• Willie Harris, Untitled, 2010

  • Jeremy Burleson Lamps, 2007-2010

  • Attilio Crescenti Untitled, c. 1986

  • James Montgomery Untitled, 2007

  • Bertha Otoya Serpiente, 2010

  • Create installation view at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, 2013.

Curated by Lawrence Rinder, Matthew Higgs

Create is a major group exhibition presenting a selection of the most important works created over the past 20 years by artists involved with three pioneering non-profit organizations: Creativity Explored, Creative Growth Art Center and the National Institute for Art and Disabilities Art Center (NIAD). These organizations were founded with the belief that exceptional creativity can emerge in anyone, and they support the work of artists with developmental disabilities through a unique and highly successful approach to group studio practice. The centers offer an experience that is, in many ways, the antithesis of that envisioned by the art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 when he coined the term “outsider art” to identify the work of artists who have no contact with the art world and who are physically and/or mentally isolated.

This major survey exhibition brings well-deserved attention to this compelling work, sharing it with a broad audience and expanding on its impact on a range of renowned international artists. Create sparks critical dialogue concerning the categories of contemporary art practice, especially the notion of “outsider art,” and challenges audiences to rethink the limitations of such categories. It is clear why works by these artists have been increasingly recognized as a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art, both nationally and internationally, among artists, curators, critics and collectors, as well as the broader cultural community, and are now in the permanent collections of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jeremy Deller, Chris Offili and Peter Doig, and in prominent institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

Create presents a range of exceptional works in diverse media by twenty artists who have produced artworks at these centers over the past 20 years. Among the artists included are Judith Scott, William Scott, John Patrick McKenzie, Evelyn Reyes and Dan Miller. Each artist has sustained an art-making practice at the highest level for many years, and the range of their work is extraordinary: Judith Scott’s visceral sculpture utilizes found materials wrapped in knotted yarn or sting; William Scott’s humorous paintings incorporate sardonic urban motifs; John Patrick McKenzie’s lyrical work employs the repetition of text drawn from pop culture, current events and his immediate surroundings; Evelyn Reyes’s pastel drawings feature bold, minimalistic shapes; and Dan Miller’s intricate work includes drawings and paintings incorporating layered text.

More information about the original iteration of the exhibition can be found on The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) Website here.


Lawrence Rinder

Lawrence Rinder is Director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, having previously held the position of Founding Director of the Wattis Institute and Dean of the California College of the Arts as well as the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is also a writer of art criticism, poetry, drama and fiction.

Matthew Higgs

Honored for his long-term, passionate commitment to supporting artists throughout their careers, for his prolific curatorial and writing career, and for his insight which he shares through his research, exhibitions, writings, and pioneering work at White Columns.

Born in the U.K., Higgs trained and worked as an artist before also becoming known for his independent publishing and curatorial projects that raised the profile of emerging artists through the 1990s. In 2001 he relocated to the U.S., to San Francisco, where he became curator of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts, and later the co-chair of the College’s MFA program. He now lives and works in New York where for the last nine years he has been director of the non-profit art space, White Columns.

For more than 20 years, Higgs has shown consistent ways to supports artists, artist-groups, and curators, through his writing, interviews, curating, and teaching, as well as his reinvention and on-going development of White Columns as a space for people to experiment with the presentation of new ideas and work. Since 1992 he has organized over 250 artists projects and exhibitions, and written for more than 50 publications and art magazines. He is tirelessly making studio visits and proposing projects with new and overlooked artists, including consistently championing a group of developmentally disabled artists from the non-profit organization Creative Growth by writing on their work and including it in many exhibitions.


touring schedule

Washington State University, Museum of Art
Pullman, WA, United States
January 23, 2014 - April 5, 2014

Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
Farmville, VA, United States
October 25, 2013 - January 4, 2014

Boca Raton Museum of Art
Boca Raton, FL, United States
July 27, 2013 - September 22, 2013

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Berkeley, CA, United States
May 11, 2011 - September 25, 2011

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
Worcester, MA, United States
March 18, 1998 - April 19, 1998

Booking Info

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