James Castle

  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2015 ©James Caslte photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • James Castle Untitled (basket) n.d. foundpaper, soot, color of unknown origin, wheat, paste, string 14.61x23.5cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (house, two figures) n.d. Found paper, color of unknown origin 8.9x17.1cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (two figures) n.d. Found paper, color of unknown origin 4.8x7.6cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled,(portrait) n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin 4.5x9.2cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (two birds) n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin 7.6x11.4cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (car) n.d. Found paper, soot 6.3x9.8cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • JamesCastle Untitled (house) n.d. Found paper, color of unknown origin 12.4x17.1cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (farmscape with outbuildings) n.d. Found paper, soot 14.3x25.1cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (pram/pram) n.d. Found paper, soot 10.2x15.2cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (farmscape with forms) n.d. Found paper, soot 13.3x19.4cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (mound figure) n.d. Found paper,color of unknown origin, soot 5.1x7.9cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (figure) n.d. Found paper, color of unknown origin, soot 6.3x10.2cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (covered wagon) n.d. Found paper,color of unknown origin, soot 6.0x11.1cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (school), 12pps n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string 8.89x7.94cm ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled,(LUCKYSTRIKE/school) n.d. Found paper, soot, string 8.9x8.3cm, 12pps ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery
  • James Castle Untitled (school) n.d. Found paper, soot, string 8.6x7.9cm, 8pps. ©James Castle Collection and Archive LP, Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery

James Castle was born September 25, 1899, in the small mountain town of Garden Valley, Idaho to Francis J. Castle and Mary Nora Scanlon. The fifth of seven children, Castle was born two months premature. His mother was the local midwife and his father was the postmaster and ran the community post office and general store from the living room of the family home.

Castle was profoundly deaf from birth and did not attend school until he was ten years old, when he was enrolled at the Gooding School for the Deaf and Blind in southeastern Idaho. Castle attended and lived at the school for five years, from 1910-1915.

While at the school, Castle was taught the oral method of communication—sign language was not taught in the public schools at the time—but it is likely he learned sign from the other students who secretly taught each other. Evident in his artwork are various references to specific signs. It is unknown to what extent Castle could read, though his artwork does demonstrate a fascination with written language. Any practical method of communication Castle may have learned at school was lost over the years because it was not practiced at home by his family.

With the exception of his tenure at the Gooding School, Castle resided in only three homes in Idaho: in the small town of Star, and on subsistence farms in Garden Valley and Boise. When Castle’s mother died in the 1930s, his sister Agnes inherited the family farm in Boise where Castle continued to live with his sister, brother-in-law and their four children in the small three-bedroom house.

Solo Exhibition

2016 "James Castle: The Experience of Every Day" Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
2015 "James Castle: Ask and Learn" Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, WY
"James Castle" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2014 "Untitled: the Art of James Castle" Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
2013 "Constructing James Castle" Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH
"James Castle Selections" Boise Art Museum, ID
2012 "James Castle: An Absence of There" Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, WY
"James Castle" Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris
2011 "James Castle" Show and Store, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
"James Castle" Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne
2010 "James Castle: Books" Lawrence Markey Gallery, San Antonio, TX
"James Castle: A Retrospective" UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA
"James Castle" Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin
"James Castle" Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco
2009 "James Castle Drawings: Vision and Touch" Knoedler & Co., New York "James Castle: A Retrospective" Art Institute of Chicago, IL
"Tying it Together" Boise Art Museum, ID
2008 "James Castle: A Retrospective" Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA "James Castle: Works in Paper" Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
2007 "James Castle" Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco
"James Castle" Lawrence Markey Gallery, San Antonio, TX
"James Castle: A Solitary Vison" Portland Art Museum, OR
"James Castle: Drawings" Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
2006 "Silent Satire: The Political Cartoon Appropriations of James Castle" Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2005 "One Man’s Vocabulary" JH Muse Gallery (now Tayloe Piggott Gallery), Jackson, WY
"James Castle: Drawings" Constructions and Books, Boise Art Museum, ID
"Icehouse unto Attic: Books & Art" Boise State Student Union Gallery, Boise, ID
2002 "James Castle: Structures" Knoedler & Company, New York
"James Castle: Works on Paper" Galerie Bernd Kluser, Munich "Reputedly Illiterate: The Art Books of James Castle"
Library at the Faculty of Art, Media and Design, University of West England, Bristol
2001 "James Castle" James Mayor Gallery, London
"James Castle: Drawings" J Crist Gallery, Boise, ID
"James Castle: Drawings and Works on Paper" Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
2000 "James Castle" Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA
"James Castle: The Common Place" Knoedler & Company, New York
"An Individual Approach: The Art of James Castle" Boise Art Museum, ID
"James Castle: House Drawings" The Drawing Center, New York
"A Room of His Own" J Crist Gallery, Boise, ID
"Reputedly Illiterate: The Art Books of James Castle" American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York
1998 "A Silent Voice: Drawings & Constructions of James Castle" Fleisher/ Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1997 "Images in a Silent World: The Art of James Castle" Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago
"James Castle" Salt Lake Art Center [Utah Museum of Contemporary Art], Salt Lake City, UT
1996 "James Castle" Boise Art Museum, ID
"An Amazing Luminous Fountain: The Work of James Castle" J Crist Gallery, Boise, ID
1994 "James Castle" Idaho Center for the Book, Boise State University, ID
"James Castle: Idaho Grass Roots Artist" Albertson College, Caldwell, ID
1989 "Works by James Castle" Boise Art Museum, ID
1987 "A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle" Missoula Museum, MT
1984 "A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle"
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ
"A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle" Paris Gibson Square Gallery, Great Falls, MT
"A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle"
Montana State University, Fine Arts Gallery, Bozeman, MT
1983 "James Castle Retrospective: A Voice of Silence" Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, Spokane, WA
1982 "A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle" Boise Gallery of Art, ID
1981 "Permanent Collection: Recent Acquisitions, Boise Gallery of Art [Boise Art Museum], ID
"A Voice of Silence: A Retrospective of Works by James Castle" Visual Arts Center, Anchorage, AK
"James Castle: A Primitive Artist, Art Museum of South Texas" Corpus Christi, TX
1980 "A World Without Words" Los Tres Gallery, Longview, WA
1976 "James Castle's Drawings" Boise Gallery of Art [Boise Art Museum], ID
1974 "James Castle" Foster/White Gallery, Seattle
1967 The Gallery, Seattle
1965 "A Voice of Silence: Drawings by James Castle" California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA
1963 "James Castle" Boise Gallery of Art, [Boise Art Museum], ID
1962 "A Voice of Silence: Drawings by James Castle" Image Gallery, Portland, OR
"James Castle" Bush House Museum, Salem Art, Salem, OR
1951 "James Castle" Museum Art School, Portland, OR

Group Exhibition

2017 "Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney's Collection, 1900–1960", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
2016 "A Being in the World" Salon 94, New York
"Horizon of Outsider Art" 8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
"Architecture of Life" UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA
"Measurably Long Kool" Fleisher Ollman, Philadelphia, PA
"Inside the Outside: Five Self-Taught Art from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation" Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
"Self-Taught Genius" New Orleans Museum of Art, LA
"Self-Taught Genius" Saint Louis Art Museum, MO
"Self-Taught Genius" Tampa Museum of Art, FL
"Short Stories: Reflections on the Salem Art Association Permanent Collection" A.N. Bush Gallery, Salem, OR
"The Museum of Everything" Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands
"Hello Again-Select Offerings" Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
2015 "Of Things Placed" Frith Street Gallery, London
"Only by Night" Planthouse, New York
"America Is Hard to See" Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
"Inside the Outside: Five Self-Taught Artists from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation" Katonah Museum of Art, NY
"Self-Taught Genius" Mingei International Museum, San Diego
"Self-Taught Genius" Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX
"I Taught Myself" Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
"Les Cahiers Dessinés" Halle Saint Pierre, Paris
"The World is Not the Earth" Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR
2014 "Paronomasia" Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, WY
"Self-Taught Genius" American Folk Art Museum, New York
"A Drawing Show" Matthew Marks Gallery, New York "Zurük in die Zukunft: Zeichnungen von Teipolo bis Warhol
(Back to the Future: Drawings from Tiepolo to Warhol)" Kunst Halle Krems, Austria
"Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Folk Art" Milwaukee Museum Art Museum, WI
"Welcome to the Dreamtime" Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
"Outside In" Life on Mars Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2013 "The Venice Biennale 55th International Art Exhibition" Venezia
"David Adamo/ James Castle" Peter Freeman, Inc., New York
"Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection" Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
"Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos" Serpentine Gallery, London
2012 "Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos" New Museum, New York
"Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos" Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
"Shock of the News" National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
"R/ Evolution auf Papier: Zeichnungen aus Fünf Jahrhunderten die Sammlung Klüser (R/ Evolution of Paper, Drawings from Five Centuries, The Klüser Collection)" Alte Pinakothek, Munich
"Jubilation/ Rumination: Life" Real and Imagined, American Folk Art Museum, New York
"Open to Interpretation: 75th Anniversary exhibition" Boise Art Museum, ID
2011 "Modern Lab: The Found Alphabet, National Gallery of Art" Washington, D.C.
"on paper III" Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris
"Material Evidence" Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
"Self-Taught Masters of American Art from Important Private Collections in Dallas" Houston, and San Antonio, Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
"Collage" Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
"Zettels Traum" Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Germany
2010 "Until Now" Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN
"La Collection de Christian Zacharias: La Maison et L’infini" Fondation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne, Switzerland
"10,000 Lives" Gwangju Biennale, South Korea
"Four Decades" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
"The Museum of Everything" Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turino
"Birds of a Feather" Boise Art Museum, ID
2009 "Your Gold Teeth II" Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
"Tension, Invention, Intoxication and Liberty: Victor Hugo to Martin Ramirez" Jan Krugier Gallery, New York
"Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection" The Museum of Modern Art, New York
"Messages & Magic: 100 Years of Collage and Assemblage in American Art" John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
2008 "Pieces of the Whole" Kohler Foundation, Inc., Kohler, WI
"Castle in Context" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
"Notation, Zentrum Fur Kunst und Medientechnologie" Karlsruhe, Germany
"Notation" Akademie der Kunste, Berlin
"Rock, Paper, Scissors" JH Muse Gallery (now Tayloe Piggott Gallery), Jackson, WY
"Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing" Museum of Modern Art, New York
"Two Thousand Years of Sculpture" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2007 "Unspeakable" J Crist Gallery, Boise, ID
"Mixed Signals" Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York "On Line" Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
"Text Messages" Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
2006 "James Castle/ Walker Evans: Word Play, Signs and Symbols" Knoedler & Company, New York
"Inner Worlds Outside" Whitechapel, London
"Exceptional American Folk and Self-Taught Art" Keny Galleries, Columbus, OH
"Rock Paper Scissors: American Collage Now" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
"Fine Line" Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
"Communication Breakdown" Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
2005 "Looking at Words" Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
"150 Works of Art, No Walls" Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
"Words in Pictures" Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York
2004 "Fabulous Histories: Indigenous Anomalies in American Art"
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
"American Art Brut" Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York
"Summer Group Show" PDX, Portland, OR
"Elegance of Form: Home" Boise Art Museum, ID
2003 "American Cutout" New York Studio School, New York
"Turning Corners" Berkeley Art Museum, CA
"Fifty Years" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2002 "Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art" Philadelphia, PA
"The Art Books of James Castle" Center for Book & Paper Arts, Columbia College, Chicago
"Fast Forward II" Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA
"American Vernacular" Ricco/ Maresca, New York
"New Year, New Work" Fleisher/ Ollman Gallery at John McEnroe Gallery, New York
"American Anthem: Masterworks form the American Folk Art Museum"
American Folk Art Museum, New York
2001 "Rear Vision: The First Ten Years" The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art" Chicago
"New Year, New Work, New York" Fleisher Ollman Gallery at John McEnroe Gallery, New York
2000 "Making Choices: The Raw and the Cooked" The Museum of Modern Art, New York
"When Reason Dreams" Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
"New Century, New Venue, New York" Fleisher Ollman Gallery at John McEnroe Gallery, New York
1999 "We Are Not Alone: Angels and Other Aliens" American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
1998 "Home: Places and Spaces" The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago
"Summer Mix" Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1997 "The Uncommon Book" Volume Two, Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, Sun Valley, ID
1996 "Memories and Visions: Self-Taught and Outsider Artists West of the Rockies" Sheppard Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno and Center for Contemporary Art, Las Vegas
1993 "Permanent Collection selections: James Castle and New Acquisitions" Boise Art Museum, ID
"Artists and the Eccentric Book, Idaho Center for the Book, Boise State University, ID
1990 "One Hundred Years of Idaho Art: 1850-1950" Boise Art Museum, ID
[touring exhibition: Herrett Museum, College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls; Sun Valley Center, Ketchum; Prichard Gallery, University of Idaho, Moscow; Lewis and Clark College, Lewiston; John B. Davis Gallery, Idaho State University, Pocatello; St. Maries Council for the Arts, St. Maries; North Idaho College, Coeur d’Alene; Rosenthal Gallery, College of Idaho, Caldwell; Salmon Arts Council, Salmon, ID]
1987 "Out of the Mainstream: Visionary and Independent Artists of the Northwest" Missoula Museum of Art, MT
1981 "Permanent Collection: Recent Acquisitions" Boise Gallery of Art, ID
1974 "Private Purpose" Fine Arts Gallery, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
1970 "Symbols and Images: Contemporary Primitive Artists"
[traveling exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts, NY
1969 "Thirteen Idaho Artists" Jewett Exhibition Center, College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID
1963 "The Innocent Eye" Salt Lake City Art Center, UT

Public Collection

American Folk Art Museum, New York
Art Institute of Chicago
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA
Boise Art Museum, ID
Columbus Museum of Art, OH
Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, OR
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL
Milwaukee Art Museum, WI
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
New York Public Library
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Portland Art Museum/ The Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, OR
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Tacoma Art Museum, WA
Whitney Museum of American Art, NY