Outside In

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It's a little late in the day to point this out, and there's no link, but Page D14 of Wednesday's Wall Street Journal suggests Reason's own Jesse Walker is now rivaling James "The Turk" Taranto as the WSJ's hip-maker in chief. In addition to Jesse's most excellent critical appreciation of TV commercials, there's a story right next door on the controversy over Joe Coleman and the Outsider Art Fair in NYC. (You may recall that Jesse dove into that aesthetic landfill last month at Reason.)

The WSJ deploys the full range of art-crit vocabulary—"retard," "crazy," "toothless" and "brain-dead"—and discusses another blackballed outsider: funeral home tycoon Matt Lamb, nixed not for his artistic style but for his "keen awareness of the art world and marketing techniques." Again, the keepers of the "outsider" label are insisting that anybody who makes money or knows what he or she is doing must be shunned. (A slight variation on the current game was played against the brilliant Thornton Dial a decade back.)

If this whole rivalry among insideriffic tastemakers reminds you of the plot of Terry Allen's classic song "Truckload of Art," be advised that Matt Lamb's representative is planning to back a truck full of his paintings up to the fair's doorstep. Dear God, let's hope nothing goes wrong!

NEXT: Lott's Strife

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  1. Conjecture: The relationship between one’s use of art critic terminology and one’s workplace proximity to Manhattan is nonlinearly increasing.

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