Joseph Elmer Yoakum, "Mt Snohetta near Andaisnes Norway," c. 1962-1972, Venus Over Manhattan, New York (Booth S16)
Under $25K: 7 Remarkable Works from Art Basel Miami Beach 2019
By Loney Abrams
Typically contextualized within the history of Outsider Art, Joseph Elmer Yoakum is featured in a solo presentation at Basel. “It’s nice to show his work in the context of a fair that isn’t specific to Outsder Art,” the booth attendant tells me. This past summer, Venus Over Manhattan mounted an exhibition of over 60 works by the imaginative artist, the largest survey of works in New York since 1972, when the Whitney exhibited a solo exhibition of Yoakum’s work.
An artist of African American and Native American descent, Yoakum traveled with the circus as a young man, then with the army during World War I, and later, train hopped in the American West. These travels informed his art making, which he began in earnest at the age of 72 in the early ‘60s in Chicago (where he made his permanent home in the late ‘20s). While most of the works on view at Basel are color drawings, several graphite drawings on brown paper are priced under $25,000, including the landscape pictured above.