I just took my very first trip to The Folk Art Museum, a place I have been meaning to go for a long time. The Dargerism show, a combination of Henry Darger works and those of current artists he has influenced finally got me there.
It's an odd space, with a dominant stairwell. It feels like it was built to be something else and they made do with what they had to make a museum. Still, despite a bit of architectural oddness the show is worth seeing for sure. Being able to see Darger's work up close is unreal. The amount of crazy detail, the layering, the sheer size, the way he seemed to never sketch anything, but has everything in perspective, the layering, and the color. It's all so much more in person than even the best books can convey.
The museum owns a huge collection of his works, exhibited an exhaustive amount of his work in 2002 (I sadly missed that show), has established a Henry Darger Study Center, and generally is absolutely head over heels for the guy, so it's a little surprising they didn't have a few more artists involved in this show.
Many of the ones that are involved almost all were new names to me and several are producing pretty amazing work. Robyn O'Neil, whose work was featured in the Whitney biennial a few years back once again stole my heart with her huge drawings and photographer Justine Kurland, painter Yun-Fei Ji and painter Amy Cutler had exceptional pieces. Unfortunately some work, namely Justin Lieberman's, which merely takes Darger works and adds modern photos to them, was uninspiring.
The museum also features a crafty gift shop and will be showing the work of Martin Ramirez in October.