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PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie

January 23, 2021–June 6, 2021
At the American Folk Art Museum
Lincoln Square, Manhattan

PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie presents the first international survey of self-taught photography. Gathering works dating from 1870 to the present by artists from various countries, the exhibition reveals the critical potential of this still relatively unexplored segment of the research on art brut. It includes four hundred works by more than forty artists (notably, Morton Bartlett, Lee Godie, Norma Oliver, Miroslav Tichý, and Marcel Bascoulard) with projections of never-before-printed images by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein and the Instagram transformations of Ichiwo Sugino. It also gathers assemblages made of photographs by Felipe Jesus Consalvos, Kazuo Handa, and Steve Ashby, and works relying heavily on the photographic process by Henry Darger and Leopold Strobl. This exhibition shines light on the innovative practices in the field of photography, offering fresh insight into the medium. The works have been selected from the exceptional collection of Bruno Decharme, as well as from the American Folk Art Museum, public institutions, and private collections.

This exhibition is co-produced by the American Folk Art Museum, abcd, and Les Rencontres d’Arles. It is curated by Valérie Rousseau, PhD, senior curator & curator of self-taught art and art brut, and Bruno Decharme, in collaboration with Paula Aisemberg, Barbara Safarova, and Sam Stourdzé.

A 320-page catalog (printed in English and French, 2019), published by Flammarion in collaboration with the American Folk Art Museum and abcd, is available at the Museum Shop. It includes contributions by the exhibition curators Bruno Decharme, Valérie Rousseau, Barbara Safarova, and Sam Stourdzé, and renowned specialists Michel Thévoz and Brian Wallis, among others.



Images: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910, Marinette, WI–1983, Milwaukee, WI); untitled; c. 1940s; 35mm transparency; 1 3/8 x 7/8 in.; © 2019 Lewis B. Greenblatt; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. Photo courtesy of Lewis B. Greenblatt.

Artist unidentified; untitled (spirit photograph); August 5, 1941; silver print; 4 5/8 x 3 1/2 in.; Collection of the Institut métapsychique international, Paris. Photo by Coll. IMI/Agence martienne.

Lee Godie (1908, Chicago, Illinois, United States–1994, Plato Center, Illinois), untitled, n.d., ink and silver print (from photo booth) on paper, 26 x 20 1/8 in., Collection Bruno Decharme. Photo by Ilan Weiss.

Zorro (artist unidentified, 20th century), untitled, 1967, chromogenic color prints, 5 x 3 5/8 in., Collection Bruno Decharme. Photo by Bruno Decharme.

Norma Oliver (1893–1979, United States); Dedicated with Loving Consideration to Joseph Korpanty by The Jansen Group; between 1948 and 1950; gelatin silver print, colored pencil on paper, and collaged typed inscriptions; drawing: 10 5/8 x 8 1/4 in., print: 4 x 2 7/8 in.; Collection Bruno Decharme. Photo by Ilan Weiss.

Steve Ashby (1904–1980, Delaplane, Virginia, United States); untitled; n.d.; wood, magazine clipping, fabric, paint, plastic, and metal; 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 5 in.; Collection of Robert A. Roth. Photo by John Faier.

Henry Darger (1892–1973, Chicago, Illinois, United States); untitled (“These Little Children. . . ”); mid-twentieth century; hand-tinted photograph and ink on cardboard; 7 x 9 in.; American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Kiyoko Lerner, 2003.7.60; © Kiyoko Lerner. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Morton Bartlett (1909, Chicago, Illinois, United States–1992, Boston, Massachusetts, United States); untitled (Girl Reading); c. 1955; 35mm transparency; Barry Sloane Collection, Los Angeles; © The Bartlett Project, LLC. Photo courtesy of the Bartlett Project, LLC. 

Marcel Bascoulard (1913, Vallenay, France–1978, Asnières- lès-Bourges, France), untitled, around 1970, gelatin silver prints, 5 1/8 x 3 3/8 in, Collection Bruno Decharme. Photo by Bruno Decharme.

Leopold Strobl (1960, Mistelbach, Austria), untitled, 2015, pencil and colored pencil on newsprint clipping adhered to paper, 2 5/8 x 3 5/8 in., Collection Bruno Decharme, © Galerie Gugging. Photo by Ilan Weiss. 

Artist unidentified (19th century), untitled (double-sided), 1870s, photomontage of gelatin silver prints, 11 1/2 x 9 1/2 in., Collection Bruno Decharme. Photo by Illan Weiss.


This exhibition is supported in part by the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Council for Self-Taught Art.