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Outsider art invades Paris

PARIS — For a brief time, a former Catholic seminary on Paris’ classy Boulevard Raspail was overtaken with a psychoanalyst’s jubilee of art from self-taught creators who worked in secret or seclusion, in mental asylums or hospitals, or just from their own particular perspective of the world. The Museum of Everything is a traveling exhibition started by British filmmaker James Brett in 2009 that’s been widely successful in its unique curation of overlooked art, having now collaborated with the Tate Modern and the Missoni fashion house. Its Exhibition #1.1 popped up from October 2012 to March 2013 in the Saint-Germain space of the Chalet Society, a project of Marc-Oliver Wahler, the former director and chief curator of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. I was lucky enough to catch it in its last days, and it was one of the most fascinating experiences I’ve had of viewing “outsider” art, as it’s usually classified, from the sheer overwhelming density of the work to the truly talented, and truly bizarre, artists corralled into one alternative arts space.

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