The American Folk Art Museum
has mounted Martin Ramirez's first retrospective (Jan. 23 – April 29), and because of two glowing reviews, I will be trotting over to 53rd Street to find out why.
The New Yorker
the New York Times
are the reviews in question, and I believe the tastemakers have just picked a new
darling.Not only is this one of the “best shows of the season" according to the
' Roberta Smith, but the perennially unimpressed, better-at-everything-than-you-or-I-will-ever-be
declares Ramírez “my favorite outsider artist. Come to that, he’s one of my favorite artists, period."
Obviously, anybody who knows anything about anything
Schjeldahl and Smith, included
has been familiar with Ramírez's work
. With the upsurge in
in all things
, his great talent, the fact that his works have been exhibited under the radar for decades and his archetypically outsider story (mental patient, hazy biography, "self-taught" and so on), it’s small wonder the critics would cast a loving eye on him. Still, you rarely see a show catch a critic like Schjeldahl so off-guard as to compel him to call it "a marvel and a joy." In the second sentence of the review, no less.
My curiosity is piqued. I'm going a week from tomorrow, and will deliver a full report.