of the meaningful and beautiful word Bildnerei (image-making or art) which is hardly used any more, needs no justification. Just the same we should like to help the readers become familiar with this term, which may otherwise startle them. If today we are inclined to understand by it only sculpture, that was indeed the original meaning of bilden (to form). Winkelmann mentioned that bilden was less applicable to colors, canvass, and brush, although a painter paints a Bild (effigy). But the word is used in its larger sense in classical literature by Klopstock, Wieland, Goethe, Schiller, Bürger and others so that Grimm summarizes the definition as follows: 'conceptually the general meaning of representation develops out of the artistic forming (bilden)
of wood or stone. And Sanders (Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache) has the following brief definitions: 'Bildner=ein Bildender (a picture maker), especially where artistic creation is concerned,' and also 'Bildnerei=the activity and the work of the Bildner (picture maker, artist). The term is especially suitable because of the uniform meaning of most of the variants derived from the same root. We emphasize that no artistic value judgements are implied when we call objects produced by bildende Kunst (creative art), Bildnerei.81

Prinzhorn was one of the first to consider the creative productions of mental patients as aesthetic objects rather than as diagnostic tools in determining the nature and cure of their illness. It is clear that he meant to leave the definition of creativity open, and with as few value judgments as possible. Bilderei or artistry emphasizes the maker over the artist, the object produced over art. Prinzhorn, like Dubuffet, believed in the universality of art and his use of "artistry" clarifies his belief that the creations of mental patients were "eruptions of a universal human creative urge which counteracts the disease's autistic tendencies toward isolation."82 Yet Prinzhorn wanted very much to consider each creation from an individual perspective. Michel Thévoz noted that Prinzhorn "tried to see the creative process from the inside by considering each style as the overall expression of the life-experience of its maker."83

Dubuffet was evidently very influenced by Prinzhorn in his early years spent researching art brut, for he not only saw the creative productions of the mentally ill as aesthetic objects but as the most authentic art. Yet his interest in art brut stems not only from Prinzhorn, but coincides with two burgeoning fields of study in the early twentieth century. First, an increase in ethnological research propelled inquiries into prehistoric, primitive and popular cultures. As Henry-Claude Cousseau pointed out, it was around 1925 that Claude Lévi-Strauss travelled to the Mato Grosso and the Amazon, and conducted research that contributed to his texts Structural Anthropology and The Savage Mind.84 This more factual research was sometimes laced with a "desire to return to sources and to confront originary myths."85 A little less than a decade before Dubuffet traveled to the Sahara, Antonin Artaud, for example, travelled to Mexico to investigate the peyote rituals of the Tarahumaras. Both were in search of authentic experiences which would contradict the structures of the societies from which they came. Second, there was increasing attention paid to the creative productions of the mentally ill as well as newfound means of interpreting them. The historical debate over the relationship between genius and madness enjoyed a renaissance as well.

During the nineteenth century, asylums were reformed and public attention was focused on the artistic productions of the insane for the first time. A work of 1864 entitled Genius and Madness by Cesare Lombroso made numerous references to the relationship between geniuses and the work of the insane. As Sander L. Gilman noted in his text Difference and Pathology, "by the end of the nineteenth century, the art of the insane represented not only the lost world of childhood but also the utopia (or distopia) of aesthetic experimentation."86 Art brut is certainly, to Dubuffet, a realm of true aesthetic experimentation on an individual level. That insanity was perceived as the "lost world of childhood" during the later nineteenth century seems analogous to Dubuffet's belief that primitives represented a lost state of nature. From Prinzhorn it seems that Dubuffet took this notion of individual experience manifested as original representation, and when he applied it to his larger cultural ideology, found art brut to be one of the most individualistic aesthetic expressions exterior to culture. Gilman summed up the irony of Dubuffet's interest in art brut at the time, and read an avant-garde tendency into it: if the state found it necessary to isolate the insane, the avant-garde would integrate them, or at least integrate the myth of insanity into their image of an ideal world.87

One might say that Dubuffet is just another modernist doing what modernists typically did before the 1970's. Modernism reveals a tendency among artists to be influenced by and/or idealize groups and individuals external to the dominant society. Regardless of the socio-political and cultural realities surrounding these outside sources, artists identify with them as a means of opposing the dominant societal discourse. This antagonism often constitutes the nature of the avant-garde. It could be argued that Gauguin's repeated portrayal of Tahitian subject matter had little to do with Tahiti but rather with his own conceptions of life on the island and how it served to contrast Western attitudes of his time. In actuality, Gauguin spent most of his life in Tahiti involved with French colonials while he proclaimed that he was experiencing native culture. The life of the primitive was an exotic fantasy which Gauguin could sell to a repressed Western society as a way of staking out his position in the avant-garde. Dubuffet's idealization of art brut could certainly be construed as a similar avant-garde activity where he transgresses the boundaries of culture by associating himself with art brut, an extra-cultural phenomenon.

It must be emphasized that when Dubuffet spoke of art brut, or primitivism, or madness, he did so as a member of the art world which was societally external to the people he discussed. We do not hear the voices of the people who made the work, we do not see the work; in short, we are not provided with any other interpretation except that of Dubuffet. Dubuffet's discourse about art brut puts him in a dominant position to it--as the describer, he assumes the power of its definition. He might extol the virtues of art brut, it might have been the seat of originality or authenticity for him, but at the same time, it is something that he is discussing, explaining, defining. That art brut needs to be described, that Dubuffet was compelled to speak about it, reflects its inferiority--it needs a voice, his voice, and has none of its own. Art brut's exteriority to the cultural art establishment is overcome through Dubuffet's narrative which positions and explains it.
I want to employ three texts to elucidate the implications of Dubuffet's distant and powerful narrative: Edward Said's Orientalism, Sally Price's Primitive Art in Civilized Places, and Sander L. Gilman's Difference and Pathology. Said's brilliant and eloquently written book examines the power structures inherent in orientalism, a discourse on the Orient which is external to the Orient itself. This discourse involves the attitudes and attributes which have been brought to the Orient by other societies, and can be applied to Dubuffet's judgments about people with whom he rarely came into contact. Said wrote that

the Orient was almost a European invention, and had been since antiquity a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences...Perhaps it seemed irrelevant that Orientals themselves had something at stake in the process...the main thing for the European visitor was a European representation of the Orient and its contemporary fate...The Orient is not only adjacent to Europe; it is also the place of Europe's greatest and richest and oldest colonies, the source of its civilizations and languages, its cultural contestant, and one of its deepest and most recurring images of the Other...the Orient has helped to define Europe (or the West) as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience.88

Said's remark suggests a series of questions about Dubuffet and art brut. What, for example, was the reality of art brut for Dubuffet? How did this relate to other views of art brut--those of doctors or the art brut artists themselves? Did Dubuffet invent an art brut which satisfied his own ends and arguments? How did art brut artists serve to define Dubuffet's own image of himself as an artist?

Both Edward Said and Sally Price, author of Primitive Art in Civilized Places, discussed the phenomenon of how marginal groups gain recognition and interpretation through voices other than their own. Said noted that orientalism depends for its strategy on (a) flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand 89 and orientalism is premised upon exteriority, that is, on the fact that the Orientalist, poet or scholar, makes the Orient speak, describes the
Orient, renders its mysteries plain for and to the West.90 This point is further demonstrated in Said's account of Gustave Flaubert's experiences in the Orient and their translation to representation in his writing:

Flaubert's encounter with an Egyptian courtesan produced a widely influential model of the Oriental woman; she never spoke of herself, she never represented her emotions, presence, or history. He spoke for and represented her...My argument is that Flaubert's situation of strength in relation to Kuchuk Hanem was not an isolated instance. It fairly stands for the pattern of relative strength between East and West, and the discourse about the Orient that it enabled.91

Dubuffet was an external Westerner, and he never accounted for this position in his writing, except to acknowledge that he was not an art brut artist and should not have been considered as one. Indeed, Flaubert's "situation of strength" was not isolated; it is visible with Dubuffet and many others--it is especially visible in Western interpretations and discussions of primitive art. Sally Price extended Said's discussion to encompass the role of primitive artists and their relationship to and awareness of the consequences of the international purchase and dispersal of their work. Dubuffet was aware of the possibility that art brut could be corrupted, and he attempted to keep this corruption at bay by restricting access to his museum and "protecting" art brut from cultural art. Exposed to Price's reading, Dubuffet's position as a cultured (though working to be decultured) agent next to art brut is unravelled. It was Dubuffet who publicized art brut by virtue of his discourse about it. This publicity does not acknowledge the conscious approval or disapproval of those being publicized. In fact, it is doubtful that the terms (aesthetic, philosophical, spiritual, etc.) used to describe art brut would even be understood by its makers. Price's conclusions about her own field suggest that primitive artists are persuaded to give up their work for monetary gain in a similar climate of ignorance. While linguistic and cultural barriers play a part in these transactions, Price believed that many primitive artists would never part with their creations if they knew of their true destination or use. She noted:

It is quite (something) when a Western traveler in Africa spots an interesting looking wooden figure and offers to purchase it for a price that represents a negligible amount to the traveler and a large sum to the owner; in this situation, the buyer lacks understanding of the meaning of the object in its native context, the seller lacks understanding of its meaning in its new home, and there is no common ground in the evaluation of the price for which it has been exchanged.92

In this situation, as with Flaubert's, the buyer (and thus, the representer) has the upper hand. Price continued:

The exploitation of (primitive artists') creativity...takes on a slightly different flavor, for they lack both familiarity with the beast they are feeding and any kind of power over how it plans
its meals.93

I am not suggesting here that Dubuffet's interest in art brut stemmed from commercial interests; he appeared intent on protecting the work he collected from the capitalistic endeavors of the art world. Instead, these examples clarify Dubuffet's interest in art brut as a power relationship which denied the voice of its makers even while Dubuffet believed he was sharing their work with an interested and sympathetic audience.

Dubuffet did not include primitive art in the realm of art brut, but he believed that the makers of art brut exhibit primitive characteristics because of their isolation. The values which Dubuffet believed culture has extinguished are exactly those that he attributed to primitives in "Anticultural Positions": "instinct, passion, caprice, violence, madness."94 Primitivism fits into Dubuffet's anti-culturalism because he saw it as anti-conceptual and anti-intellectual: "'savages' feel that there is something weak about reason and logic, they rely on other ways of gaining knowledge of things."95 Dubuffet's attitude towards insanity, a state many art brut artists share, mirrored his ideas about primitivism. He wrote in "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts" that "madness unburdens a person, giving him wings and helping his clairvoyance..."96 When Dubuffet mentioned primitivism, it can be understood as a signifier of a universal state of nature that all people once shared and which Dubuffet insisted must be rediscovered. This ties directly into his desire for institutes of deculturation. Although Dubuffet attempted to guard his reasoning, "raw art, primitiveness, (and) liberty," he said in Asphyxiating Culture, "must not be conceived of as locales, nor especially as fixed locales, but as directions, aspirations, tendencies"97, the stereotypical language of his arguments cannot be denied.

Dubuffet's notion of primitivism as a universal and basic state, and his idea that art brut manifested creative abilities that exist in all people ("we believe these abilities exist (at least at times) in every man"), gave rise to a set of problems which Price critiqued. "One of the questions," she said, "is the degree to which we can see all art as being about the same 'gut issues', and to what degree the artistry of different peoples reflects the very special manner in which one views the world and its place in it."98 Dubuffet's arguments about art denied its context continuously, and I have demonstrated that many of the writers who have taken Dubuffet as their subject have adopted his stance without fitting it into the cultural and political context from which he came. It was exactly this context that provided explanations that otherwise would go unnoticed. In Dubuffet land, true art unfortunately lacks the diversity he sought; it reveals itself as an entirely Western European construct. According to Price:

The proposition that art is a 'universal language' expressing the common joys and concerns of all humanity is based firmly on the notion that artistic creativity originates deep within the
psyche of the artist. Response to works of art then becomes a matter of viewers tapping into the psychological realities that they, as fellow human beings, share with the artist.99

Price's point that cultural differences may indeed affect psychological realities underscores Dubuffet's lack of a multi-cultural perspective and further characterizes his interest in art brut as bound to his cultural milieu. In Difference and Pathology, Sander L. Gilman examined the development and role of stereotypes. Gilman wrote

we all create images of things we fear or glorify. These images never remain abstractions: we understand them as real-world entities. We assign them labels that serve to set them apart
from ourselves100


the deep structure of our own sense of self and the world is built upon the illusionary image of the world divided into two camps, 'us' and 'them'. 'They' are either 'good' or 'bad'.101

Art brut can be seen as a "camp" that Dubuffet places opposite the camp of culture. Taking into account the "refusal model" of the avant-garde and the nature of stereotypes, it seems evident that Dubuffet did not question the reality of his claims about art brut.

The very fact that Dubuffet set up a duality between cultural art and art brut fits the nature of the stereotype, or the Other, as Gilman also refers to it. "Because the Other is the antithesis of the self, the definition of the Other must incorporate the basic categories by which the self is defined."102 Dubuffet did define art brut with the dictionary of cultural art; he simply chose oppositional terms. These seemingly antithetical terms are just part of a larger art language. Stereotypes, whether good or bad, are also part of one vocabulary. They are, by their nature, flexible. As Gilman points out, "we can move from fearing to glorifying the Other...the most negative stereotype always has an overtly positive counterweight...stereotypes are inherently protean rather than rigid."103 This attitude is echoed in Price's argument when she wrote that "the noble savage and the pagan cannibal are in effect a single figure...portrayals of primitive man can be tilted either way in their recognition that he is at once a 'brother' and an 'other'."104 Dubuffet's notion of art brut can be both culturally inclusive (when it influenced Dubuffet's work or when it is seen as avant-garde) and exclusive (when art brut and its makers are romanticized as artistic innovators.)

Dubuffet's location of an Other did help to define his own artistic position. In Orientalism Edward Said argued that "European culture gained in strength and identity by setting itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground self."105 Art brut should also be seen as Dubuffet's surrogate or underground self, rather than merely the productions of those who are marginalized in society. Said reiterated that "at most, the 'real' Orient provoked a writer to his vision; it very rarely guided it."106 With this argument in mind, it seems ridiculous to deny that art brut had no influence on Dubuffet's own artwork. Art brut was as much a guide for Dubuffet and a central locus for his anti-cultural position as it was an idealized art form.

Dubuffet's identification with art brut artists remains problematic. His desire to be anti-cultural himself (though he was well inculturated artistically and intellectually) was more than a way of positioning himself outside of the establishment, it was a manifestation of the avant-garde tendencies of his time. Art brut served as a model for his position that coincided with renewed interest and new interpretations in the fields of ethnography and psychoanalysis. Gilman reminded that "unlike the patient, of course, artists must create for themselves the persona of the outsider, which they don like a helmet to do battle with society."107 A psychiatric patient is, by virtue of their imprisoned position, external to society while Dubuffet determined his position as an outsider. His was constructed, theirs was not chosen. Gilman insisted upon this reality when he said that "Prinzhorn's patients were ill. They were not shamans speaking an unknown tongue, nor were they Romantic artists expessing through their art conscious disapproval of modern society."108 It was Dubuffet who was expressing his disapproval of modern society through art brut artists; they had no say in the matter.

Philip Crick's article "Art Cast Out" throws some light on the assumptions under which Dubuffet wrote. Dubuffet's preference for an art without precedent (or without reference to artistic predecessors) and his location of this original art in art brut suggests a binary theory
which sees received art as both inevitably social, and inevitably corrupt. There is a core of commercially organized creation involving a critique and a literature, around which orbits the moon of the Outsider. Distanced, and in pristine glory, the moon silently comments on its gravitationally more powerful and polluted neighbor.109

Dubuffet's position within a modernist history, a history of attitudes about insanity, primitivism, and the avant-garde places art brut in this idealized orbit. Just as stereotypes of "otherness" existed before and after him, such stereotyping continues today. The contemporary discourse surrounding outsider art betrays a similar romanticism to Dubuffet's:

The outsiders resist convenient labelling, for each is an individual...there is a feeling that they stand not on the margins of art, but at its centre, at the very verge of the sources of creativity whose enigmatic forces they ride like apocalyptic horsemen without any desire to tame them. it is the journey that concerns them; an unknown, ultimate destination beckons and on their way to it they express the magnitude of their varied and mortal visions.110


It seems clear that the critical research devoted to Dubuffet's writing, artwork and involvement with art brut is largely made up of literal interpretations which reflect Dubuffet's own ideology. Yet, as this paper demonstrates, there are numerous paradoxes within Dubuffet's literature and the limited responses to it. Historical contextualization further denies a straightforward reading of Dubuffet's ideas.

For all of Dubuffet's desire to bring art to the people, to endow it with true creativity, to transcend and diversify the hierarchical structure of the art establishment, Dubuffet's enterprise is scarred by contradictions of value. Dubuffet's rejection of culture is hardly a unique position; it solidifies his role as an avant-garde artist instead of positing him on the cultural margins next to the makers of art brut.

It is difficult to understand how these contradictions have escaped inquiry, especially when so many of them are blatant and on the surface of Dubuffet's undertaking. Dubuffet's actions and beliefs reveal similar inconsistencies. He is at once a writer who uses his words to construct and deconstruct notions about art, and at the same time he is an artist who criticizes the very activity of writing and extols the superior communicative power of the visual image. To say, as some scholars have, that Dubuffet probably never meant what he said, is only an avoidance of the issues have been raised by this prolific artist and writer. Dubuffet himself excused his contradictions by acknowledging that all writers contradict themselves over the years and by insisting that coherent written structures go against the nature of writing itself. In the case of Dubuffet the incongruities that have been overlooked are perhaps the most interesting result of this examination and serve as a kind of historical evidence.

Dubuffet's references to primitivism and basic, natural or universal states can be understood in the context of the early twentieth century interest in anthropology and psychoanalysis. His involvement with art brut can be seen as an indicator of his post-war disenchantment and skepticism. It can also be extended, however, to attitudes before and after Dubuffet and used as a tool to examine contemporary issues. This kind of contextualization is necessary to a fuller understanding of Dubuffet's beliefs.

Today, there is increasing attention being paid to "outsider art" in museums, galleries and art-related publications. It has been lauded, like art brut, as an authentic creative production in the face of today's increasingly commercialized art market. In fact, outsider art has been historically validated by Dubuffet's discourse on art brut. Yet the very concept of outsider art seems to serve a purpose in the contemporary context, one that provides an alternative to an overflow of seemingly meaningless art. The optimistic literature on Dubuffet reveals the importance of a critical inquiry that questions the proponents of these ideas and takes into account various historical and cultural contexts.



1. Mildred Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality (New York: Abbeville Press, 1987), p. 9.
2. This text is cited often because it is an anthology of Dubuffet's writings--it includes only a brief introduction by Glimcher.
3. See for example Margit Rowell, Jean Dubuffet: A Retrospective (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1973), Peter Selz, The Work of Jean Dubuffet (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1962), Jean Dubuffet: Forty Years of His Art (catalog from the exhibition at The University of Chicago/David and Alfred Smart Gallery, October 4-December 2, 1984).
4. See for example Philip Crick, "Art Cast Out," The British Journal of Aesthetics (Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter, 1980), Robert Hughtes, "Dubuffet and the Myth of Innocence," Studio International (Vol. 17, May, 1966).
5. Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 4.
6. William S. Rubin, Dada and Surrealist Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1968), p. 409.
7. Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 3.
8. Stephen Polcari, Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 28.
9. John Rajchman, forward to Thierry de Duve, Pictorial Nominalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), p. x.
10. Robert Hughes, "Dubuffet and the Myth of Innocence," Studio International (Vol. 171, May, 1966), p. 175.
11. Barbara Rose, "Jean Dubuffet: The Outsider as Insider," Arts (Vol. 53, April, 1979), p. 146.
12. Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism (New York: Collier Books, 1967), p. 53.
13. Dubuffet's first exposure to art brut occurred in Heidelberg, the location of Hans Prinzhorn's collection. His later involvement with art brut did not move beyond Europe, as he collected the work from French and Swiss Institutions. The art brut in these European collections and institutions was made largely by natives of European countries.
14. Polcari, Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience, pp. 22-3.
15. Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 4.
16. Henry-Claude Cousseau, "Origins and Deviations: A Short History of Art Brut," Art & Text (Vol. 27, December 1987-February, 1988), p. 6.
17. Thomas M. Messer and Fred Licht, Jean Dubuffet and Art Brut (catalog from the exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, 1986-7), p. 11.
18. Valère Novarina, "Interview with Jean Dubuffet," Flash Art (No. 110, January, 1983), p. 19.
19. Selz, The Work of Jean Dubuffet as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, pp. 6-7.
20. Rose, "Jean Dubuffet: The Outsider as Insider," p. 149.
21. Michel Thévoz, Art Brut (New York: Rizzoli International, 1976), p. 11.
22. Ibid., p. 12.
23. Ibid., p. 13.
24. Ibid., p. 14.
25. Outsiders: An Art Without Precedent or Tradition (catalog from the exhibition by the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1979), p. 22.
26. Thévoz, Art Brut, p. 40.
27. Jean Dubuffet, "Anticultural Positions", 1951 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 128.
28. Rose, "Jean Dubuffet: The Outsider as Insider," p. 151.
29. Nadeau, The History of Surrealism, back cover.
30. Herschel B. Chipp, Theories of Modern Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), p.1.
31. E.H. Gombrich, The Image and the Eye (New York: Cornell University Press, 1982), p. 56.
32. Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1979-84).
33. Jean Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, trans. Carol Volk (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1986). Originally Asphysiante Culture (Paris: J.-J. Pauvert, 1968). Asphyxiating Culture is one of Dubuffet's more important works. Written later in his life, it presents Dubuffet's anti-cultural ideology in depth as compared to the truncated style of his essays. The 1986 edition also includes several additional essays by Dubuffet.
34. Dubuffet chose to capitalize terms such as culture, individual, creativity, art and art brut throughout his written work. The capitals have been omitted here; they imitate Dubuffet's rhetoric and slant any commentary in support of his ideas.
35. Jean Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, trans. Carol Volk (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1986), p. 8.
36. See Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984).
37. Ibid., p. 10-11.
38. Ibid., p. 39.
39. Ibid., p. 41.
40. Ibid., p. 44.
41. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 84.
42. Jean Dubuffet, "Anticultural Positions", 1951, as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 129.
43. Jean Dubuffet, "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting", 1945, as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 53.
44. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 79.
45. Ibid., p. 85.
46. Jean Dubuffet, "Perceiving", 1960-1 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 182.
47. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 75.
48. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 91.
49. Ibid., p. 93.
50. Ibid., p. 94.
51. Ibid., p. 55.
52. Jean Dubuffet, "DeMagnetization of Brains", 1968 as cited in Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 102.
53. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 23.
54. Ibid., p. 89.
55. Ibid., p. 93.
56. Ibid., p. 9.
57. Jean Dubuffet, "A Word About the Company of Raw Art", 1948 as cited in Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 110.
58. Jean Dubuffet, "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 55.
59. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 63.
60. Jean Dubuffet, "Remarks on the Unveiling of the Group of Four Trees", 1972 as cited in Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 115.
61. Jean Dubuffet, "Author's Forewarning", 1963 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 33.
62. Jean Dubuffet, "Rough Draft for a Popular Lecture on Painting", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 56.
63. Jean Dubuffet, "Carnival of Mirages", 1964 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 211.
64. Jean Dubuffet, "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts", 1949 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 102.
65. Jean Dubuffet, "Anticultural Positions", 1951 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 128.
66. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p.81.
67. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 62.
68. Ibid., p. 83.
69. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 68.
70. Ibid., p. 69.
71. Ibid., p. 73.
72. Jean Dubuffet, "Author's Forewarning", 1963 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 33.
73. Jean Dubuffet, "Notes for the Well-Read", 1945 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 83.
74. Novarina, "Interview with Jean Dubuffet," p. 20.
75. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 71.
76. Ibid.
77. Ibid., p. 83.
78. Ibid., p. 92.
79. Jean Dubuffet, "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts", 1949 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 104.
80. Rose, "Jean Dubuffet: The Outsider as Insider," p. 146.
81. Hans Prinzhorn, Artistry of the Mentally Ill (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1972), p. 1.
82. W. von Baeyer, preface to the 1968 reprint of Hans Prinzhorn, Artistry of the Mentally Ill (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1972), p. vi.
83. Thévoz, Art Brut, p. 12.
84. Cousseau, "Origins and Deviations: A Short History of Art Brut," p. 8.
85. Ibid.
86. Sander L. Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 223.
87. Ibid., p. 228.
88. Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 1.
89. Ibid., p. 7.
90. Ibid., p. 20.
91. Ibid., p. 6.
92. Sally Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), p. 81.
93. Ibid., p. 81.
94. Jean Dubuffet, "Anticultural Positions", 1951 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 127.
95. Ibid.
96. Jean Dubuffet, "Art Brut Preferred to the Cultural Arts", 1949 as cited in Glimcher, Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality, p. 104.
97. Dubuffet, Asphyxiating Culture, p. 69.
98. Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places, p. 31.
99. Ibid., p. 32.
100. Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness, p. 15.
101. Ibid., p. 17.
102. Ibid., p. 23.
103. Ibid., p. 18.
104. Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places, p. 37.
105. Said, Orientalism, p. 3.
106. Ibid., p. 22.
107. Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness, p. 230.
108. Ibid., p. 231.
109. Philip Crick, "Art Cast Out," The British Journal of Aesthetics (Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter, 1980), p. 27.
110. Outsiders: An Art Without Precedent or Tradition, p. 8.



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