. . .
The story of life, work and death of self-
taught master of 20th-century art, Martin Ramirez, saddened me… deeply.
Martín Ramírez (1895-1963) left his native Mexico in 1925 in order to find a job in the United States and support his family in Jalisco. The economic consequences of the Great Depression left him homeless and without work on the streets in northern California in 1931. Unable to communicate in English and apparently confused, he was soon picked up by the police and committed to a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic. Ramírez spent the second half of his life in a succession of mental institutions in California. /*
During those 32 years, Ramírez hardly spoke to anyone. However, sometime
in the mid-1930s, he began to draw. Almost fifteen years later, Tarmo Pasto, a visiting professor of psychology and art at Sacramento State University, saw some of Ramírez’s drawings and recognized their singular artistic value. Pasto not only made Ramírez a subject of his research into mental illness and creativity but also started to supply him with materials, collect his drawings, and, by organizing public exhibitions, introduce his artwork to the public. /*
Artist Martín Ramírez (right) and psychologist Tarmo Pasto hold up one of Ramírez's works at DeWitt State Hospital.
“Martin Ramirez is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. A visionary immigrant peasant illegally incarcerated in a mental institution in this country for 34 years, who made his own pigments, pieced together his own paper, and created around 500 tremendous large scale drawings. Artist Jim Nutt discovered these drawings while teaching in California; he arranged for Phylis Kind and himself to obtain all of them - thus saving this work for the world.
The U.S. Postal Service has just recognized his accomplishments and issued a Ramirez stamp. The art world is not so open. The Whitney owns no works by Ramirez; The Met owns none; MoMA owns one; the Guggenheim owns four. It is time: If we insist on calling artists like Ramirez "outsider artists" we must call ourselves "Insider artists." It is time...” beautiful words by Jerry Saltz.
please read the whole story on Martin Ramirez
and his beautiful art here