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Divine Disorder: Folk and Outsider Art
Divine Disorder, Conserving the Chaos: Conference on the Conservation of Folk and Outsider Art

Divine Disorder, Conserving the Chaos: Conference on the Conservation of Folk and Outsider Art

February 15 - February 16, 2012

Natchitoches, LA

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The first Divine Disorder Conference was held February 15-16, 2012 on the campus of Northwestern University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

This conference  focused on highlighting the under-appreciated decorative works of non-traditional artists. The conservation of these works is vital to preserving the life story of those artists outside the main stream art community. Artists come from all walks of life and every ethnic background, Folk and Outsider art is many times strongly patriotic, intensely spiritual, but always deeply personal. If not preserved we lose the window into the lives of the artists and their folk traditions.

Conference participants view the collection of Clementine Hunter originals and Toye forgeries at the Gallery 2 showing

The Conference was held February 15-16, 2012 on the campus of Northwestern University in Natchitoches, Louisiana at the Magale Recital Hall.  The program featured two days of contributed papers. Those talks were live streamed and recorded, the archived footage is available at the link below.
In addition to the scheduled lectures a reception was held the first night at Melrose Plantation to highlight the murals and works of Clementine Hunter. The conference also featured a gallery show of Clementine Hunter original works that were mirrored by similarly themed William Toye forgeries. This show was hung in Gallery 2 in the NSU Fine Arts Annex under the direction of Leslie Gruesbeck. Additional images of the conference and reception are located on the NCPTT flickr site.

On Friday February 17th a group of conference attendees took a trip to see the visionary artist Juanita Leonard at her environment in Montgomery, Louisiana.

Tony Rajer at the 2010 AIC Conference

The Divine Disorder Conference has concluded. Our thanks to conference participants, presenters, online guests, and our hosts from Northwestern State University. This inaugural Divine Disorder Conference was dedicated to the conference co-organizer and folk art conservator Tony Rajar.




Follow the Schedule Links to the Recorded Talks

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Clementine Hunter; History of Forgery” Tommy Whitehead

FBI Investigation” Randolph Deaton, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alexandria, LA

“Discriminating Palettes: The Painting Materials of Clementine Hunter and Her Imitator” Joseph Barabe, Senior Research Microscopist, McCrone Associates, Inc.

FBI Investigation Conclusion” Deaton

“African House Murals” Michael Swicklik, Senior Conservator of Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

“Henry Darger and His Alternate World” Lee Kogan, Curator Emerita, American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY

God’s Architects; Documenting the Materials, Methods, and Self-Taught Builders of the South Emilie Taylor, Adjunct Professor, Tulane School of Architecture, New Orleans, LA

“Unicultural Ethnography: Preserving Outsider Art Through the Ethnography of Individual Outsider Artisits” Shane Rasmussen, Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center, and Matt DeFord, Coordinator of Art, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA

“What’s In and What’s Out” Patrick McBride, Senior Conservator, and Rebecca de But, Conservator, The Paper Conservation Studio, Dublin, Ireland

“A Creative Obsession: Materials and Techniques of the Self-Taught Artist James Castle” Nancy Ash, Senior Conservator of Works of Art on Paper, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Evening Reception at Melrose Plantation. This will highlight Hunter’s Murals in the African House and her home at Melrose.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Creating a Conservation Plan for Vollis Simpson’s Whirligigs” Dennis Montagna, National Park Service, Monument Research and Preservation Program, Jefferson Currie, Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Project, and Ron Harvey, Senior Conservator, Tuckerbrook Conservation, LLC

“Taking the Art to the Streets: How the Citizens of Los Angeles Saved Watts Towers” Jo Farb Hernandez, Director S.P.A.C.E.S.

“Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts Four Decades of Interventions and Still Searching for a Solution” Frank Preusser, Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Orange Show Center for Visionary Art” Marilyn Oshman, Orange Show, Houston, Texas

“The Greatest Show on Earth: the History and Conservation of Jefferson Davis McKissack’s Orange Show Joe Sembrat, President and Senior Conservator, Conservation Solutions Inc. and Grace Cynkar, Historic Preservation Specialist, SWCA Environmental Consulting

“The Strange Procession That Never Moves” Martin Johnson, Vice President, Monument Conservation Collaborative

“Virtual Conservation of Folk and Outsider Art Environments” Arthur Jones, Chair, Department of Art and Design, University of North Dakota

 “Paradise Garden; It’s Past and It’s Future” Jordan Poole, Executive Director of Paradise Garden Foundation

Planning to Stabilize, Document, Conserve and Interpret Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia” Jack Pyburn, Principal, Historic Preservation Studio, Lord, Aeck, & Sargent Architecture

“Magical Mosaics: Preserving Isaiah Zagar’s Philadelphia Art Environment” Sarah Modiano

Opening at Gallery 2. A temporary show will be hung to highlight the recent Toye forgeries along with original Clementine Hunter paintings that they mimic. Gallery 2 is located adjacent to the conference hall.

Friday, February 17, 2012

There will be an optional tour at no cost for anyone interested to visit the local art environment of Juanita Leonard.  Pictures from that tour are on the NCPTT flickr site.


If you have questions regarding this conference or would like to request a DVD copy of a lecture, please contact Jason Church at jason_church@contractor.nps.gov or 318-356-7444.


Participants talk with Juanita Leonard at her folk art church in Montgomery, Louisiana

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February 15, 2012 @ 8:00 AM
February 16, 2012 @ 5:00 PM
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Unnamed Venue<br /><small>Divine Disorder, Conserving the Chaos: Conference on the Conservation of Folk and Outsider Art</small>
Natchitoches, LA 71457 United States


Jason Church<br /><small>Divine Disorder, Conserving the Chaos: Conference on the Conservation of Folk and Outsider Art</small>
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119