Friday, June 19, 2015

Art Through Architecture (American Visionary Art Museum)

The founder and director of the AVAM is Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, who while working in the development department of Sinai Hospital’s (Baltimore) People Encouraging People (a program geared toward aiding psychiatric patients in their return to the community) began to develop the idea for a visionary museum, an idea that eventually blossomed into the American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM. Initially, Hoffberger was simply interested in the artwork created by the patients in the People Encouraging People program, and found herself “impressed with their imagination” and looking to “their strengths, not their illnesses.”
Hoffberger found inspiration on a visit to the Collection de l'art brut in Lausanne, Switzerland, which was established by French artist Jean Dubuffet as a collection of “l'art brut” or “raw art because of the untamed emotions resonating in it.” Hoffberger described the museum as “the best, the most imaginative, the most original museum” and soon adopted the idea of “l'art brut” for her own visionary museum

 In her inaugural address, Hoffberger stated that “the American Visionary Art Museum opens its doors of perception not in an effort to make war on academic or institutionalized learning, but to create a place where the best of self-taught, intuitive contributions of all kinds will be duly recognized, explored, and then championed in a clear strong voice.” Since its designation—by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Congress—as America's "official national education center, repository and museum for self-taught, intuitive artistry,"

The AVAM is the official national museum and education center for self-taught and intuitive artistry. Visionary art beats to the rhythm of its own drum, or rather, it's own fantastical self-made instrument. The American Visionary Art Museum provides an inclusive space for 'outsider' art. However, there is a fine line to walk when 'fringe' or 'outsider' art is concerned.

The Hoffberger Family Welcome Plaza connects the Jim Rouse Visionary Center, which opened in 2004, to the rest of the museum complex. The Plaza host several works including Phoenix by Dr. Tom Evermore and Cosmic Galaxy Egg by Andrew Logan.

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