In the Realms of the Unreal, Jessica Yu’s documentary on recluse artist Henry Darger, who passed away in 1973, has been held over at Film Forum for at least the next week. Working with almost foolproof material, the documentary provides insight into Darger’s inner world through interviews with the handful of people left alive who knew him, as well as extensive and cleverly animated imagery from his 15, 000 page graphic novel and life’s project, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. But the film also reflects important trends in contemporary art displaying interest in the queer, the subcultural, and the handcrafted. Video artists such as Paul Chan, as in his Happiness (finally) after 35, 000 Years of Civilization, and Tom Kalin, as in his new short Every Wandering Cloud–part of MoMA’s Premieres last Sunday (Jan. 9)–have expressed outright their inspiration drawn from Darger’s seminal work, and scores of other young artists aspire to his imagination, aesthetic, and inimitable Outsider-artist chic.
For a comprehensive list of Darger links click here.