Selected Exhibitions


The Art of Collage

Philadelphia Museum of Art
June 1 — September 2, 2019

From Joseph Cornell’s curious found-object boxes to Jess’s fantastical “paste-ups,” discover the seemingly limitless ways that modern and contemporary artists have mixed materials to create something entirely new and surprising. This exhibition explores the rich breadth and history of assemblage and collage and features many self-taught artists who reinvented their chosen mediums.

The Art of Collage, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Viewshed: Impressions of Place

The James Castle House, Boise ID
May 15 — August 31, 2019

The James Castle house presents, in partnership with the James Castle Collection and Archive an exhibition of drawings by James Castle. This exhibition highlights drawings of the shed, his primary living space and studio for over 30 years, and its relationship to the surrounding landscape and buildings.

The James Castle House — Viewshed

Louder than Words

Zukerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA
February 2 — May 5, 2019

James Castle was featured in the exhibition Louder than Words at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Artists include Terry Adkins, John Cage, Nick Cave, Christine Sun Kim, and Yoko Ono, among others. This exhibition highlighted artists using non-linguistic sounds, symbols and gestures to communicate. Curator Teresa Bramlette Reeves suggested that some artists, “…who work within the imposed condition of deafness, reveal the gaps inherent in communication — what is missing, misunderstood, intentionally ignored, or entirely invented.”


The James Castle Primer (An exhibition)

James Castle Collection and Archive, Boise, ID 
Nov 15, 2018 — Feb 28, 2019

This exhibition included 62 artworks by American artist James Castle. With a few exceptions, all work in the exhibition is also featured in the recently published book, “The James Castle Primer”.

Outliers and American Vanguard Art

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
January 28 — May 13, 2018

Organized by National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. this exhibition explored key moments in American art history when avant-garde artists and outliers intersected, and how their interchanges ushered in new paradigms based on inclusion, integration, and assimilation. The first section of the exhibition illustrates how the early history of American modernism, especially the first years of the Museum of Modern Art, championed folk art and self-taught artists before the ascendance of abstract expressionism.

Along with the work of James Castle, this exhibition featured over 250 works in a range of media by more than 80 self-taught and trained artists, such as Henry Darger, William Edmondson, Lonnie Holley, Greer Lankton, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Matt Mullican, Horace Pippin, Martín Ramírez, Betye Saar, Judith Scott, Charles Sheeler, Cindy Sherman, Bill Traylor, and Kara Walker. Photo courtesy of The National Gallery of Art, Rob Shelly.

Outliers and American Vanguard Art at NGA

Other venues:
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 24 — September 30, 2018
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018 — March 18, 2019

James Castle: People, Places and Things

New York Studio School, New York, NY
January 29 — March 4, 2018

Curated by Karen Wilkin, this exhibition featured over 50 works and ephemera by James Castle, including rarely seen source material, borrowed from the James Castle Collection and Archive LP and The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation Inc.

James Castle: People, Places & Things


Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection 1900–1960

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
April 28, 2017 — Jun 2, 2019

Focusing on works made from 1900 to 1960, Where We Are traces how artists have approached the relationships, institutions, and activities that shape our lives. Drawn entirely from the Whitney’s holdings, the exhibition was organized around five themes: family and community, work, home, the spiritual, and the nation.

Where We Are, Whitney Museum of American Art


James Castle Landscapes

Lawrence Markey Gallery, San Antonio, TX
October — December 2016

Landscape was one such theme frequently explored by James Castle. This exhibition brings together a carefully chosen selection of landscape drawings that demonstrate the nuance and grace of Castle’s strongest work. In Castle’s landscapes a fluid relationship between observation and invention is evident. Scale, composition, and perspective play very intentional roles, quite far from naive or arbitrary. James Castle’s formidable drawing talent comes through in scenes that are familiar yet otherworldly, beautiful and peculiar, discernibly handmade yet sophisticated.

James Castle Landscapes at Lawrence Markey Inc.

James Castle: The Experience of Every Day

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
May 2 — August 21, 2016

This exhibition, organized by Mia’s Department of Prints and Drawings, explores Castle’s extensive and highly inventive body of work: drawings, handmade books, collages, and three-dimensional constructions produced from found materials (scrap cardboard, paper, string, ribbon, advertising, food labels, and printed text) and invented media, tools, and techniques. Ingenious and engagingly improvisational, his work serves as a visual chronicle of his day-to-day experiences, an intimate record of life on his family’s farm, and expression of his dreams, memories, and fantasies.

James Castle: Experience of Everyday

Architecture of Life

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA
January 31 — May 29, 2019

Architecture of Life, the inaugural exhibition in BAMPFA’s landmark new building, explored the ways that architecture—as concept, metaphor, and practice—illuminates various aspects of life experience: the nature of the self and psyche, the fundamental structures of reality, and the power of the imagination to reshape our world. Occupying every gallery in the new building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the exhibition comprises over two hundred works of art in a wide range of media, as well as scientific illustrations and architectural drawings and models, made over the past two thousand years. Boundary-breaking, innovative, and radically interdisciplinary, the exhibition presents visually exquisite, rarely seen works in ways that suggest new connections and meanings.


James Castle: Ask and Learn

Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, WY
July 2 — August 16, 2015

In this exhibition one is invited to ask questions about James Castle and his work with the same natural curiosity that the artist asked of himself. The more you look at the works in the show, the more you ask questions. Why did Castle do this? Why did Castle choose this text? The more you observe, the more Castle’s genius emerges. Castle’s work elevates the mundane and every day into the realm of art.

Ask and Learn at Tayloe Piggott Gallery


Untitled: The Art of James Castle

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. 
September 26, 2014 — February 1, 2015

In 2013 the Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired 54 pieces by James Castle (1899-1977). With this acquisition, the museum now holds one of the largest public collections of Castle’s work.  Untitled: The Art of James Castle features this representative selection of the artist’s immense oeuvre, including drawings, handmade books, texts, and constructions.

This exhibition seeks to move beyond such biography, to appreciate the remarkable quality of Castle’s vision, and to question how the works themselves can elucidate the world of one of the most enigmatic American artists of the twentieth century.

Nicholas R. Bell, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Senior Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art, organized the exhibition.

Untitled: The Art of James Castle


Constructing James Castle

Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH
January 8 — February 23, 2013

Curated by Brenda Brueggemann, Professor at The Ohio State University in English and Disability Studies, his exhibition focused mostly on works that demonstrated the impact of Castle’s 5-year education with the Gooding (Idaho State) School for the Deaf and Blind between 1910–1915. Though during his five years at the Gooding School he was declared “uneducable” and “illiterate,” he communicated the impact of his time there through his diverse artwork that was based, in part, on the trades, training, and experiences he gained from the Gooding School. His self-taught skill is a testament not only to his intelligence and ability, but also his artistry.

Constructing James Castle


James Castle, Show and Store

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
May 18 — September 5, 2011

This was the first exhibition in Spain about the American artist James Castle, an “outsider” of the institutional circuit until not long ago. A selection of 500 of his works gives a general panoramic of his trajectory and conceptually redefines his contribution to the world of art by displaying his perseverance to cherish, protect, handle and install his original creations. His prolific oeuvre, result of a fruitful artistic activity during almost seventy years, formulated its own imaginary inspired in the popular culture that surrounded him.

James Castle Show and Store


James Castle: A Retrospective

October 14, 2008 — January 4, 2009

Curated by Ann Percy, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, James Castle: A Retrospective marked the first comprehensive museum exhibition of the work of James Castle. This exhibition consisted of some 300 drawings, color wash pieces, handmade books, assemblages, and text works selected from museums and private collections, including many from the holdings in Castle’s estate.