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15 Mar 2017

The Hidden Art

The artworks created by so-called outsider, art brut, and self-taught artists have fascinated viewers for decades. The Hidden Art captures the evolution and growth of this art field, narrated through the outstanding collection that Audrey B. Heckler has meticulously assembled over the last twenty-four years. Organized into five sections—Masters, Art Brut and Self-Taught Artists in Europe, Southern American Self-Taught Favorites, American Classics, and 21st-Century Self-Taught Art Worldwide—this publication celebrates the individual contributions and legacy of self-taught artists with thoughtful essays by thirty-two renowned specialists of self-taught art, who represent the international scope and diversity underlying this collection.

Supported by the American Folk Art Museum since its founding in 1961, self-taught art has taken its rightful place in the pantheon of art history. The Hidden Art includes works of forty-eight exceptional self-taught artists, many whose names are familiar to us—Sam Doyle, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial, Madge Gill, Morris Hirshfield, Martín Ramírez, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfli—and less familiar artists to be discovered in these pages. In time for the book’s release, the American Folk Art Museum will open two exhibitions showcasing two major self-taught artists whose work is contained in this volume: Eugen Gabritschevsky: Theater of the Imperceptible and Carlo Zinelli (1916–1974). Both exhibitions, organized by Valérie Rousseau, PhD, Curator, Self-Taught Art and Art Brut at the museum, will run from March 14 through August 20, 2017; they represent the first major monographic exhibitions in the US for these artists.

On Monday, April 3, 2017, following a symposium organized by the American Folk Art Museum titled Post-Dubuffet: Self-Taught Art in the 21st Century, the museum scheduled a book launch of The Hidden Art. Ms. Heckler and several contributors to the book will be signing the book that evening, including its editor Valérie Rousseau, Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, executive director of the American Folk Art Museum, and Jane Kallir, author, curator, and codirector of New York’s Galerie St. Etienne.

Audrey B. Heckler, a devoted trustee of the American Folk Art Museum since 2003, has enriched the museum through loans for exhibitions, gifts to the collection, and financial support of museum’s initiatives, notably the annual Visionary Award and the Council for the Study of Art Brut and Self-Taught Art. With the publication of THE HIDDEN ART, Ms. Heckler has further committed selected artworks illustrated in this volume, including a major piece by Achilles G. Rizzoli. Additionally, she agreed to donate all proceeds from the sale of this book sold in the American Folk Art Museum Shop to benefit the museum’s programs.


Credit for the book must read: © THE HIDDEN ART: 20th- & 21st-Century Self-Taught Artists from the Audrey B. Heckler Collection, by Valérie Rousseau (ed.), Jane Kallir, Anne-Imelda Radice, and others. Photography by Visko Hatfield. Published by Skira Rizzoli in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 2017. All images are to be credited on a case-by-case basis. No images or text may be reproduced, published, or transmitted digitally in any way without written permission from the publisher. For images to accompany your coverage, or for any other publicity information about this title, please contact: Pam Sommers at 212. 387. 3425 or For information about the American Folk Art Museum, please contact Kate Merlino, 212. 977. 7295,


THE HIDDEN ART: 20th- & 21st-Century Self-Taught Artists from the Audrey B. Heckler Collection

By Valérie Rousseau (ed.), Jane Kallir, Anne-Imelda Radice, and 29 additional authors.

Photography by Visko Hatfield

Hardcover / 8.5 x 10″ / 272 pages / 205 color illustrations

$50.00 U.S., $67.00 CAN, ₤40.20 U.K.

ISBN: 978-0-8478-5902-3

Skira Rizzoli in association with American Folk Art Museum

Release Date: March 2017



Barbus Müller, Emery Blagdon, Georgia Blizzard, David Butler, James Castle, Nek Chand, Aloïse Corbaz, Henry Darger, Thornton Dial, Hiroyuki Doi, Sam Doyle, William Edmondson, Guo Fengyi, Howard Finster, Eugen Gabritschevsky, Madge Gill, Johann Fischer, Johann Hauser, Franz Kernbeis, Johann Korec, Oswald Tschirtner, August Walla, William Hawkins, Morris Hirshfield, August Klett, Augustin Lesage, Ronald Lockett, Justin McCarthy, M’onma, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Luboš Plný, Martín Ramírez, Achilles G. Rizzoli, Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern, Christine Sefolosha, Jon Serl, Ghyslaine and Sylvain Staëlens, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver, Bill Traylor, George Widener Charlie Willeto, Scottie Wilson, Adolf Wölfli, Purvis Young, Anna Zemánková, Domenico Zindato, Carlo Zinelli.



Gordon W. Bailey, Shonto Begay, Michael Bonesteel, Roger Cardinal, Lynne Cooke, Susan Mitchell Crawley, Claudia Dichter, Johann Feilacher, Philipp Fernandes do Brito, Edward M. Gómez, Audrey B. Heckler, Bernard L. Herman, Katherine L. Jentleson, Jane Kallir, Phyllis Kind, Tina Kukielski, Sarah Lombardi, Elsa Longhauser, John Maizels, Judith McWillie, Richard Meyer, Randall Morris, Tom Patterson, Anne-Imelda Radice, Colin Rhodes, Roger Ricco, Thomas Röske, Valérie Rousseau, Barbara Safarova, Leslie Umberger, Karen Wilkin, Elaine Y. Yau.


About the American Folk Art Museum

Founded in 1961, the American Folk Art Museum is the premier institution devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad. The museum preserves, conserves, and interprets a comprehensive collection of the highest quality, with objects dating from the eighteenth century to the present. For more information, please visit