Daniel Johnston Art Exhibit Opening at Electric Lady Studios

An exhibition featuring artwork by the late outsider artist Daniel Johnston is opening at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.

Dubbed Daniel Johnston: Psychedelic Drawings, the exhibit comprises over 30 works and was curated by cartoonist, painter designer, and musician Gary Panter. As a release notes, Johnston often worked with Magic Marker and his work frequently incorporated pop culture characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

“In Johnston’s vocabulary, Satan and Captain America are not jokes; they embody internal virtues, aspirations, fears, and resistance that he himself lived out,” Panter said.

daniel johnston

Ink and marker on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches.

Courtesy of The Daniel Johnston Trust

Panter also penned an essay to accompany the exhibit. In it, he draws parallels between Johnston and other self-taught artists, Susan Te Kahurangi King and Henry Darger, who also battled neurological or psychiatric disorders. “Despite their conditions, each has built a powerful and unique fantasy world out of images from mass media — hieroglyphs of returning images and characters,” Panter writes in the essay.

“Art has always been a fixture at Electric Lady –– from the large sci-fi, space murals commissioned by [Jimi] Hendrix, to the decoupage installations done here in the early Seventies,” Lee Foster, Electric Lady’s managing partner, said in a statement. “I began building my own collection of Daniel’s work and recognized that a separate collection for the studio would be great inspiration for musicians recording here. The creative dialog begins instantly when people see them.”

Daniel Johnston: Psychedelic Drawings is part of the 29th annual Outsider Art Fair, which will take place at multiple locations around Manhattan. The fair opens January 28th by invitation, before being open to the public January 29th through February 8th. The exhibit will be open to the public, but only by scheduled appointment through the Outsider Art Fair.

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