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James Castle: A Retrospective
by Ann Percy
James Castle (1899-1977) never learned to speak, read, or write, nor did he ever leave his native state of Idaho, and yet he created a wide range of extraordinary works that resonate with much of twentieth-century art. This book offers the first critical exploration of the many creative genres of this self-taught artist, who first came to notice in the 1950s and 1960s but ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Philadelphia Museum of Art
(first published October 6th 2008)
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James Castle is now right up there with Henry Darger, Martin Ramirez, Adolf Wolfli, and Bill Traylor as one of my favorite “outsider” artists, but for an outsider artist he was fairly “normal”. Yes he was born deaf and never learned to speak, refused to work on his family’s farm, preferring instead to sit at his table drawing all day, and when he drew he used soot and spit rather than typical artists' materials; but for all that he was still fairly normal. Unlike the typical outsider artist he l ...more
Castle has entered the canon of American outsider artists. A long biographical essay places Castle in his time and corrects several of the myths that have already accumulated around the artist. An interview with painter Terry Winters provides a special insight into how one artist views another.