Robert M. Greenberg
Through his collections we can ask ourselves what it means to be an artist, what counts, what doesn't count? Do many people have to know your name or your formal training?
"We shouldn't travel in ignorance just because the world may be unfamiliar or extreme" - Robert M. Greenberg
All the individual pieces of the collections come from a person. Someone who thought, saw, felt, moved in order to accomplish what we see today as a single piece in Robert Greenberg's collection. With this being known "we are obliged to understand, as far as we can, the terms of expression of each work." - Robert M. Greenberg
Without knowing a lot about Darger, without knowing anything really, one begins to wonder what he thought of children and whether or not he was into them or not. It sounds horrible, I know, but looking at pieces by Darger are examples of what I mean. Such as "During height of storm escape be setting it on fire" It depicts children being strangled as well as the piece "At Calmanrina" which depicts children being strangled and tortured as well.
Those were the first opinions and impressions I had about Henry Darger before actually knowing uch about him through research. These pieces with the children in them are from a series. Darger wrote a 5000 page story about a war between those children and a corrupt, evil regime bent on destroying and enslaving them.
Not just the pieces of art which went along with the story but the story itself is very long and shows me an example of what I have been doing in the surrealism class. It is called "The imperialistic fury of precision." It entails a lot of close proximity drawing and making with a lot of details and the fury of needing to make or draw something complex and detailed. A lot of people talk about "going into the zone" when they are working on a piece, whether it be large or small. "The zone", in part, is what it is to be doing the imperialistic fury of precision. Although, the piece being worked on at the time may be complex or detailed, it is "the zone" which makes this way of working more bearable. That is my experience but I am sure that Darger's story was done during periods of time when he was in this trance-like state, writing for hours on end. The story being written about a massive war reflected turmoil during the time but at the same time was fuel for the story he was writing and the pieces that he generated. I still wonder, though, if there was something about children that drove the story and the accompanying visual work.