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Thorton Dial: In From the Cold

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Richard Benari considers the work of Thornton Dial whose work is on view in the exhibition Outside/In at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, on view through March 2, 2014.

Benari writes that there’s "no question that locking Mr. Dial’s work into the 'outsider' narrative diminishes it, turning it into artifact instead of art–into evidence of his struggle against the often brutal and at least unforgiving injustice he was met with daily… curator Michael David… brings together sixteen of Dial’s early work on paper and sculpture with paintings, drawings and sculpture by Katherine Bradford, Farrell Brickhouse, James Castle, Chris Martin, Joan Snyder and Fred Valentine. .. And the 'declassification' does in fact help. Having the chance to see Mr. Dial’s work liberated from the 'outsider' narrative invites the viewer to instead focus on the importance of physical handling, iconography and the use of discarded materials—the appropriate starting point for a deep engagement with his good art."

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