Oil on canvas, 116 x 89.5 cm, Jean Dubuffet.
of Military Command, 1819-22, Oil
on canvas, 81 x 65 cm, Théodore Géricault.
Both images are from common license and copyright free.
Art: Outsider Art & Jean Dubuffet
Adapted and additions
made to an existing lesson plan for the English Literature class on
Othello, and representations of race.
Students will be introduced to the concept of Outsider Art,
the work and writings of Jean Dubuffet, and the story of modern art
history. They will gain an understanding of the Modern cultural context
and mid 20th century France.
Questions: What influence did 'outsider' art, or Art Brut,
have for artists and Modern Art? Where is Art Brut found today?
Materials: Overhead projector, or CD and computer with
overhead LCD, handouts, pens, pencils, notebooks.
arrangement: As is, group activity, and presentations.
Hook: Two images on overhead, or CD overhead (left).
to read the paintings as they would text. Summarize student's answers
and comments, repeat their comments and continue onto the next student,
as you guide the class through questions. The material, as well, may
tell students something; the shapes, textures, and gesture may too.
Guide students to think and speak about;
image is from the imagination, or perception, of the artist?
do you see? Describe the pose, clothes, props, lighting, features,
you know who the person is?
does the painting tell you about?
does the painting make you feel? How has that happened? What did the
artist do to achieve this?
did the artist tell you? (color, gesture, texture, title, material,
students the dates of each painting. What does the art work by Jean
Dubuffet suggest about the story of Modern art in Europe, particularly
France at this time?
Outsider Art was part of thinking, speaking, and making what is now
called modern art. At the time it greatly influenced artists such as,
Jean Dubuffet. He gave it his own term, Art Brut, and gave some art
works a particular definition: art works done without contact, knowledge,
or any reference of the culture [perhaps history] of art, and by people
in isolation equal to patients in hospitals for the insane. Then and
now there are opinions about the art, but it points out where , how,
when, and what should fit in the official story of art history and the
history of modern art.
pair, share -- Ask students to divide into 3-4 groups. Give
each group 1 reading from 3-4 provided below,
by Jean Dubuffet, 1956;
from the MA Thesis of Samantha Krukowski, contemporary artist and
art historian, 1992;
from an art review by Roberta Smith in the New York Times, 2005.
by Richard Greaves, Anarchitect, Quebec, Canada, 2006.
students will read the text, summarize, write down their comments, thoughts,
and considerations (what they discussed), and present them too the class.
They must be ready to discuss issues and perspectives in the class discussion,
guided by the following questions, and for further discussion:
were Modern Artists?
were Outsiders and Modern Artists regarded in Dubuffet's time, 40s
- 60s, and in earlier times?
was the culture of art, and how were artists ranked?
was the hierarchy, if any, in the culture of art in Paris, France?
to students to consider what was the role of women? What was expected
of a daughter? What was expected of a wife?]
were the relationships between Outsiders and Modern artists? How were
were the rules, if any, for a Modern artist at the time?
were the rules of Museums and Galleries?
slides of ART BRUT (Powerpoint
presentation): Art Brut and Modern Art examples for visual
Culminating Activity: Final questions for 3-5 paragraphs of
society’s standards of value the same for all artists?
the contributions of diverse minority groups.
some of these groups considered to be valuable or useful?
says in one quote that man does not interest him in the least, yet
his paintings are of people, men and women. This appears to be a contradiction.
What do you make of this?
Jean Dubuffet's estimation of his self-worth and the art he does,
equal to the assessment of the culture of art?
how the standards of value presented in Modern art work relate to
our society today? Has the human condition changed? If so, in what
Students will discuss and write down their thoughts on the following
is the difference between being considered useful vs. being valuable
teacher will check for understanding of the question and prompt them
as needed to help them understand what is being asked of them.
the teacher’s discretion he or she may choose to continue to
intrigue the students with the following question: Do you think your
own self worth is more important than society’s evaluation of
your value? Why?