Singular Spaces Book

Groundbreaking Book Surveys Extraordinary Spanish Art Environments

Singular Spaces front cover

SAN JOSE, California – October 14, 2013 – The elaborate fanciful worlds, idiosyncratic sculptures and unique visionary creations of 45 self-taught Spanish artists are surveyed for the first time in a comprehensive book. Singular Spaces – From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments is the work of art curator Jo Farb Hernández, Director of SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments), the world’s most important archive of these kinds of monumental sites. The book is published by Raw Vision, an international journal that brings the phenomena of outsider art to a wide public.

Singular Spaces includes more than 5,000 photographs and 1,100 pages in combined print and CD formats that examine intriguing gardens, buildings and artistic constructions, most of which have never been previously published. The author spent close to fourteen years researching and writing Singular Spaces, which included driving thousands of miles visiting sites across the Spanish mainland and personally interviewing the sites’ creators. The book combines detailed case studies of the artists and their work with historical and theoretical references to associated fields, including art, history, anthropology, architecture, Spanish culture and folklore.

“I wanted to break down the compartmentalization of genres and reveal how these artists fuse their creations with daily existence in a way generally unmatched in the art world,” said Hernández. “The sites show complete commitment to the work and serve as a self-reflection of the maker’s life and concerns.”

“This is a pioneering book, rich in information and surprise,” commented Roger Cardinal, author of the 1972 book Outsider Art, which named the field. “There is every reason to salute this splendid publication as a genuine breakthrough in our knowledge, for it breaks entirely fresh ground.”

Concurrent with the release of the book was a touring exhibition of photographic documentation and selected artifacts, some of which were created especially for the exhibition. The artists represented in the exhibition include Josep Pujiula, renowned internationally for his woven wooden towers and labyrinths, and Francisco González Gragera, whose Capricho de Cotrina is an outstanding example of architectural art brut. The exhibition opened October 1 – November 1, 2013 at San Jose State University (California, USA) and traveled to the UCLA Fowler Museum in 2015. Selected works were also displayed at the Collection d’art brut in Lausanne, Switzerland, from later 2015 through spring 2016.

About the author:
Jo Farb Hernández is an internationally-recognized scholar in the field of self-taught artists and visionary environments. She is a Professor and Director of Exhibitions and Special Projects for the School of Art and Art History at San José State University and Director of the SPACES archives. She has worked in the museum field for over 40 years, including service as President of the California Association of Museums and Director of the Monterey Museum of Art. She is married to sculptor Sam Hernández.

About the publisher:
Founded in 1989 and based in London, England, Raw Vision remains the world’s only international journal dedicated to the discovery and reporting of outsider art. Raw Vision has received the 2009 Visionary Award by the Contemporary Center of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the 2007 Medaille de la Ville de Paris in recognition of contributions to international culture, the 2006 Utne Independent Press Award for Best Arts Coverage, and the UNESCO Camera Award in 1997 as the World’s Best Art Magazine. It is the leading outsider art imprint.


Singular Spaces book wins American Alliance of Museums Design Award!

We are delighted to announce that the book Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments, has received the second place award in the books category in the annual Museum Publications Design Competition for 2014, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums.

The jurors sought out the best in graphic design in 12 different categories. Among the highlights of this year’s winning entries were an interesting mix of risk-taking and classically designed books and catalogs and layouts and font selections that were legible and complimented the content.

For more than 25 years, the Alliance has recognized and encouraged excellence in the graphic design of museum publications through this competition, the only national, juried competition of its kind. Winners are chosen for their overall design excellence, creativity and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission or special features. The panel of judges includes graphic designers, museum professionals and publishers.


Buy the Book

To order a book signed and/or personalized by the author, please send a check or money order to:

Jo Farb Hernandez

Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery

Department of Art and Art History

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA 95192-0089


Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments  (Book and enclosed CD)          $80         

ISBN 978-0-615-78565-3

Singular Spaces front cover

About the Book: 596 pages, 1,306 photographs. Preface by Laurent Danchin, Foreword by Roger Cardinal. The book includes an introduction to the field, a chapter about each of the 45 documented artists, and a full bibliography.

CD cover

About the CD: 565 pages, 4, 179 color photographs, site plans for each art environment. The CD includes comprehensive descriptions about each component of each site, identified with thumbnail photographs.

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