The Outsider Art Museum is a refreshing new museum located at the Amsterdam Hermitage Museum. The Amsterdam Outsider Museum shows ‘outsider art’: art that’s self-taught and created away from the mainstream art world.
The Outsider Art Museum also has an Outsider Art Gallery and the Outsider Art Artotheek, both of which are free to visit. At the Outsider Art Gallery, all the art is for sale. The Artotheek is a library for art where you borrow artwork for 50 euros a year.
Many of the works at the Outsider Art Museum come from Het Dolhuys, a museum in neighboring city Haarlem (located in an old psychiatric hospital) that wants to ‘encourage visitors to think about the boundary between crazy and normal and question the representations of ‘madness’, as it states on the website. Het Dolhuys has hundreds of works by international artists, all of who suffer from psychiatric trouble.
For this year’s temporary exhibitions, check the Amsterdam Exhibitions calendar.
Outsider art in Amsterdam
One of them is Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada. He started creating art with his fellow patients when he was a resident of an institution for the mentally disabled.
Shinichi Sawada exhibited his ceramic sculptures at the Venice Biennale of 2013, after which a movement emerged of so-called ‘outsider art’.
Art by psychiatric patients
Not all outsider art is made by psychiatric patients, but it’s always is self-taught and does not fit into the world of art academies, art galleries, and the mainstream art scene.
Many of the art works shown at the Hermitage are made by people with psychological problems.
The Hermitage will also make space for two studios for artists who are affiliated with Cordaan, a Dutch care institution for the elderly and for people with a physical or learning disability.
The idea is that some creative clients of Cordaan will soon hang alongside the work of other outsider artists.
Understanding people with disabilities
The new Amsterdam Outsider Art Museum also means ‘recognition, appreciation, and understanding of people with disabilities,’ says Eelco Damen, chairman of the Cordaan executive board, according to the website.