Imagine walking through the rooms of the Cincinnati Art Museum, farther and farther toward the back, then entering a small back gallery and finding a black hole. It sounds like something out of Jules Verne. Yet, that is the effect upon the viewer from walking up to George Bellows’ magnificent “Excavation at Night” painting, tucked away in the Heekin Gallery.
As the Cincinnati Art Museum enters the last month of 'Isn't It Great to Be an Artist?,' the debut exhibit of its bold new Robert A. Lewis Collection of (mostly) folk and outsider art, the show has sparked much discussion about the perennial question of "What is art?"
Almost 15 years after Robert A. Lewis decided to bequest his collection of modern-era outsider/folk and contemporary art to a museum, it finally makes its debut at one firmly committed to keeping it: the Cincinnati Art Museum, starting Saturday. And, befitting the evolution of popularity of outsider art, what a strange trip it has been for Lewis.