Social Geographies:

Interpreting Space and place

The art world operates within geographic frameworks. Spatial divisions between “inside” and “outside” impact how the art world describes, identifies and validates artists featured within the exhibition, Social Geographies: Interpreting Space and Place. Whether deemed “outsider” – Henry Darger, Martín Ramírez, George Widener – or “self-taught” – Thornton Dial, Sr., Minnie Evans, Lonnie Holley – these artists bear categorical markers that organize their art but do not adequately speak of their art’s unique qualities and circumstances. In response to such prescriptive terms, Social Geographies asks viewers to experience artwork regarded as different, differently. Rather than presenting artists and their work through notions of marginality, the exhibition generates discussions of subjective and shared experiences told through concepts of space and place. To this end, Social Geographies engages artistic agency on multiple levels. The exhibition features 40 mostly large-scale works by American artists that represent space and place informed by their experiences of industrial encroachment, displacement, social exclusion, institutionalization and inequality.

Asheville Art Museum, January 17, 2014

The Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC, is pleased to host a lecture by Dr. Leisa Rundquist on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 6 – 7:30pm, titled “Henry Darger: Panoramas and Hyperbole”. During the lecture, Rundquist will explore several cultural influences that inform the sprawling and stormy landscapes in the art of Henry Darger. Her talk will cover Chicago’s turn-of-the-century cycloramic entertainments and burgeoning industry of “instant” tragic histories, as well as Darger’s own collection of resource materials from popular magazines.

Carolina Arts News, May 6, 2014

Social Geographies forgoes formal classifications and draws focus to the notion of place. Both real and imagined, physical and psychological, place is relative. But either way, it’s experienced. And while these experiences-turned-memories are unique to the artists, Rundquist argues that the sensibility is inherent in all of the exhibit’s material.

Mountain Xpress, State of the arts, January 21, 2014


  • Dr. Charles Russel, Look Homeward Angel: Memory, Imagination, and the Worlds We Share
  • Dr. Bernard Herman, Troublesome Things in the Borderlands of Contemporary Art

Social Geographies Catalogue Essay