"Not being allowed to improvise is like not being able to pray" - Kieth Jarrett.

The Black Sheep Museum started life online on 22 December, 2000, intent on providing a contemporary and alternative virtual museum and gallery for the relatively few artists who have the vision and strength of conviction to abandon the flock and go it alone. Vincent Van Gogh - who Picasso described as the archetypal autodidact, by which he meant the individual dedicated to himself and the father of the cult of the personality - would be here were he alive. However, we do not subscribe to Picasso's hedonistic view of Vincent.
In letter 531 Vincent wrote: "In life ... I can manage very nicely without the Lord above, but I myself, as a suffering human being, cannot get by without something greater than myself, something that is my life - the power to create."

The power to create was solace to Vincent Van Gogh's faith; the spirit is evident in his choice of subject matter and the empathy he projected. He did not worship his images but judged them as a painter and autodidact (self-taught) should, according to the picture in mind and the measure of the masters. In fact idol worship only comes into play when the painter is dead and the works he holds not then holds value. Here idolatory lies in the value of the "graven image", the golden calf. But images that speak of empathy, compassion, love and tragedy are not graven; nor do such images alone and without the perception of value call for idol worship. The alternative scenario is "the Michaelangeo of our time" with the historical hype. There lies Picasso's cult of the personality; an idolatrous speculation that ends badly when the personality dies on or off stage, taking his genius with him and the worshippers money to boot! Pi casso is an exceptional (and archetypal?) name; the break is deliberate. This non-profit site is dedicated to the Vincents before time ends.

Why Black Sheep?

"You read black where I read white"
William Blake addressing mainstream orthodoxy.


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