Tony Bennett unsuspectingly coined a new term of surprising relevance when he once said he liked what Oskar Kokoschka did "along the peripheter." Though meaning the perimeter and periphery in the painting itself, he innocently zeroed in on a murky netherworld away from the formal where success and failure, acceptance and indifference, and Tony Bennett and Oskar Kokoschka meet. Like these two disparate personalities, the artists in The Peripheterists elude the standard definition of outsiders to form a diverse and unaligned but oddly complimentary non-scene that doesn’t really register with either the hoi polloi or the intelligentsia. In many cases low-key and unsung though prodigiously gifted, all are fairly unconcerned with and unknown in that rarely satisfying milieu known as "The Art World."
The Peripherterists examines the wide-ranging connections, affinities, and allusions amongst works that posses the popular appeal often absent at the your typical white cube. That luck, social standing, ladder climbing, and a multitude of other variables determine who gets fêted is not news by any means, but it does give rise to an urge to address that vexing situation with a gathering of mostly uncelebrated rare birds. A few encounters amongst many will have Mark Hubbard's fantastical diagrams for actual skateparks, Gloria T. Park's expressionist wig designs, and Jim Nieuhues' paintings that are the basis for ski area maps consorting with Sereno Wilson’s glittery Nubian goddesses, Nicole Andrews' paper cutouts of ennui-suffused suburbanites, and Stu Mead’s poignant, troubling, and very funny depiction of sexually active adolescents. This is not a polemic but an excursion into parallel realm of wonderful art that combines the fiercely individualistic and unorthodox with the accessible, and brings up old-fashioned but eternal questions about what art is and why people bother.
Jocko Weyland is the author of The Answer is Never - A Skateboarder’s History of the World (Grove Press, 2002) and has written for Thrasher, The New York Times, Cabinet, Apartmento and other publications, as well as the creator of Elk magazine, books and gallery.