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Rocking Horse 1880-1890 Shooting Gallery Target 1920-1925
Cat's Head 1880-1890
Great Danes 1940-1950 Clown Target 1911
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African-American Quilt 1930-1940
RICCOMARESCA.COM 529 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011 212 627 4819
AkOm. CO LID E HIE ANTIQUES, INC_
Patrick Bell / Edwin Hild PO. Box 718, New Hope, PA 18938-0718 By Appointment 215-297-0200, Fax: 215-297-0300
Visit us on line at: www.OldeHope.com
Rustic Adirondack Plant Stand A carved rustic stand with whimsical animal figures retaining the original varnished finish. Height 28" This piece is one of 9 that we have owned by the same unidentified folk artist working in south-central Pennsylvania and incorporating similar animal forms. Two of the pieces were dated in the 1890's and all are made of rhododendron roots.
Please contact us to receive a copy of our 4th annual catalogue.
Carved Eagle with Banner Gilded and painted pine. All original. Circa 1890. Dimensions: Height: 9", Width: 26" Details of wing surface, back, head, sign, and star views shown.
hurston Nichols american
Thurston Nichols American Antiques LLC 522 Twin Ponds Road, Breinigsville, PA 18031 phone: 610.972.4563 fax: 610.395.3679 email: email@example.com www.antiques101.com
Bathing Beauty Holding a Fish and Fishing Pole carved wood with original paint • from an Atlantic City hotel lobby• c. 1925 • 48 in. high
DAVID WHEATCROFT An 26 West Main Street, Westborough, MA 01581 • Tel:(508) 366-1723 davidwheatcroft.com
Inquiries 212 636 2230
A Gilt Molded Copper Painted and Sheet Iron Goddess Liberty Weathervane William Henis, Philadelphia, mid 19th century
Sold for $950,000 on January 20, 2006 in the sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver and Prints at Christie's Rockefeller Center. A World Auction Record for an American Weathervane.
In 2006 Princip
Catalogues 800 395 6300
New York 20 Rockefeller Plaza New York, NY 10020
INVITATION TO CONSIGN American Furniture and Decorative Arts
Antiques, L.L.C. 44
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We are proud to represent exclusively the estate of
Felipe Jesus Consalvos newly released work and catalogue available now second solo exhibition, spring 2007
FLEISHER OLLMAN GALLERY 1616 Walnut Street suite
100/Philadelphia Pa 19103
215 545 7562/fax 545 6140/f1eisher-o1lmangal1ery.com
Auction Brokering Collection Management Appraisals
Portrait Bust P.VV McAdam glazed and fired clay â&#x20AC;˘ Montrose, Alabama dated February 16,1925 H161/4", D93 / 4 W9"
Fred Giampietro 203.787.3851 1531 / 2 Bradley Street New Haven, CT 06511 fredgiampietro.com
FOLK ART VOLUME 31, NUMBER 3 / FALL 2006
A Deaf Artist in Early America:The Worlds ofJohn Brewster Jr. Paul S. D'Ambrosio
A Curious, Compelling Enigma: Felipe Jesus Consalvos
Edward M Gomez
Graffiti 2006:The Scrawl of the Wild Zephyr
We Were Here: Marks, Monikers, and the Boxcar Art Tradition Matthew Burns
Cover:THE SCHOOL FOR FUTURE MOTHERS, Felipe Jesus Consalvos(1891-7), courtesy Doodletown Farm, LLC, photo courtesy Fleisher/ Oilman Gallery, Philadelphia (see page 51)
Museum Reproductions Program
The Collection: A Closer Look
Index to Advertisers
Folk Art is published three times a year by the American Folk Art Museum.The museum's administrative office mailing address is 49 East 52nd Street, New York,NY 10022-5905,Tel. 212/977-7170,Fax 212/977-8134.Prior to Fall 1992,Volume 17, Number 3,Folk Art was published as The Clarion. Annual subscription rate for members is included in membership dues. 23 0 Copies are mailed to all members. Single copy $8.00.Published and copyright 2006 by the American Folk Art Museum,45 West 53rd Street, New York,NY 10019-5401.The cover and maw contents ofFolkArt are fully protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those ofthe American Folk Art Museum.Unsolicited manuscripts or photographs should be accompanied by return postage. FolIArt assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage ofsuch materials. Change ofaddress: Please send both old and new addresses to the museum's membership department at 49 East 52nd Street,New York, NY 10022-5905,and allow five weeks for change. Advertising: Folk Art endeavors to accept advertisements only from advertisers whose reputation is recognized in the trade,but despite the care with which the advertising department screens photographs and texts submitted by its advertisers,it cannot guarantee the unquestionable authenticity ofobjects or quality ofservices advertised in its pages or offered for sale by its advertisers, nor can it accept responsibility for misunderstandings that may arise from the purchase or sale ofobjects or services advertised in its pages.The museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation offolk art and it is a violation ofits principles to be involved in or to appear to be involved in the sale ofworks of art. For this reason,the museum will not knowingly accept advertisements for Folk Artthat illustrate or describe objects that have been exhibited at the museum within one year ofplacing an advertisement.The publisher reserves the right to exclude any advertisement.
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 9
FOLK ART Tanya Heinrich Editor and Publisher Mareilce Paessler Managing Editor
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM Maria Ann Conelli Director
Executive Committee Laura Parsons President/Chair ofthe Executive Committee
Linda Dunne Dcpuor Director/ChiefAdministrative Officer
Barry D.Briskin Vice President
Cara Zimmerman Assistant Editor Benjamin J. Boyington Copy Editor
ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE Robin A.&Winger ChiefFinancial Officer
DEVELOPMENT Cathy Michelsen Director ofDevelopment
Eleanor Garlow Advertising Sales
Susan Conlon Assistant to the Director
Christine Corcoran Manager ofIndividual Giving
Madhukar Balsara Assistant Controller
Pamela Gabourie Manager ofInstitutional Giving
Angela Lam Accountant
Katie Hush SpecialEvents Manager
Irene Kreny Accounts Payable Associate
Dana Clair Membership Manager
Danelsi De La Cruz Accounting Assistant/NIembership Assistant
Lara Allen Development Coordinator
Katya Ullman Administrative Assistant/Reception
Matthew Beaugrand Membership and SpecialEvents Assistant
COLLECTIONS & EXHIBITIONS Stacy C.Hollander Senior Curator/Director ofExhibitions
Wendy Barreto-Greif Membership Clerk
The Magazine Group,Inc. Jeffrey Kibler Design Mary Mieszczanski Production Manager Denise Butler Production Artist Anita Handy Advertising Traffic Coordinator
Publishers Press Printer
Brooke Davis Anderson Director and Curator of The Contemporary Center and the Henry Darger Study Center MUSEUM ADDRESS 45 West 53rd Street New York, NY 10019-5401 212/265-1040 www.folkartmuseum.org MAILING ADDRESS Administrative Offices 49 East 52nd Street New York, NY 10022-5905 212/977-7170,Fax 212/977-8134 email@example.com SHOP ADDRESSES 45 West 53rd Street New York,NY 10019-5401 212/265-1040,ext. 124 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets) New York, NY 10023-6214 212/595-9533, ext. 26 MUSEUM SHOPS STAFF Assistant to the Director ofMuseum Shops: Sandy B.Yun Shop Managers:Dorothy Gargiulo,Louise B. Sheets,Pierre Szczygiel, Marion Whitley Book Buyer:Evelyn R. Gurney Ste Andrea Gilkey, Hiromi Kiyama,Joel Snyder, Susan Tan EVA AND MORRIS FELD GALLERY STAFF Weekend Gallery Manager:Ursula Morillo Security: Kenneth R.Bing,Bienvenido Medina
EDUCATION Diana Schlesinger Director ofEducation
Ann-Marie Reilly ChiefRegistrar/Director ofExhibition Production
Lee Kogan Curator ofPublic Programs and Special Exhibitions
Elizabeth V.Warren Consulting Curator
Sara Lasser Manager ofSchooland DocentPrograms
DEPARTMENTS Susan Flamm Public Relations Director
Jennifer Kalter Museum Educator and Coordinatorfor School Partnerships andPrograms
Marie S. DiManno Director ofMuseum Shops
Madelaine Gill Family Programs Coordinator
Richard Ho Manager ofInformation Technology
FACILITIES Robert J. Saracena Director ofFacilities
Jane Lattes Director of Volunteer Services Caroline Kerrigan Executive Director Show
Alexis Davis Manager ofVisitor Services
Lucy Cullman Danziger Vice President Frances Sirota Martinson,Esq. Vice President Edward V. Blanchard Jr. Treasurer Taryn Gottlieb Leavitt Secretary Didi Barrett Joyce B.Cowin Joan M.Johnson Margaret Z. Robson Selig D. Sacks, Esq. Members Alcosua Barthwell Evans David L.Davies Jacqueline Fowler Vicki Fuller Patricia Geoghegan Susan Gutfreund Robert L. Hirschhom R.Webber Hudson Kristina Johnson,Esq. Robert I. Kleinberg Michelle L. Lasser Nancy Mead J. Randall Plummer Terry Rakolta Richard Rosenthal Bonnie Strauss Nathaniel J. Sutton Richard H.Walker, Esq. L.John Wilkerson Trustees Emeriti Ralph 0.Esmerian Chairman Emeritus Joseph F. Cullman 3rd (1912-2004) Samuel Farber Cordelia Hamilton Cyril I. Nelson (1927-2005) George F. Shaskan Jr. Gerard C.Wertkin Director Emeritus
Christine Rivera Assistant Manager ofVisitor Services Daniel Rodriguez Office Services Coordinator PUBLICATIONS Tanya Heinrich Director ofPublications Mareike Paessler Managing Editor Cara Zimmerman Assistant Editor
10 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
ALLAN KATZ Americana
Carved and painted portrait bust of actor and mime, George Fox, as "Humpty Dumpty. American, Anonymous Shop Carver. Ca. 1870. Height - 25".
Allan & Penny Katz By Appointment 25 Old Still Road Woodbridge, CT 06525 Tel. (203) 393-9356 firstname.lastname@example.org
70 0 81111111811
American Folk Art Museum 45 West 53rd Street New York City 212/265-1040 www.folkartmuseum.org
MUSEUM HOURS Tuesday-Sunday Friday Monday
10:30 Am-5:30 PM 10:30 AM-7:30 Pm Closed
ADMISSION Adults Students/Seniors Children under 12 Members Friday evening 5:30-7:30 PM
$9 $7 Free Free Free to all
SHOP HOURS Saturday-Thursday Friday
10 AM-6 Pm
10 Am-8 Pm
Shop Branch:2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets) Hours:Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7:30 PM; Sunday, 12-6 PM EXHIBITION SCHEDULE Folk Art Revealed Atrium and Floors 4 and 5 On continuous view White on White (and a little gray) Floor 2 Through Sept. 17,2006 Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand Floor 3 Through Sept.24,2006 A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr. Floors 2 and 3 Oct. 4, 2006-Jan. 7,2007 Martin Ramirez Floors 2 and 3 Jan.23-April29,2007 TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum and Studies and Sketches from the Henry Darger Collection Frye Art Museum,Seattle 206/622-9250; www.fryeart.org Through Oct. 29,2006
12 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
ohn Kane (1860-1934), whose work is in the museum's collection as well as those ofthe Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art,turned to painting after the loss ofa leg in a railroad accident. Employed as a boxcar painter at the turn ofthe 20th century, Kane first experimented by making small SCOTTISH CASTLE / John Kane (1860-1934)/ Pittsburgh, paintings on the sides offreight trains Pennsylvania / n.d. / oil on panel /16/ 1 2x 181 / 2 "/ American Folk Art Museum, gift of Maurice C. and Patricia L. Thompson, 2003.20.1 during his lunch break; permission was granted to him as long as he painted out his creations when the workday resumed. Various forms offurtive mark-making on publicly and privately owned property have a long and somewhat complicated history in the United States, and in this issue we're presenting two such forms. Matthew Burns encountered boxcar art while writing graffiti on freight trains, and he found himself drawn to the much smaller monikers renderedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;sometimes decades previouslyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in chalk and oil stick. Burns has been photographing these enigmatic scribblings, and the 150-year-old tradition's contemporary outgrowth,on freights in various northeastern cities for the last decade. Like the ubiquitous World War II-era "Kilroy Was Here" moniker,boxcar art is the visual manifestation ofthe plaintive desire to make one's mark (literally) and be noticed. The sides offreight-train boxcars also serve as an appealing surface for graffiti writers, whose efforts to apply their pieces to New York subway cars have been thwarted for more than 15 years. Graffiti art resides in a netherworld between art and vandalism, and Zephyr brings us the compelling history ofthe culture from his vantage as a legendary participant from its early days. Graffiti art has spawned a subculture ofrelated street art expressions as well as a worldwide network of avid documenters,enabled in recent years by digital technology. With this in mind,we have compiled a reading list for further study. The meticulously composed mixed-media collages ofFelipe Jestis Consalvos (1891-?),a Cuban immigrant, were created mostly from cigar bands and cigar-box labels, book illustrations, dollar bills, and various ephemera from about 1920 to the 1950s. Discovered as an intact group in Philadelphia in the early 1980s,the collages are precise,clever, and visually dynamic, displaying a graphic sensibility much like that of his forebears and contemporaries in various modernist movements. Edward M.Gomez has contributed an insightful essay on this very important self-taught artist. Itinerant portrait painter John Brewster Jr.(1766-1854),who was born deaf, is the subject ofa traveling retrospective that opens at the museum on Oct.4. His works reveal an acute sensitivity to gaze and expression,lending the likenesses of his sitters an unusual sense ofpersona.That Brewster was able to negotiate a thriving artistic career as a deaf man at a time when a deafculture had yet to be established is a testament to the support ofdose-knit communities in late-18th- and early-19th-century New England. Exhibition curator Paul S. D'Ambrosio brings us the story ofthis remarkable artist's life and work.I encourage you to come to the museum to see this beautiful show. I hope you enjoy this issue; we look forward to being with you again in January.
AV N ASHWORTH
JEFFREY TILLOU ANTIQUES
Rare and Unique Carousel Horse Weathenrane American, ca. 1895-1905 Full body copper with original verdigris surface with traces of gilt 24 h x 29" length at furthest points. No other known examples exist. Recently discovered, Private Collection, originally from Brooklyn, New York.
39 West Street Box 1609 Litchfield, Connecticut 06759 Tel. (860) 567-9693 email@example.com
An Accomplished Gentleman's Collection truly an auction to be remembered Once every so often, a truly wonderful collection is presented at auction. Such is precisely the case with this prestigious collection of Americana and Folk Art owned by a prominent Old Westbury doctor. When one considers that this Collection is being offered on site without minimum reserve, one starts to get the picture that this event will indeed be special... so special that an exclusive preview and reception will be held as a benefit for the prestigious American Folk Art Museum. Although currently holding a prominent position at one of the nation's leading hospitals, of perhaps greater relevance to antiquities collectors is the fact that this gentleman is an Emeritus Trustee and former Chairman of Collections at Vermont's highly regarded Shelburne Museum, an institution founded by the doctor's family matriarch, Electra Havemeyer Webb. Ms. Webb's sisterin-law, Aileen Osborne Webb, founded the Museum ofArts & Design,formerly known to many as the American Craft Museum. With a family bred to understand and appreciate the importance of preserving antiquities, it is hardly any wonder that over his lifetime, this gentleman has been able to assemble a vast and varied collection of American treasures.
glass and paintings, museum quality textiles and a wide variety of other type objects that will be of great interest to collectors.
The Auction Sat., Sept. 16, 10 am thru late afternoon Sun., Sept. 17, 12 noon thru late afternoon Previewing Thursday, September 14, 10 am —4 pm Friday, September 15, 10 am — 7 pm Saturday, September 16,9 am — 1.0 am Sunday, September 17, II am — noon Auction & Preview at the Estate
Barely more than a stone's throw down the lane from fabled Old Westbury Gardens (and a half hour from Manhattan), the doctor's property lends itself handsomely as the picturesque midSeptember setting for this classic event featuring many wood carvings (from maritime eagles to carousel and cigar store figures in early finishes), American and European furniture, ceramics,
36 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury
Long Island, New York Please contact Guernsey's for the auction and preview times, to arrange for bidding (including absentee bidding), directions to the property, or for any other pertinent information.
GUERNSEY'S 108 East 73rd Street, New York NY 10021 212-794-2280 • Fax 212-744-3638 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.guernseys.com
MARIA ANN CONELLI
n June the American Folk Art Museum hosted its annual spring benefit galaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the most successful to date.The festive setting was inspired by the exhibitions"White on White (and a little gray)" and "Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand."After cocktails, shimmering white curtains opened to reveal a bazaar-like interior, where Indian musicians performed and dancers welcomed the guests as rose petals filled the air. Honorees Herbert M.Allison Jr., president ofTIAA-CREF,Elizabeth J. McCormack,ofthe Rockefeller Brothers Fund,and Ralph 0.Esmerian, chairman emeritus ofthe museum's Board ofTrustees, proffered warm and insightful remarks. Dr. McCormack,who has a long history with the museum,told a tale about the site on which the museum is built, recalling that the famed Rehearsal Club was the building's predecessor.The Rehearsal Club was a hotel haven for aspiring actresses and inspired the movie Stage Door. The evening concluded with a silent auction in which guests bid on
Spring Benefit honorees Herbert M. Allison Jr.(left), Elizabeth J. McCormack, and Ralph 0. Esmerian
embellished muslin dolls inspired by the work of Nek Chand.To the artists who participated in the auction and donated their time and talent so generously,I offer my deep appreciation. I would also like to thank the benefit cochairs, Lucy and Mike Danziger and Laura and Richard Parsons,for their time and expertise, corporate chair Steven C.Parrish, of Altria, Inc., and the museum staff who worked so tirelessly to create this magical event. A frill report on the spring benefit, with many delightful photographs, appears on page 88. This season holds an exciting array of events at the museum,including the opening of"A Deaf Artist in Early America:The Worlds ofJohn Brewster Jr.," which will be on view from Oct. 4,2006,through Jan. 7,2007. Brewster(1766-1854),a deaf mute at birth, enjoyed a long and successful portrait-painting career. Featuring approximately 50 paintings, the exhibition, organized by the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, will examine Brevvster's life and art, the styles and techniques of his extraordinary portraits, the artists who influenced him,the Federalist elite who patronized him,and the world
ofthe deafin early America. For an introduction to the artist's work, please turn to page 38. On Saturday, Nov.11,the museum will host a daylong symposium titled "Wood,Metal,and Stone." Participants in this event will investigate three-dimensional objects through new research on topics as diverse as carousel woodcarving,cigar-store figures, gravestone imagery, and weathervanes. Speakers will be Allan Daniel, Nancy Druckman, Donald Fennimore,Tim Hill, Stacy C. Hollander, Allan Katz, Richard Pieper,Jeff Pressman, Cheryl Rivers, Ralph Sessions, and Murray Zimiles. Please see pages 95 and 102 for details. Later this year, the museum will once again be offering an excursion to Art Basel Miami Beach,which will be held Dec. 7-10.This international art show in Florida is the sister event of Art Basel in Switzerland, an annual event that has been assembling modern and contemporary art for the past 36 years. Art Basel Miami Beach combines an international art show with an exciting program of special exhibitions and events,including music,film, architecture, and design. An exclusive selection of 195 leading art galleries from North America,Latin America, Europe,Africa, and Asia will exhibit 20thand 21st-century artworks by more than 2,000 artists. For more information, please call the museum. January 2007 promises to be a busy time.The anticipated exhibition "Martin Ramirez," the first major retrospective ofthis artist's work in more than 20 years and the first museum exhibition ofthe artist's work in New York, will open on Jan. 23.The show will analyze the artist's contribution to the field not of"outsider art" but ofcontemporary art. Also in January,the museum's American Antiques Show will again be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion. It runs from Jan. 18 to 21.The fun continues a few days later with Outsider Art Week, a series ofevents organized by the museum to coincide Trustee Joyce B. Cowin with the Outsider Art Fair, held Jan. 26-28 at the Puck Building in SoHo. Stay tuned for upcoming information on the opening benefit galas! The museum has a number of new initiatives that I'll be sharing with you in the coming months,including exciting plans for our gallery at Lincoln Square.I would like to use this opportunity to formally thank Trustee Joyce B. Cowin,whose generosity enabled us to plan for its future. I celebrated my first anniversary at the museum on June 1.It has been a wonderful year, filled with new friends and acclaimed exhibitions and programs. I look forward to the coming year and the chance to welcome youâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I'll see you at the museum.*
FALL 2006 FOLK ART
Purvis Young Studio Show Purvis Young opens his studio to the public. December 1st, 2006 - January 26th,2007 Opening Reception: Friday December 1st, 2006 at 6 pm For reception information and gallery hours, please contact:(305) 785-8833 1753 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33132 Mailing address: P.O. Box 610755 North Miami, FL 33261 www.PurvisYoungStudio.com
Young's work can also be viewed at any of the following galleries: PALM SPRINGS
Russell Bowman Art Advisory
The Bergman Collection
Daniel Aubry Gallery
Cohn Fisher Studios
OHIO FOLK ART MASTERS Popeye Reed
LINDSAY GALLERY 986 North High St. Columbus,OH 43201
GROUP DYNAMICS "Group Dynamics: Family Portraits and Scenes ofEveryday Life," on view at the New-York Historical Society (212/873-3400; www.nyhistory.org) in New York through Sept. 17, explores more than 100 years ofAmerican group portraiture. Divided into sections addressing issues such as family, gender, society, and narrative, the paintings on view range in scale from miniature to monumental and depict European trends, American ideals, and ordinary life.The collection of works in this exhibition, dating from the colonial era to the late 19th century aims to address a progression of American attitudes and aesthetics over THE RAPALJE CHILDREN / John Durand (act. 1765-1782)! time, and to reveal the 1768 / oil on canvas!503 / 4x 40" / New-York Historical formation of a national Society, New York, gift of Mrs. Eliza J. Watson in memory of her husband, John Jay Watson, 1946.201 identity through art.
PERFECT LIKENESS The intricate details and techniques of portrait miniatures are showcased through 180 works in "Perfect Likeness: European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum" at the Columbia Museum of Art(803/799-2810; wvvw. columbiamuseum.org)in South Carolina. On view through Oct.22,the exhibition focuses on pieces that commemorate personal events(such as births, marriages, and deaths) and traces the history ofportrait miniatures from their 16th-century European origins to their presence in contemporary American sociMARY MITCHELL / James Peale /1795/ ety "Perfect Likeness" is accomwatercolor on ivory!3/ 1 4 x 2/ 1 2 "/ panied by a catalog. Cincinnati Art Museum,1990.1852
18 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
C NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, WASHINGTON, D.C.
BY CARA ZIMMERMAN
TROPICAL FOREST WITH MONKEYS! Henri Rousseau (1844-1910)! France!1910! oil on canvas! National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., John Hay Whitney Collection, 1982.76.7
JUNGLES IN D.C. Sixty paintings by French artist Henri Rousseau(1844-1910) are on view at the National Gallery ofArt(202/737-4215; www.nga.gov)in Washington, D.C.,through Oct. 15."Henri Rousseau:Jungles in Paris," the first major U.S. retrospective ofthe self-taught artist's work in more than 20 years,features Rousseau's signature fantasy landscapes alongside portraits, allegorical paintings, and landscapes ofhis native France.The fact that Rousseau never left Franceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;meaning that his exotic images were formulated without exposure to faraway placesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is also addressed in this exhibition, which includes a wide selection ofthe artist's source material, such as magazine images and postcards."Jungles in Paris" is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.
TO THE RIVER "TakeMe to the River" is scheduled to open Sept. 15 at Chicago's Intuit:The Centerfor Intuitive and Outsider Art(312/243-9088; www.art.org)in celebration of the center's 15th anniversary This exhibition showcases self-taught artists active during the 1960s and '70s whose works were embraced and collected within the contemporary art world. Organized by Ken Burkhart with help from Chicago-area artists, historians, and collectors, this show will be on view through Dec.29.
FOLK ART SOCIETY OF AMERICA CONFERENCE The Folk Art Society of America (800/527-3655; www. folkart.org) will hold its 19th annual conference Oct.26-29, in Phoenix. Special events include a symposium on Native American and Latin American folk art featuring speakers Ron Gasowski,Tricia Loscher, and Stephen Vollmer, as well as a benefit auction,tours of private collections, and an award presentation.
American Folk Art Sidney Gecker
FINE EARLY 19m CENTURY SOLDIER WHIRLIGIG
ORIGINAL SURFACE AND CONDMON.HEIGHT:20% INCHES. Ex. MARY ALLIS AND GERALD KORNBLAU.
226 West 21st Street•New York, N.Y 10011 (212)929-8769•Appointment Suggested subject to prior sale.
The Works of Charley, Noah, & Hazel Kinney
At the Kentucky Folk Art Center June 2-September 24, 2006 Touring through 2008 Kentucky Folk Art Center• 102 West First Street•Morehead,KY•606.783.2204• www.kyfolkartorg The Kentucky Folk Art Center is a cultural, educational and economic development service of Morehead State University This exhibition has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artis in Genius, with additional funding support from The Judith Rothschild foundation and The Kentucky Arts Council.
THE JUDITH ROTHSCHILD FOUNDATION
40th NATIONAL ENDOWMENT SCATHE ARTS
CRAFTY CRITTERS Three notable exhibitions for animal lovers are on view this fall. "Menagerie: Artists Look at Animals," at the Museum ofCraft and Folk Art (415/227-4888;vvww.mocfa. LION-SHAPED COFFIN / Paa Joe / Asante people, org) in San Francisco through Ghana / 2001 tweed, enamel, raffia, and fabric / Oct.22,showcases animals 83 28 x 102" / Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina, purchase with exchange made from a variety of mafunds from the gift of Harry and Mary Dalton terials,including wood,clay, and gift of Michael Schenck and the Save Valley glass, and found objects. Conservation Company, 2002.86 "A Mint Menagerie: Critters from the Collection" runs through Nov.26 at the Mint Museum ofCraft+ Design(704/337-2000; www.mintmuseum.org)in Charlotte, N.C.The exhibition is divided into five sections that relate to human perceptions ofthe animal world: animals as fantasy, as ritual and symbol, as ornament,as helpmates,and as companions. "Home and Beast" opens on Oct.6 at the American Visionary Art Museum (410/244-1900; www.avam.org)in Baltimore.The first part ofthis exhibition,"Best Nests," highlights concepts of home,shelter, and community, using folk art environments as examples ofhabitats. The second section,"Animal/Animus,"discusses ways in which humans embrace hierarchies ofand roles in the animal kingdom,including the categories of playmate,foe, archetype, and muse.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE "Accidentallyon Purpose:Improvisational African American Quilts," on view from Nov. 18,2006,through Feb. 11,2007,at the Figge Art Museum (563/326-7804; www figgeartmuseum.org) in Davenport,Iowa,examines 120 ofthese asymmetrical,often idiosyncratic textiles.This exhibition traces techniques pivotal to the improvisational quiltmalcing process by examining textiles from Central and West Africa and by exploring composition in African American music. "Accidentally on Purpose" aims to establish these textiles, on loan from quilt scholar Eli Leon,as part ofa unique discipline and not as a subset of NINE-PATCH MEDALLION / pieced by Gladys European-inspired quilts; it is Henry prior to 1996 / quilted by Laverne Brackens, 2004 / collection of Eli Leon accompanied by a catalog.
AMES GALLERY SKETCHED AT SEA More than 60 maritime sketchbooks, drawings,and paintings are on view through Jan. 6,2007, at the Peabody Essex Museum (866/745-1876; www.pem.org)in Salem, Mass. Gathered from the museum's maritime collection and not previously exhibited, the pieces in this show are divided into three categories—works by travelers, by mariners, and by professional painters—in order to examine ways that different groups have used the ocean as inspiration.
Early handmade Americana including quilts, carved canes, tramp art,tintypes, vintage photography and whimseys. • Also exceptional contemporary self-taught,
SKETCHBOOK FROM H.M. BRIG CLIO / William Farrington / C. 1812 / Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts
naive, visionary, e e
and outsider art. • Bonnie Grossman Director
SLOW TIME WITH THE KINNEYS Brothers Chancy(1906-1991) and Noah (1912-1991) Kinney began drawing and sculpting when they were young children growing up on their family farm in Lewis County, Ky. Hazel Kinney, Noah's wife, took up art-making after moving to the farm in 1960.This family's passion for the visual arts is seen in "Slow Time:The Works of Charley, Noah,and Hazel Kinney," at the Kentucky Folk Art Center (606/783-2204; www.kyfolkart.org) in Moorehead through Sept. 26. The 70 paintings, drawings,and wood sculptures in this exhibition highlight the economic, social, technological, and political changes that affected the ICinneys'creative processes, as well as the messages, humor, and self-sufficiency conveyed through the work itself "Slow Time" is accompanied by a catalog that includes essays by Lee Kogan and John Harrod.
DEER / Charley Kinney(1906-1991)! Lewis County, Kentucky / C. 1985 / tempera and pencil on paper / 22 x 28"!collection of Steve Jones
• 2661 Cedar Street Berkeley, CA 94708 Tel 5 I 0/845-4949 Fax 510/845-6219 • email@example.com www.amesgallery.com
Root Man,c1910, wood (Cypress tree root),41 x 19 x 12"
FALL 2006 FOLK ART
A NEW FANCY PATTERN / London / 1782 / printed paper pattern EMBROIDERY / Charleston, South Carolina / c.1782 / two-ply thread with satin weave silk ground and linen backing / courtesy Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina
A PROPER AND POLITE EXHIBITION "A Proper and Polite Education: Girlhood Embroidery of the American South," on view through Sept.30 at South Carolina's Charleston Museum (843/722-2996; www.charlestonmuseum.org),examines the development ofgirlhood embroidery through the Chesapeake,low country, and backcountry regions ofthe South.The exhibition aims to place embroideryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with a particular emphasis on samplersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in a context that considers the cultural and racial diversity ofthe artists and the settlement patterns ofthe South,as well as the notion ofrefinement within the education of young women.Along with the embroideries, "A Proper and Polite Education"features paintings, drawings, stitch and technique diagrams,and maps to help illustrate the themes and concepts ofthe show.
BUTTERFLY / artist unidentified / nineteenth century / Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont
PRESENTING PURVIS "Purvis Young: Paintings from the Street," a 30-year retrospective ofthe artist's career, is scheduled to open on Sept.6 at the BocaRatonMuseum ofArt(561/392-2500; www.bocamuseum. org)in Florida. Born in Miami,Young continues to live in the city and paints on found objects, such as broken furniture and discarded books. His paintings, which depict the world around him as well as religious and folk imagery, reflect both his beliefs and the realities of urban life. This exhibition contains more than 100 works by the artist, including 30 pieces that were recently donated to the museum. "Paintings from the Street" will remain on view through Nov.26.
ASSEMBLAGE OF CROWD SCENES / Purvis Young (h.1943)/ Miami, Florida / late 1970s / paint on found wood / 98/ 1 2x 58 x 21 / 2"/ American Folk Art Museum, gift of T. Marshall Hahn Jr., 1995.22.2
SILHOUL I t5 IN THE VERMONT SKY Iron,copper, wood,and brass weathervanes from the 18th to the 20th century are featured in "Silhouettes in the Sky:The Art ofthe Weathervane," at the Shelburne Museum (802/985-3346; www shelburnemuseum.org) in Shelburne, Vt.The 50 works on view from the museum's collection depict animals, humans,and mythological figures; they represent both anonymous handmade pieces and those ofcommercial makers.The showstopper ofthis exhibition, the 1822 Archangel Gabriel, comes with an intriguing history: Stolen from a church in Crown Point, N.Y.,in 2003,this 6-footlong piece was recovered in 2005.The weathervane is currently on loan from the White Church Historical Society while the investigation into its theft continues. On view through Oct. 31, "Silhouettes"is accompanied by a catalog.
22 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
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BY STACY C. HOLLANDER
ohn Durand remains a mysterious character in the annals of American art history, though he was a preeminent painter of wealthy New York families during the second halfof the J 18th century. Durand's career can be traced from Virginia to New York, Connecticut, and even Bermuda,but the trail ends in 1782, when his name appeared on a tax list for Dinwiddie County in Virginia. Durand is first documented in Virginia,in 1765,but he was painting in New York City the following year, when he executed portraits ofJames Beekman's six children. His name appears in Beckman's account book as "Monsieur Duran," a notation that has led to conjecture that the artist was ofFrench heritage. In 1768, he painted merchant Garret Rapalje and his family.The painting of the four Rapalje children is the artist's only known group portrait and endures as one of his most successful works (see page 18). In April ofthe same year, Durand advertised in the New-York Gazette, or the Weekly Post-Boy that he had "from infancy endeavored to qualify himselfin the Art of historical Painting." Like other artists ofthe period,including those with some European training, Durand aspired to this genre,which,regardless ofthe importance given to it by the artists, had difficulty finding patronage in colonial America. As no paintings of historical subjects by Durand are known,he appears to have been unsuccessful in this aspiration. Durand's portraits relied on a sensitive color sense and linear treatment for facial modeling and decorative appeal. His palette ranged from earth tones to rococo pinks and blues.The Virginia portraits, in particular, appear "dry and hard," as his nephew Robert Sully characterized them,when compared to the more naturalistic and decorative New York portraits. Despite the changes in palette, however,there are certain consistent conventions in Durand's portraits.These include a flower upheld in one hand offemale sitters, often near the bosom;flowers turned on their stems to reveal starshaped leaves; and a particular display offingers,often with one or two lifted and separated from the rest. These two portraits in the museum's collection are purported to depict Captain and Mrs. Fitzhugh Greene of Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. Greene's aristocratic bearing, rich jewels, and beautiful flowered blue silk dress support the ownership of the merchant vessel implied in her husband's portrait. In each portrait, the subject is set against a plain wall, and window cutouts appear at the far right. His offers a seascape with his ship in the background, while hers affords a glimpse of a verdant landscape.They share a quiet selfcontainment and a freshness offace. But unlike Captain Greene's minimal composition painted in earth tones, Mrs. Greene's portrait is adorned with a draped curtain in a rose color with gold cording, fringe, and tassel. The lusciousness of her jewels is matched by the profusion offlowers on her bodice and headdress and the blush blooming in her cheeks;in one hand she holds a rose in full flower. When juxtaposed with the drab coloring of her husband,Mrs. Greene can clearly he perceived as his adornment,a fertile beauty in the flush ofwomanhood.*
26 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
PORTRAIT OF A MAN (Possibly Captain Fitzhugh Greene) and PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN (Possibly Mrs. Fitzhugh Greene) Attributed to John Durand (act.1765-1782) New York, Connecticut, or Virginia c.1768-1770 Oil on canvas 29% x 24%" each American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.1, 2
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28 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
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BY TANYA HEINRICH
childhood? KM My recollections consisted of a vague impression of a stage, theater seats, and a box office. However,I was unprepared for the experience ofseeing the Shalimar that day.The reality of Brinckle's self-described "picture palace of renown" was beyond anything I had ever imagined. Everywhere I looked there were intricate details in the design and decoration that spoke of his passion and obsession. You never know what people have in their basement. Who would believe that a house whose exterior reflects the familiar "cookie-cutter" architecture ofthe 1950s could contain a fully operational 1920sstyle movie palace? TH Let's review his life story. He was born in Philadelphia in 1915, was a sickly child, and developed a fascination for film projectors. As a teenager, he demonstrated early artistic talent. After completing vocational school, he became an apprentice to a prominent Philadelphia theater decorator. KM For three years he learned to upholster theater seats, make and hang drapes, deimpression of something wonder- sign paneling for walls, and scale ful remained with me through the drawâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;cross sections, floor plans, interiors, exteriors. In those days, years. TH How did you rediscover according to Brinckle, each theit? KM In December 2001,I was ater had its own personality, and home for a visit with my family the company would "revive when we received word that dumps,leaving behind houses Sandy had recently died after that were a pleasure to walk into." a long battle with cancer. We crossed the street for a condolence Beginning at this time, Brinckle began to design and draw theaters visit, and I began to wonder if that he would have liked to build the theater was still there after so given the resources. Interestingly, many years. Gordon had the in his own personal drawings, he look ofsomeone who wanted a chose to design primarily modest reprieve from the onslaught of theaters with a high degree of concerned neighbors, and when I asked about the theater, he invited originality rather than ornate movie palaces like those that so me down to the basement to see it. It was decorated for Christmas. inspired him. When asked about this, he said he had always aspired I knew then that I wanted to do this project. TH Was the theater as to create smaller theaters where people would be comfortable. you remembered it from your
Gordon Brinckle has maintained a lifelong consuming fascination for movie palaces of the 1920s, and he spent his career working in every occupation associated with the presentation of films. Driven by a desire to hold on to a time when the theater rivaled the movie for the audience's attention, he also constructed his own private working theater, the Alvin Shalimar, in the basement of his modest home in suburban Delaware, beginning in 1959. Photographer and filmmaker Kendall Messick grew up in the house across the street; while he was home for a visit in 2001, he became reacquainted with his neighbor, now 91, and his carefully preserved creation. The vivid panorama he rediscovered there prompted him to film a 32-minute documentary, The Projectionist(2003), which offers a penetrating glimpse into the self-created fantasy world. Brinckle's candor and natural storytelling abilities imbue the film with a poignancy that underlies the Alvin Shalimar itself. My conversation with Messick reveals how extraordinary ambitions can manifest in one seemingly ordinary man. TH Tell me how you met Gordon Brinckle. KM In 1969, my family moved into the house across the street from the Brincklesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Gordon, his wife, Dot,and their daughter, Sandy. I was 4 at the time and my brother was 2. Sandy was our babysitter. TH Do you have any memories of Gordon Brinckle from that time? KM My boyhood impressions of him are somewhat vague, since Dot typically did the conversing while Gordon silently looked on. He spent most of his spare time in the basement building the Alvin Shalimar, but it was a private endeavor. Its mere existence was known by a precious few. Although I saw the basement theater only once as a boy, a distinct
30 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
Gordon Brinckle in his Alvin Shalimar theater, Middletown, Delaware, 2002
Right: Usher uniform design, 1938; Far right: Theater design, c. 1934; Below: Program and tickets, c. 1936
Brinckle has continued drawing his dream theaters now for more than 70 years. In fact,I believe that it is one ofthe creative outlets that keeps him going today. TH In addition to drawings, he also created scale models of his theater designs, and then he built a real theater in the basement of his parents' home. KM That was in 1936.The modest but amazingly intricate movie palace, which he named the Alvin Casino,was created using skills he had acquired as an apprentice, and it was authentic to the last detail: a filly functional projection booth, a stage framed by multiple drapes, an art deco proscenium,a marquee, and a ticket office just outside the theater entrance. In addition, Brinckle created linoleum block-print designs for stationery and tickets to be used in
32 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
GLENW I N â&#x20AC;&#x201D; CASINO THEATRE
his theater; he even went as far as to design the usher uniforms that should be worn. A Philadelphia newspaper story from 1941 included photographs of the now dismantled theater.These images, coupled with Brinclde's early drawings and designs, attest to the originality and ingenuity of this early construction. TH After his apprenticeship and a four-year stint working as an usher and ticket-taker in two movie theaters in West Philadelphia, Brinckle
"Brinckle created linoleum block-print designs for stationery and tickets to be used in his theater; he even went as far as to design the usher uniforms that should be worn.Âť was drafted into the army.This was during World War II, and it was during his military service that he had his first opportunity to project films. KM Brinckle had always wanted to work as a projectionist, but at that time it was a union job that was not so easy to secure. But on his initial army paperwork, he listed his occupation as "projectionist."This was quite a stretch, since he had never before projected movies for audiences.His commanding officer subsequently
called on him to work as a projectionist oftraining films in forts located in Virginia, Georgia,and Texas.This lasted from 1942 to 1944. TH He was eventually posted in China,and because of his experience, he was asked to construct a theater for the troops, a theater called the Fox. KM He built what he called a "walk-in" outdoor theater. He built the freestanding enclosed projection booth out of old airplane parts, and the screen was made of a
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and so he played Victrola records recycled piece of old sailcloth. He even added curtains, which he of popular music to boost morale. pleated, because he "was a decora- Departing servicemen often tor," as he is quick to point out. thanked him for the entertainThe drapes weren't functional, ment. His recollections of this experience nearly 60 years later in and because of the wind on the mountaintop where they were sitThe Projectionist brings tears to his eyes. KM He maintains very fond uated, he had to nail them into place. TH And the awning below memories of his army service, and the Fox marquee on the projeche describes in the film how he cried on discharge, and how he tion booth read "Comfort," which I love, because as one gets to undreaded the reality of needing to derstand Gordon Brinclde, it's pretty clear that by comfort he Right: Cross-section drawing of theater means not only the pleasure of es- projection booth and ticket window, c.1934 capism a movie could provide but Below: Hand-penned Army card, c.1943 also the physical comforts of the Bottom: The Fox, China, 1945 moviegoing experience, the theater as haven. He deCORP. GORDON V, ES RINCKL E. cided to relieve the GROUP 3,S-3 of training tedium I6MM FILM CENTER films and newsWHERE PICTURE TRAINING FILMS ARE SHOWN AT THERE BEST, ALWAYS. reels with musical accompaniment,
"He even added curtains, which he pleated, because he'was a decorator,' as he is quick to point out.The drapes weren't functional, and because ofthe wind on the mountaintop where they were situated, he had to nail them into place." 34 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
1.p. Talk find a job back home in the States. The job he found was at the Everett Theatre in Middletown, Delaware, which was built in 1921. He did maintenance, took tickets, and even managed the theater until finally he was given the job of projectionist. He worked there for 33 years until
competition from multiplexes forced the single-screen theater to close. TH When did he start building the Shalimar? KM In 1959. It is a larger, grander version of his Casino. It has four working curtains that open to reveal an actual movie screen and an auditorium decorated in the
"semi-atmospheric" style of the '30s, with nine authentic movie seats bolted to the floor. There is a 1940s-style marquee and ticket office, a projection booth with 16mm projectors, and an organ alcove complete with working organ. He designed, constructed, and decorated his theater with a meticulous attention to detail that some might say borders on obsession. Upon close inspection, however, one is most struck by his use and adaptation of mundane household items to evoke feelings of opulence and grandeur. TH Brinckle describes the Everett not as gorgeous or beautiful but as pretty and homeyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;"just home." And he decorated the Shalimar in an exceptionally homey styleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it's like a parlor, as though he just borrowed decorative objects from
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AMERICUS contemporaries The museum's AMERICUS CONTEMPORARIES group brings together young folk art enthusiasts for a variety of engaging activities and events. This dynamic group of art patrons receives special access to the museum's resources and participates in exclusive curatorial tours, visits to artists' studios, and tours of private collections. All patron members under age 45 are invited to join. To learn more about the AMERICUS CONTEMPORARIES and its upcoming schedule, please contact Matthew Beaugrand, membership and special events assistant, at 212. 977. 7170, ext. 329, or firstname.lastname@example.org. AMERICAN
UNTITLED (Mahe with Flowers in Hair, Cropped at Bust)/ Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) / Milwaukee! n.d. hand-colored gelatin silver print 7 x 5" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Lewis and Jean Greenblatt, 2001.23.5
upstairs. He created each meticulous vignette to evoke a sense of "class," yet the individual objects represent a very middle-class or middle-American notion ofclass. It's as if he adapted the style of the ornate and very glamorous art-deco movie palaces ofthe 1920s that he so reveres (where people who "wanted to know what the life was like for people with money" would go) to a more inviting space for the ordinary man. Large figurines offawns and swans stand on the floor; porcelain German shepherds share tabletops with carefully aligned candlesticks and plants; a teddy bear rests on a seat; gulls hang overhead. KM Brinckle describes the Shalimar as "a hodgepodge of this and that, that dovetails pretty well." At the front ofthe stage he created a tiny Kimball organ complete with organist. In the projection booth, he included all the necessary functional elements,including a lacing light so that he could lace the film into the projector without turning on the house lights. He added what he calls "artistic pizzazz" and designed
Brinckle in his Alvin Casino theater, Philadelphia, 1941
36 FALL 2006
the decor in ways that were discouraged at the Everett. He'd be told "when you get your own theater, you can try it there," and so he did get his own theater,in a sense, and no one could tell him "no." TH There is a poignant moment in the film when Brinckle relates an event from his childhood. His father denied his request for a projector like the one his friend had because he was afraid he'd burn the house down, so his grandfather Alvin helped him create a facsimile out of a shoebox and clippings of magazine illustrations. The significance
ofthis gesture is evident in the formal names of his two theaters, the Alvin Casino and the Alvin Shalimar. KM He continues to credit his grandfather for being one ofthe few people that encouraged his interest in movie theaters and projection during his formative years. TH One ofthe most striking things about your film is how Brinckle becomes almost an extension of his theaterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; it is part of him and he is part of it. The walls ofthe auditorium are painted an intense salmony pink hue,with accents ofred, and in the film he wears a vivid red suit
"He rarely screened films at the Shalimar. He created it more as a peaceful, solitary retreat." jacket with a salmon-colored shirt and matching tie. In other shots, he wears a bold jacket with a pattern that emulates the swirls he dabbed in silver paint on some of the walls. He is an accessory! Is this his everyday attire, or does he dress for his theater? KM During Brinclde's final years at the Everett Theatre before it closed in 1979, he was unable to climb the stairs to get to the projection booth. As a result, he took on the role of taking tickets and walking the aisles with the flashlight to show people to their seats. He felt that it was important to dress the part by outfitting himself with brightly colored jackets.These are the same jackets that he wears throughout the documentary. Brinckle bemoans the loss of professionalism in modern movie theaters—"such cheap-looking affairs"—and the esteem a theater manager,dressed to denote his rank,once held. He says,"Today, anyone can do it." TH What's so remarkable to me is that he doesn't appear to be at all interested in movies. He expresses awe for the technology—film,lights,lens,"a wonderful thing"—but it is almost as though the story told on film is irrelevant. One would think a nostalgia for old cinema would be the primary motivating factor behind this endeavor, but for Brinckle it seems the passion is solely about the experience ofthe theater itself. KM He derived his
pleasure from "hearing the responses ofthe audience," the laughter and applause, and knowing that he was making it all possible. In fact he rarely screened films at the Shalimar. He created it more as a peaceful, solitary retreat. This is clear when Brinckle relates during the documentary, "IfI had a bad day at the Everett, I'd come home to the Shalimar and things were all right." TH You're organizing a traveling exhibition to accompany the film. How does Brinckle feel about the project? KM He has been very enthusiastic. He shared with me that his greatest fear in recent years had been what would happen to the Shalimar after he was gone. His nagging worry had been that it would ultimately end up in the trash, never recognized or experienced by a larger audience. With The Projectionist, and in all my films,I seek to explore the nature of memory and to reveal universal truths that surface through the intimate experiences ofthe individual. I am most often drawn to document people and places that have been overlooked or forgotten.* The Projectionist(www.the projectionist.net) is available on DVD. The exhibition will be on view at G+ Galleries(www. indexg.com),Toronto, Ontario, Sept. 6-24,2006; Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery(www.wfu.edu/art), Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem,North Carolina, Feb.8—March 18, 2007; and John Michael Kohler Arts Center (www.jmkac.org), Sheboygan,Wisconsin (dates to be determined).
pencil on brown wranping paper 52 a 30 inches
CHARLES STEFFEN SEPTEMBER 8 — OCTOBER 14, 2006 Institutionalized for fifteen years, Charles Steffen drew obsessively for the remainder of his life. This first exhibition is taken from the surviving works of his last five years. Russell Bowman Art Advisory 311 West Superior Suite 115 Chicago, IL 60610
T 312 751-9500 F 312 751-9572 www.bowmanart.com
A Deaf Artist in Early America
The Worlds of John Brewster Jr.
By Paul S. D'Ambrosio
John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) was a deaf portrait painter who created beautiful and ethereal images of American people during the formative period of the nation. Born in rural Connecticut, Brewster helped create a style of American folk portraiture that came to dominate rural New England: a striking adaptation of the English grand manner filtered through the works of Connecticut portraitist Ralph Earl. The grand manner entailed a romanticized view of the sitter, with rich colors and an exploration of detail in the sitter's features, costume, and setting. Working in a style that emphasized simpler settings, along with broad, flat areas of color and soft, expressive facial features, Brewster achieved a directness and intensity of vision rarely equaled.1 PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID STANSBURY
Detail of FRANCIS 0. WATTS WITH BIRD (page 45)
As Harlan Lane has pointed out in his exhaustive study of Brewster's life, this artist lived at a time of beginnings: Americans were starting a new republic, and a wealthy merchant class was forming; the establishment of the first school for the deaf in Hartford afforded new educational and social opportunities that gave rise to the development of a language and sense of shared community among deaf Americans; and the art of portraiture was popular as never before.' Brewster's life and artistic career were a complex intersection of experiences and milieus: He descended from one of New England's oldest Puritan families; he seemed to move easily among the Federalist elite families whose portraits he painted; he had exposure to a fledgling deaf community yet chose to live and work in the hearing world; and he likely knew and exchanged influences with other New England portrait painters. These various contexts combined to define who he was as a historical figure and help us to see Brewster not only as an artist who incidentally was deaf but also, and just as importantly, as a deaf artist who was both a product of his time and a rare exception to the historical norm. His achievements and skills owe a great deal to his resilience, ingenuity, and visual sensitivity. Beginning in the 1790s, Brewster traveled throughout Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and eastern New York in search of commissions. His extant portraits show his ability to produce delicate and sensitive likenesses in full-size or miniature and in oil on canvas or watercolor on
40 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
ivory.' He was especially successful in capturing childhood innocence in his signature full-length images of young children. Brewster died in 1854 at age 88, leaving an invaluable record of his era and a priceless artistic legacy. Brewster's Youth and Early Portraits, 1766-1800 The third child of Dr. John and Mary (Durkee) Brewster of Hampton, Connecticut, John Brewster Jr. was born on May 30 or 31, 1766. His mother died when he was 17; his father and stepmother, Ruth Avery of Brooklyn, Connecticut, had four more children. Deafness profoundly affected Brewster's life and work. There were neither formal educational programs for the deaf nor a deaf community in eighteenth-century New England. It was not until late in his adult life, with the founding of the Connecticut Asylum in 1817, that he had his first opportunity for formal education. The establishment of this school directly influenced the development and emergence of American Sign Language and the creation of a deaf community and culture in the United States. Throughout Brewster's life, his family likely depended upon a combination of lip reading and the use of"home signs" to communicate with and instruct him. Lip reading is at best a hit-or-miss proposition, and deaf people vary in their ability to determine what someone may be trying to tell them. When a family has no access to a formali7ed deaf sign language, the creation of home signs, improvised gestures, and pantomime are generally used for communication.
In his portrait of Lucy Knapp Mygatt and her son, George, and a companion portrait of Lucy's husband, Comfort Starr Mygatt, and their daughter, Lucy(not illustrated), Brewster lavished attention on his subjects, painting his first known fulllength portraits since 1795. Brewster may have viewed this as an Important commission in obtaining more business In Danbury, Connecticut. it may also be that Brewster's account at Mygatt's store, documented at the equivalent of $430,required such large pictures to settle at least In part. The two portraits represent the development of a mature style that was distinct from anything that had preceded It. Unlike Brewster's large portraits from 1795, this work presents the Mygatts In a strikingly direct and beautiful manner by stripping away nearly all of the superfluous detail of the grand manner. The result is a pair of portraits that focus the viewer's attention on the sitters: their poses, costumes, and especially their faces.
MOTHER WITH SON (Lucy Knapp Mygatt and Son, George) Danbury, Connecticut 1799 Oil on canvas 4 40" / 541 Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, gift of Mrs. Nancy Adams McCord, 871
It seems likely that Brewster painted the Thayers while working in Boston, where he advertised in the Boston Citizen in December 1802. Brewster painted the Thayers together and in an overlapping pose, thus giving an air of informality to the painting. This portrait showcases hallmarks of Brewster's style: the sitters' direct gazes, their personalities, as portrayed through the modeling of their faces, and the treatment of the sitters' hands, with Eliphaz sitting with his hand tucked in his vest and Deliverance holding a fan. The minute attention given to the sitters' clothing shows Brewster's ability to create delicate detail, which stands in direct contrast to his inability to portray hands. This painting was at some point cut along the bottom, suggesting perhaps that the Thayers were originally painted in full-length poses.
Brewster's family clearly worked out such a system with him, influenced by the Connecticut artist Ralph Earl, who and he probably used these skills to interact with the rest refashioned the English grand manner to American taste of the world, depending heavily on pantomime and a small by combining its regal poses and opulent surroundings amount of writing. It is astonishing then that throughout with realistic settings and casual likenesses.' Brewster's Brewster's long career, he managed to travel great distances, early works resemble Earl's portraits in scale, composition, negotiate prices, and determine poses, props, and composi- costume, and setting but also show strong visual patterning tions with his sitters, as well as to live with his patrons for through broad,flat areas ofcolor.The overall effect, despite weeks or months at a time. To ease these tasks in his early its simplicity, is an impressive likeness that ably communicareer, Brewster relied heavily on family connections to se- cates the sitter's prosperity, propriety, and education. cure commissions. Over the next several years, Brewster moved well The earliest known reference to Brewster appears in the beyond the familiar, close-knit communities around diary of Reverend James Cogswell of nearby Windham, Hampton, Connecticut. In late 1795, he relocated with his Connecticut, in 1790 and 1791.4 Cogswell said Brewster younger brother, Dr. Royal Brewster, to Buxton, Maine. had a "good Disposition &... ingenious mind" and a"Ge- There are several paintings from this period that were done nius for painting" but admitted that he could not under- in and around Portland as well as portraits executed during stand the young man's signs. These entries clearly indicate return trips to Connecticut. By about 1800, Brewster was that Brewster used a variety of means to make his way in developing a mature portrait style and seemed poised for a the hearing world: rudimentary signs known only to those successful career as an itinerant artist.' close to him,some ability to write, an inquisitive mind, an engaging personality, and a talent with the paintbrush. Expanding Horizons, 1800-1817 Brewster learned to paint from Reverend Joseph In the early 1800s, Brewster's artistic career flourished, Steward around 1790. Both Steward and Brewster were with several important commissions from Maine and
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DEACON ELIPHAZ THAYER AND HIS WIFE, DELIVERANCE Connecticut or Massachusetts C. 1802 Oil on canvas 30 40" Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0271.1961
MRS. THOMAS CUTTS (Elizabeth Scammon)and COLONEL THOMAS CUTTS Saco, Maine C. 1796-1801 Oil on canvas 74% 301/." each Saco Museum, Saco, Maine
Colonel Thomas Cutts made a large amount of money from lumbering, trading, and shipbuilding in Saco, Maine. He was involved in the "triangular trade" between the North American colonies, the West Indies, and England. Despite losses during international conflicts such as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Colonel Cutts's business remained successful; in 1816, he owned 1,640 acres valued at $30,000. Some of his extensive property was near the Buxton, Maine, Congregational Church, where Paul Coffin, the father of Brewster's sister-in-law, was pastor. Coffin may have been the contact between Cutts and Brewster. Elizabeth Scammon Cutts married Colonel Cutts on August 2,1762. In addition to her old-fashioned dress and lack of possessions, Mrs. Cutts has a rigidity and simplicity of pose that typify Puritan values. Her dour expression illustrates her austere personality and outlook. She died in 1803. Brewster painted many other members of the Cutts family over three generations.
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Massachusetts families, most notably the Cuttses and Princes. At this time, Brewster developed a signature format and style of painting full-length portraits of children wearing white garments and with large expressive eyes that project angelic innocence. These works speak of the obvious rapport that must have existed between Brewster and his young sitters. He may have been able to better communicate with children than with adults, perhaps because young people were captivated by his animated gestures and pantomime. Deafness may also have helped to shape his mature portrait style, which emphasizes the sitter's face, particularly his or her gaze. He achieved a penetrating grasp of personality in likenesses that directly engage the viewer through the use of a muted palette, highlighted flesh tones, and excellent draftsmanship that draws attention to the sitter's eyes. The importance of direct eye contact for a deaf person cannot be overstated. Modern viewers glean a palpable sense of silence in Brewster's serene and ethereal paintings. Aside from his extensive travels to paint and his years in attendance at the American School in Hartford, John Brewster Jr. lived with his brother's family at their new house in Buxton from about 1805 until the end of his life. In the early 1800s, Brewster began signing and dating his paintings with greater frequency and abandoned the largeformat, grand-manner style of his earlier years. He developed an effective half-length format that was no doubt less
expensive and certainly more intimate because it allowed him to focus more attention on the sitter's face. Brewster worked in this style until 1817, when a unique educational opportunity presented itself in his home state of Connecticut. It would ensure Brewster's presence at the birth of deafculture and American Sign Language. Brewster Attends the Connecticut Asylum, 1817-1820 In 1817, the first school for the deaf, the Connecticut Asylum for the Instruction and Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons, was founded in Hartford, Connecticut. The school was created largely through the efforts of Mason Cogswell (Reverend Cogswell's son), a patron of Ralph Earl and family friend of the Brewsters. Cogswell's daughter Alice had become deaf at the age of2 after a bout with spotted fever. Cogswell's neighbor, a young seminary student named Thomas Gallaudet, was inspired by Alice, and the two men embarked on a campaign to establish the first school for the deaf in America. With funds raised by Cogswell and others, Gallaudet traveled to England to learn instructional techniques. The English, however, were quite secretive about their methodology and declined to assist Gallaudet in his mission. Instead, he found more willing collaborators: two Frenchmen, Abbe Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard and his deaf protégé, Laurent Clerc, who were touring in England to demonstrate and advocate the use of sign language for teaching the deaf. Gallaudet
FRANCIS 0. WATTS WITH BIRD Kennebunk, Maine 1805 Oil on canvas 353/8 x 26/s" Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0265.1961
Brewster's serene and ethereal portrait of Francis 0. Watts is one of his most compelling portraits of a child. In this work—particularly Francis's white dress and the peaceful landscape he inhabits—modern viewers often feel a palpable sense of the silence that was Brewster's world. The artist used muted colors, a bird, a wide-eyed expression, and a naturalistic landscape to express the child's innocence. The bird on the string symbolizes mortality because only after the child's death could the bird go free, just like the child's soul. Infant mortality was high during Brewster's time, and artists employed this image often in association with children. As an adult, Watts was a community leader, becoming the first president of the Young Men's Christian Association. He died in 1860.
returned to Paris with them,and after a sojourn in Paris at the Institution nationale des sourds-muets de Paris, he persuaded Clerc to come to Connecticut to teach. The founding educational principle of the Hartford Asylum was that sign language was recognized as a deaf person's natural language and therefore was the best method ofinstruction for both academics and religion. When the students arrived at the Hartford school, they quickly developed a "contact language," or patois, that combined the French Sign Language of Clerc,the native signs ofthe two largest enclaves of deaf New Englanders (in Martha's Vineyard and Henniker, New Hampshire), and the home signs ofstudents who had never encountered any formal sign language. In the course of a generation or two, that initial contact language developed into what is formally recognized today as American Sign Language. Brewster was a member of the Asylum's first class. At 51, he was by far the oldest of the students; the average age of the other seven was 19. To give up his economic independence and start school with much younger pupils, Brewster must have been very desirous to learn. It must also have been exciting for him to meet other deaf people and to communicate fluently, probably for the first time in his life. Brewster's Late Career and Legacy, 1820-1854 After three years at the Asylum, Brewster had to decide whether to rejoin his family and previous lifestyle or to embrace the emerging deaf world. He ultimately decided to return to his former life. His choice was probably influenced by his age, by the fact that he had already made his way in the hearing world, and by the fact that he had a successful career. He was extremely close to his family and may have felt their bonds would loosen if he remained in the deafcommunity in Hartford. Brewster's experience at the Asylum changed his art. When he left the school in 1820, he returned to his career with renewed vigor. His paintings from the 1820s and early 1830s show more depth in characterization and increased shading that reflected more somber faces. His new portraits were half-length and used popular Empire-style amber tones. Brewster painted in this style until at least 1834, the date of his last known work. Little is known of his later years, but he likely gave up traveling and painting to live quietly in Buxton until his death in 1854. Brewster was one of the greatest American folk painters and a key figure in the Connecticut style of American folk portraiture. As one of the most prolific painters of Maine's elite, Brewster's paintings are an important part of New England history; they stand as documents of the growing nation and its merchant class.' Though Brewster lived most of his life among the hearing, deafness exerted an important influence on his art. If he had not been deaf, he likely would have pursued the family tradition of medicine. Deafness closed one path but opened another, and he chose art as his means of communicating with the world. In the end, his courage, determination, and talent were more defining than his deafness, and Brewster's art remains a powerful legacy and an inspiration for the hearing and the deaf alike.*
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SOPHIA BREWSTER Hampton, Connecticut c. 1800 Oil on canvas 30 x18" Collection of G.W. Samaha and Madeline Fisher
One of Brewster's singular achievements was his ability to render beautiful, delicate, and appealing full-length portraits of children. This likeness of his half-sister Sophia exemplifies the manner in which the artist employed superb draftsmanship of facial featuresâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with particular emphasis on the gaze of the sitterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;along
with symbolic props and red highlights to enliven the compositions. Sophia is painted against a stark landscape with a setting sun. She died shortly after her fifth birthday in April 1800 and may have been painted posthumously.
ONE SHOE OFF Possibly Connecticut 1807 Oil on canvas 347/8 247/8" Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, gift of Stephen C. Clark, N0231.1961 In One Shoe Off, Brewster expresses the playful innocence of childhood. Traces of red paint visible underneath the paint surface of the bare left foot suggest that the artist placed the red shoe in the child's hand as an afterthought (see detail on page 38). The patterned floor is an embellishment Brewster often employed in his portraits of children; the stenciled design amusingly mimics the tied bow of the child's right shoe. While the sitter has not been conclusively identified, an inscription on the reverse suggests that this portrait descended in the Avery, Chapman, Loomer, or Vergason families of Norwich, Connecticut.
Dr. PaulS. D'Ambrosio is the curator of 1 DeafArtist in Early America."He is vice president and chiefcurator ofthe New York State HistoricalAssociation in Cooperstown, NY. He holds an MA in museum studiesfrom the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a PhD in American studiesfrom Boston University; he has been an adjunctprofessor in the Cooperstown Graduate Program since 1984. Most recently, Dr. D'Ambrosio organized the traveling exhibition "Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation,"which is on view at the Fenimore Art Museum through December 31. Notes 1 The seminal work on Brewster is Nina Fletcher Little's "John Brewster Jr., 1766-1854," Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 25 (October 1960): 97-115. 2 Harlan Lane,A DeafArtist in Early America.- The Worlds ofJohn BrewsterJr. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004). 3 For a review of Brewster's work in miniature, see Joyce Hill, "Miniatures by John Brewster Jr.," The Clarion 8, nos. 2-3 (spring/ summer 1983):49-50. 4 The diary of the Reverend James Cogswell is in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford. 5 See Elizabeth Manlcin Komhauser et al., Ralph Earl: The Face ofthe Young Republic(New Haven,Conn.:Yale University Press, 1991). 6 For a discussion ofBrewster's mature style, see Paul S. D'Ambrosio,"Two Masterworks by John Brewster,Jr.," in Jane Katcher, David A. Schorsch,and Ruth Wolfe, eds., Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence:Selectionsfrom theJane Katcher Collection of Americana (Seattle: Marquand Books,2006), pp.56-65. 7 Brewster's career in Maine is discussed in Laura Fecych Sprague,ed.,Agreeable Situations:Society, Commerce, andArt in Southern Maine, 1780-1830(Kennebunk, Me.: Brick Store Museum in association with Northeastern University Press, 1987).
Brewster's halflength portraits of children from the 1820s are as delicate and endearing as his full-length versions from the early 18005. These portraits of 6-year-old Henry Sayward and an unidentified girl with a peach (possibly a sibling) are two of the best examples from Brewster's late career. The artist, around 58 years old at the time he created these paintings, had nearly thirty years' experience working with children and likely had a gentle yet animated manner that appealed to the young subjects. These two portraits employ a nearly identical composition, yet Brewster's intense focus on subtle facial features gives each sitter a distinct appearance.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL Alfred, Maine c.1825 Oil on canvas 20 â&#x20AC;˘ 16" Collection of John and Susann Dominianni
HENRY SAY WARD Alfred, Maine 1824 Oil on canvas 20 â&#x20AC;˘ Collection of John and Susann Dominianni
American Folk Art Museum October 4, 2006January 7, 2007
WOMAN IN GRAY DRESS New England 1814 Oil on canvas 291 / 2x 245/8"(sight) American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Eric D.W. Cohler, P3.1998.1
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The exhibition was organized by the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, and funded in part by the American Folk Art Society, Robert and Katharine Booth, and Jon and Becky Zoler. The American Folk Art Museum's presentation of the exhibition is supported in part by the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation,Inc.
SARAH COGSWELL THORNTON Saco, Maine 1820 Oil on canvas 4" / 4 - 253 / 303 Saco Museum, Saco, Maine
This striking portrait owes much of its visual energy to Sarah Cogswell Thornton's distinctive striped dress and fashionable hairstyle. The sitter's father, a Boston physician named Thomas Gilbert Thornton, settled in Saco, Maine, and married one of the daughters of Colonel and Mrs. Thomas Cutts (illustrated on page 43). Brewster painted 18-year-old Sarah along with her parents in February and March of MO,nearly twenty years and two generations after his first work for the Cutts family. The bird delicately perched on Sarah's index finger is a device often used by Brewster in his portraits of women and children.
A Curious Compelling Enigma
uban-born self-taught artist used cigar wrappers to make with
All works created by Felipe Jesus Consalvos (1891-?) in Brooklyn, c. 1920-1950s. WASHINGTON DUNCE CLOCK Mixed-media collage 12" diam. Courtesy Fleisher/ Oilman Gallery, Philadelphia
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n a field filled with one-of-a-kind talents whose lives and creations are sometimes as eccentric as they are enigmatic,the art and life story of the Cuban-born self-taught artist Felipe Jesus Consalvos are certainly among the most intriguing. Consalvos's work was discovered in the early 1980s but has only begun to surface on the international art market in recent years. It has quickly found an enthusiastic audience of collectors, most notably among aficionados of both classically modernist and certain kinds of postmodemist art, with which it shares some striking affinities. If the argument that there should not be any strict, too-limiting aesthetic border between fine art made by professional artists and works produced by innovative autodidacts needs any support, Consalvos's oeuvre provides it: His mixed-media collages on paper and his all-over, collage-covered objectsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;furniture, musical instruments, household itemsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;look right at home alongside the experimental assemblage art ofsuch twentieth-century modernists as Kurt Schwitters,Joseph Cornell,and Richard Hamilton,the British artist whose 1956 collage Just WhatIs It That Makes Today's Homes So Dfferent? has been called the first work of pop art.' Consalvos's creations also exude a deeply personal spirit, as does the collage work ofsuch artists as May Wilson or Jess, who were primarily self-taught.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY PLEISHER/OLLMAN GALLERY. PHILADELPHIA
—I By Edward M. G6mez
politically charged collages that celebrated—and cleverly mocked—his adopted country
THE SCHOOL FOR FUTURE MOTHERS Mixed-media collage 12 x 153/4" Courtesy Doodletown Farm, LLC
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Very little is known about the life of Felipe Jesus Consalvos. He was born on a farm near Havana in 1891 and later moved to the Cuban capital. His son, Jose Felipe, was born to Consalvos and his wife, Eriqueta, around 1912. They also had a daughter, Auresta. In the early 1920s, the Consalvos family left Cuba for the United States, where they eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York, after passing through Miami and Panama City, Florida. In New York, both father and son worked in a Schmidt tobacco factory, where they rolled cigars.2 It was during this period that Consalvos began making collages using postage stamps, cut-out pictures from periodicals and illustrated books, and printed cigar bands and cigarbox labels—with their bright red, yellow, and blue primary colors and elegant designs—that were indelibly associated with the product he helped manufacture. Apparently, Consalvos had had a friend in New York who worked in the mailroom of a building, and he provided the self-taught artist with canceled postage stamps and the books from which he clipped pictures for his art. Efforts to explain what may have motivated Consalvos to make his unusual text-and-image assemblages can only be exercises in conjecture. The story of his art's emergence begins with its discovery in 1983, at a yard sale in Philadelphia, by a former curator. The woman who was selling the strange collages turned out to be Consalvos's niece, Helena Marti, who, in addition to collaged works on paper, had three collage-covered objects for sale—a wastebasket, a black chair, and a violin case. The former curator bought them all. Marti disclosed that a member of the family had made "the cigar-band stuff," objects covered with printed cigar bands that had been cut from large printed sheets of the distinctive tobacco-product wrappers, and offered to show more from the stash in her garage. The former curator eagerly bought all of Consalvos's flat collages and collage-covered objects Marti offered him, including several damaged items that appeared to be beyond repair. (It
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took about two weeks to clean out the garage; now inventoried, Consalvos's known body of work includes some 750 pieces.) Over time, the objects were professionally conserved but not immediately brought to market. When asked for information about the artist and his painstakingly crafted collages and objects, Marti said the family never really understood the meanings and purposes of the works, even while Consalvos was alive. There was a sense that the family didn't regard them as art. Marti pointed out that the only reason anyone in the family had held on to the unusual material for so long had been that, in some pieces, the artist had incorporated family photographs that were considered to have sentimental value—never mind that no one in the Consalvos clan recognized the people depicted in them, nor had anyone in the family engaged in the work of removing the photos. Marti also noted that Consalvos's son, Jose Felipe, who died in 1968, had been a collage maker as well. From time to time, she explained, father and son even contributed to each other's artistic creations. Family members knew Felipe Jesus as "Lipe," while the son went by the nickname Cuco.(Just when Felipe Jesus died is unknown.It is believed that he died "within a few years of his son.")3 The former curator donated a piece by Felipe Jesus Consalvos to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and approached Fleisher/011man Gallery in Philadelphia with the remaining body of work. The gallery first showed examples of the Consalvos material at the American Folk Art Museum's annual American Antiques Show in 2003. In late 2004, the Fleisher/ 011man Gallery presented its first Consalvos show. No exact chronology of Consalvos's artistic career or of his work's evolution is known, but in addition to collage works on paper, he collage-covered a model boat, a chest of drawers, a guitar, a typewriter, a dress dummy, and other items. Also in Consalvos's oeuvre are about a dozen collage-filled books, in which it appears that he took actual printed books, removed some of the pages, and then collaged both sides of the
PAREMOS LA AGRESION Mixed-media collage with original frame 18 x 22/ 3 4 " Collection of Theodore T. Newbold and Helen Cunningham
,T747 AT DOUBLE TRACE
1 s a ITIT I-(>111;11 ' \
remaining pages.The resulting mixedmedia, text-and-image assemblages resemble his single-sheet creations. Whether or not Consalvos was familiar with art history or with the stylistic and critical issues of the art of his times cannot be determined. However, among those of the artist's personal possessions that did not vanish during the years after his death or were not sold at yard sales, several Spanish-language books of poetry remain, and they are now part of the Consalvos archive. One volume was a collection of poems that Consalvos had brought together from various books and newspapers; this homemade anthology is neatly indexed in his own cursive handwriting. In it, the "emphasis [is] on Latin American poets, particularly Mexicans, and those associated with modernismo, a poetic movement [of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries]influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, and French Symbolism...." Dreamy and exotic, with an air of escape from the world of bourgeois respectability and expectations, modernismo's aesthetics made way, in literary works, for romantic flights of fancy and ambiguity. Intentionally or not—again, no one can say for sure—Consalvos's collages evoke this aesthetic sensibility while skillfully employing borrowed illustrations or snippets of text to convey specific,implicit, or ambivalent meanings.(Often, he lifted and used whole headlines just as he found them in magazines or newspapers.) From a textbook postmodernist point of view, this practice makes Consalvos a prototypical appropriationist, someone whose use of existing units of meaning for his own purposes in new contexts—words, images, symbols, or particular items such as money or postage stamps— inevitably changes their original, intended meanings. Especially interesting is the way Consalvos employed specimens of found language—of English, that is, the language of his adopted country—in his art. In his use of found images and offound language (which, in effect, he both quoted and made his own), the Cuban immigrant demonstrated a combined, punchy sense of irony, humor, and mischief.
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HANIM . POE CI DOUBLE.
HOME OF THE NATURE FREAK Mixed-media collage 24 K 36" Private collection
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HAND BADE 0_O.UbLE HOUMA:1j, DOUBLE ,
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FALL 2006 FOLK ART 55
Just how aware was he of the clever, sophisticated juxtapositions and sendups of meaning that turned up in his art? In a collage like Washington Dunce Clock (page 50), the familiar mug of the first U.S. president appears in the center of a clock's face marked with Roman numerals.' Here, Consalvos takes the air out of the solemnity and reverence surrounding conventional depictions of his iconic subject by placing a triangular piece of paper cut from a printed cigar band on his saintly head—a dunce cap or, perhaps, a traditional Cuban party hat. Cut-out strips of printed type with headlines referring to episodes from Washington's life radiate out from the central portrait like clock hands, marking off half-hours between the numerals. Here and elsewhere in Consalvos's collages, his instinctive understanding of graphic design is evident: The shot of color in Washington's unlikely—and unflattering?—headgear contrasts vividly with the rest of the piece's monochromatic palette. Consalvos also took aim at Washington in Five Hearts, a collage pasted onto a single printed sheet of cigar-box labels. In it, he makes use of the sheet's existing layout, which frames a central, rectangular space. In that space, he placed Washington's cut-out face from a dollar bill atop the cut-out female form of a model in a long dress and capelike, open coat. A large peach hovers above Washington's head. The familiar American eagle seal and pyramid topped with an all-seeing eye from the U.S. greenback also appear in the gender-bending picture, as does a red, white, and blue scrap of printed type bearing Washington's name. Other elegant details in the composition, neatly inserted into squares defined by the label's rectilinear design, include swatches of actual handwriting—whose?—that Consalvos decorated with little red hearts. How conscious was the artist of his work's cheeky subversiveness as it obviously addressed political, historical, and social-cultural themes? In The Schoolfor Future Mothers(page 51),for example, a collage whose printed title headline Consalvos had plucked from some publication, a festively dressed woman inserted behind the wheel of a luxury sedan (which carries a giant
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peach half atop its trunk) leans out the window to offer a bottle of Ballantine's Scotch whisky to an older man, a Freud look-alike in a straw boater. (The driver wears a conical cap.) To the right of the picture, another dapper gentleman can be seen receiving a swift kick to his privates from a gartered, stockinged leg that emerges from the automobile's trunk and from underneath the oversize fruit. Floating above this scene, like a wisecracking caption, a cut-out snippet of type reads:"SALUTATIONS." With dizzy, ornate, wildly ambiguous works like these, Consalvos's collages might be seen as a form of psychedelic pop art avant la lettre. (Think rock-music album covers from the late 1960s.) In works like Paremos la Agresion (Let's Stop the Aggression) (page 53), which includes a Communistpropaganda woodcut image of a family threatened by a bayonet-tipped gun, magazine cutouts of party girls, and,once again,a small face ofGeorge Washington, Consalvos's irony-laced critique of his adopted country's treasured myths about equality and prosperity are hard to miss. And in its antique frame, Abe Lincoln, in which America's legendary protector of the Union wears a tape measure across his forehead like a hippie headband and boasts luscious, scarlet-painted lips, Consalvos seemed to be sticking it to the pompousness with which his new compatriots regarded—or had been taught to revere—their national heroes. Simultaneously, he appeared to call attention to and question the nature of some of the most visible holders or sources of power in America's capitalist society. The point at which subtle (or not-so-subtle) political commentary stops and sheer goofiness begins in his art is hard to delineate, but Consalvos's collages are infused with both. At the same time,whatever their implied or intended messages, many of his creations are expressions of purely elegant, exquisitely crafted, decorative form, such as his vibrant Habana Bureau (page 58), a collagecovered, four-tier chest of drawers, or Foil Temple, a mixed-media piece that includes cigar bands, dozens of singlecolor postage stamps, an anatomical
FIVE HEARTS Mixed-media collage 153 / 4 >< 12" Courtesy Doodletown Farm, LLC
ABE LINCOLN Mixed-media collage with original frame 24 x 21" Collection of Taryn and Mark Leavitt
FOIL TEMPLE Mixed-media collage 413 / 4 x 34/ 1 4" Collection of Edward V. Blanchard Jr.
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 57
illustration (a recurring motif in his art), metallic foils, and what appear to be fragments of a printed-wallpaper pattern. Of the apparent mix of mockery and celebration of some of the well-known subjects that viewers are likely to detect in Consalvos's work, Philadelphia art dealer John Oilman says: "At first we thought it was very reverential [about the U.S.], but then we realized it wasn't at all, that it was hypercritical and poked fun at George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and other historical figures. You can read the texts in his collages over and over and come up with completely opposite interpretations of what his works might mean." The impenetrable mystery surrounding Consalvos's art notwithstanding, Oilman, one of the pioneering dealers in the United States of the work of self-taught artists, recalls that "seeing his work for the first time was an awe-inspiring moment; it made me think of when I saw the work of Martin Ramirez or James Castle for the first time, or when, in 1982, I visited Henry Darger's room in Chicago and saw it still intact." Until or unless more concrete facts about Consalvos's life experiences, thinking, and motivations for his art-making surface, admirers of his work will have to look for answers to their questions about the man and his oeuvre in the repositories of the secrets that he left behindâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the collage works themselves."I will tell you what I know," Helena Marti wrote in a brief letter about a year after the purchase of "the pictures and things" her uncle had made. In the note, which she wrote in Spanish, she provided some details about the artist and his immediate family.' She noted that her "Uncle Lipe" had been "very religious, as was my mother," and mentioned that they had both known "how to make medicine with the help of God." If Marti's letter offered only cryptic clues to help us round out our knowledge of an artist whose work remains as curious as it is compelling, Consalvos himself left behind one of the most resonant and revealing, if frustratingly terse, summations of who he was and of what it was,
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perhaps, that made him tick. That succinct, typewritten line of selfdescription appears as a cut-andpasted element just beneath the carriage of a typewriter the artist covered with colorful cigar bands. There, addressing future viewers of his art and history itself, the artist told the world all it might ever need to know about him. His sinsle line declares: "FELIPE JESUS CONSALVOS * BORN IN AVANA* 1891* CIGARMAKER,CREATOR,HEALER,& MAN."* Edward M Gomez,the US. contributing editor of Raw Vision, writesfrequently about self-taught artists'work. His essay "Intuitive Eyes,"on Jamaican artists Albert Artwell, Everald Brown, Leonard Daley, and Ras Dizzy, appeared in thefall2005 issue of Folk Art.
Notes 1 Collection of Kunsthalle Tubingen,
Germany;see Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik,eds., Modern Art and Popular Culture: Readings in High &Low(New York Harry N.Abrams in association with the Museum of Modem Art, 1990),illustration 210; or Richard Hamilton Complete Catalogue, www.infoloop.org (accessed June 22,2006). 2 Basic biographical data are from an unpublished letter written by Helena Marti, c. 1984; archive of Consalvos's books, photographs, and ephemera courtesy Fleisher/ Oilman Gallery,Philadelphia.These same data are also summarized in Brendan Greaves,"The Art of Being Disagreeable," in Cigarmaker, Creator, Healer, & Man:The Artwork ofFelipe Jesus Consalvos(Philadelphia:
Fleisher/Oilman Gallery, 2005),pp. 8-9. 3 Greaves,op. cit., p.9. 4 Ibid., p. 12. 5 None of Consalvos's creations has been or can be precisely dated.They all date from around 1920 through the 1950s,and they are all commonly described as mixed-media works.Titles are descriptive. 6 John Oilman,interview by the author,Philadelphia, November 2004. 7 Consalvos archive, courtesy Fleisher/ Oilman Gallery.
HABANA BUREAU Mixed-media collage on wooden bureau 411 / 2,361 / 2 19" Collection of Theodore T. Newbold and Helen Cunningham
CIGARMAKER, HEALER,CREATOR, & MAN Mixed-media collage on typewriter 10 x 15 x 14" Courtesy Doodletown Farm, LLC
RUDE STONE MONUMENTS Mixed-media collage 11 x 11" Collection of Karen Lennox
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 59
!IWO I IIIIMIO 111111111111111111 11111114IFID
The Scrawl of the Wild
raffiti: urban folk art or wanton vandalism? Contemporary outsider art or the hat ,iork of depraved individuals? To some, graffiti is a lineal descendant of prehistoric cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics. To others, it is pure uglinessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a violation, a blight, an epidemic, the scrawl of the wild. Mere mention of the "g" word (from the Italian graffito: incised inscription) has been known to elicit ire from even the most well-tempered individuals (should we predict a similar reaction here?).
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Although critics of graffiti are not difficult to locate, the form does have ardent supporters as well. While aggressive campaigns to curtail the upsurge of graffiti writing continue in cities around the globe, the handwriting on the wall doesn't seem to be going away. With this in mind, I felt it was time for Folk Art to take a look at this controversial phenomenon. It was the summer of 1969 when a 14-year-old Greek kid starting Early masterpiece by Super-Kool 223, summer 1972 marking the walls of his Upper Manhattan neighborhood with a small, black Magic Marker. His name was Demetrius, but his nom de plume was Taki 183. Demetrius's part-timejob as a messenger situated him in Midtown Manhattan by day. There, his signatures began attracting the attention of pedestrians. As the number ofTaki "tags" increased, so, too, did speculation—just who or what was Taki 183? In July 1971, with Taki's markings approaching urban-legend proportion, a New York Times reporter tracked Taki down and wrote an article tided "Taki 183'Spawns Pen Pals," in which questions were posed about Taki's motivation (local notoriety) while noting Initially, the media supported the that many youngsters were copying Technicolor public writing, calling it Taki's unorthodox (and illegal) form an important new art—the voice of of self-expression.' the young and disenfranchised. Their That same summer, the phe- support effectively stoked the fire. As nomenon known as graffiti writ- they trumpeted the arrival of this new ing exploded. Seemingly overnight, cuneiform, they inadvertently encourhundreds (and before long thousands) aged hordes of new recruits to join the of New York City kids ran with Taki's fray and put their signatures to walls, idea. In fact, many ran, with spray buses, and trains. Teenagers quickly cans outstretched, straight to the sides transformed the city into their own, of the city's subways—much to the personal urban art gallery, as huge chagrin of the Transit Authority, out- psychedelic frescoes of gooey, dancing raged citizens, and civic leaders.These signatures covered virtually every inch graffiti writers quickly discovered that ofavailable space. the smooth exteriors of the train cars Artist Claes Oldenburg loved it— were the perfect billboards for huge lit is] brightening up the place like a signatures. Even better, the trains big bouquet from Latin America"— traveled all around the city, bringing as did Andy Warhol.' The venerable the message to the masses. graphics journal Print praised graffiti The New York of 1971 had been in a cover story, and Norman Mailer dramatically unraveled by Robert published a gushing coffee-table book Moses's drastic reconfiguration of on the subject titled The Faith of Grafthe physical blueprint. War malaise pi.'Richard Goldstein, reporting in gripped the nation, and youth gangs New York magazine, called it the most patrolled entire areas of local terra important youth movement since rock firma. The city, deep in the throes of and roll.' economic despair, was ill prepared to Subway graffiti, the spine of the deal with a graffiti epidemic. It was entire movement, had a long run— the last thing they needed—or could eighteen years to be exact. But ulhave predicted. timately, the Transit Authority won
Taki 183, C. 1971
out. The winning move? Surrounding the train yards with prison fences— double twenty-five-foot-tall metal gates topped with razor wire. The era of illegal subway painting officially came to an end in May 1989, when—in a ceremony staged for the local press corps—the Transit Authority painted over what they dubbed "the last graffiti train." But as the Transit Authority celebrated, the Department of Highways despaired. Without access to train yards, determined graffiti writers took their work aboveground— highways quickly became the new frontier. Of course, moving above ground was not entirely new. Graffiti writers had poked their heads up from the underground before. In 1972, a junior at City College named Hugo Martinez was doing an academic study on local street gangs when his focus became diverted. Upon meeting a group of graffiti writers on a corner in Washington Heights (a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan), Martinez became fascinated with their endeavors and quickly organized an exhibit on campus. He attached large sheets of paper
Hugo Martinez (second from left) and members of United Graffiti Artists in the workshop. West 27th Street, New York, February 1973
to his dormitory walls and let the graffitists go at it. The school administrators were apoplectic,but Martinez was smitten and quicklyformed the world's first graffiti art collective,United Graffiti Artists(U.G.A.). U.G.A. was a handpicked group consisting of the most talented graffiti writers of the day. Although membership in the group was coveted, some found Martinez's requirement that they refrain from street writing tough to adhere to. In fact, some members Phase 2 masterpiece, 1973 ultimately chose the streets over the opportunity to"go legit." Unfortunately, Martinez and the U.C.A. were ten year.; ahead of their time—the world was not re- hop (rapping, deejaying, and break Haring's, the East Village galleries ally ready to accept graffiti writers as dancing), it received an enormous were,for a time, home to canvas work fine artists. But the U.G.A. did have shot of adrenaline. This convergence by a number of New York—based subsome respectable outings. In 1973, generated massive media hype and way and street sprayers, as artists like an exhibition at the Razor Gallery in product; many books and films from Lee, Pink, and Daze (see pages 61 SoHo garnered a positive review from the era—Subway Art and Wild Style, and 65) and Futura, Dondi,and Blade Peter Schjeldahl in the New York for example—are still in heavy rota- made the transition from the train yards to the galleries. Times (although he didn't seem quite tion today.' John Matos,better known as Crash Simultaneously, a backlash to sure of what to make of the work).5 After three years, with internal strife a SoHo art establishment mired in (page 66), has remained a rebel witha constant, the U.G.A. disbanded, pricey work by young guns like out a pause. From his South Bronx although Martinez continued to rep- Julian Schnabel and Francesco studio, he paints huge, glorious canresent a number of the original mem- Clemente revealed itself. Dozens of vases with spray paint. The paintings bers. A copycat organization surfaced makeshift storefront galleries, some- are reminiscent of the work of pop briefly under the acronym N.O.G.A. times referred to as "anti-spaces," art giants James Rosenquist and Roy (Nation of Graffiti Artists), but for cropped up throughout New York's Lichtenstein. Crash's canvases are exthe most part, graffiti remained an East Village neighborhood, offer- tremely popular, particularly in ceunderground trend through the latter ing art at slash-and-burn prices. The lebrity circles, and his work fetches art critics' love affair with the "East impressive figures. After twenty-five part ofthe 1970s. All this changed during the de- Village movement" was short-lived— years "aboveground," Crash shows no cade of excess that followed. Between as was the scene itself—but not before signs ofslowing down. But at the risk of being overly pe1980 and 1985,the media had a feed- the movement produced two of its ing frenzy with graffiti, which they own megastars: Jean-Michel Basquiat dantic, technically speaking, once the treated as a new phenomenon. And and Keith Haring. It should be noted writing is no longer on the streets, it when graffiti writing suddenly be- that these artists are often referred to ceases to be graffiti. And back on the came irrevocably intertwined with an as "graffiti artists," due in part to their streets of New York—still the Mecca exciting, yet-to-be-named youth cul- production of street-based work dur- for public writing—a battle wages. On one side: thousands of young ture emerging from the South Bronx, ing their early years. Although none of the careers people, usually age 13 and up, most a new paradigm was created. As graffiti was decreed the visual counterpart of the subway painters—cum—gallery often male, generally from far better to the three other elements of hip- artists took off like Basquiat's or home environments than the original
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 63
writers in the 1970s, all very determined to leave their mark wherever and whenever they can. From a quick glance around the city, one can assume they are good at what they do. One might also say they have adopted fhe Malcolm X doctrine "by any means necessary." Ironically, as the punishments for graffiti become more severe (it is a felony in most cases), their work has become increasingly ambitious. On the other side: a highly skilled, professional New York City police unit that calls itself the Vandal Squad. Theirjob is to photograph new graffiti "hits," compile data, question informers, create dossiers, track down wanted graffitists, and make arrests. They are very good at what they do (and they, too, one might attest, are applying Malcolm's credo). With regard to the two camps'respective but sharply conflicting goals, it seems that passion, determination, and self-righteousness are not in short supply in either side. Today, some of the most audacious work in the city is not visible at eye level. Tops of buildings have become a new favorite site for the work of experienced writers (see page 67). From the ledges of roofs, these would-be Peter Parkers employ paint rollers in an unlikely way. With extension rods, they roll latex paint from the top down, painting huge letters in long, deliberate strokes. It seems impossible to envision a final product from this perspective, but they seem quite adept at it. If they do everything right, the result is a huge, personal logo emblazoned
Tlut author at work, 1986
across the top edge of a building. Accomplishing a feat of this sort requires massive planning and stealth, an absence of vertigo, and a touch of insanity. Rooftop painting is desirable for at least two reasons: It keeps the graffitist out ofview of the police patrolling the streets in unmarked cars; and it makes for a very bold statement. If you were a top-flight graffiti writer in New York during the 1990s, you probably have fond memories of that decade, when the city's graffiti writers got serious. When hip-hop consummated its marriage to graffiti, their progeny came in the form of books, magazines, and movies. These products served as blueprints for kids in other cities. Young rappers, break dancers, and graffiti writers began to appear everywhere from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Graffiti writers in Germany and Holland started creating such strong work that they embarrassed the writers back in New York, forcing them to ratchet up their own efforts. Graffiti had always been about a friendly (urn, usually) type of one-upmanship. Now, that same type of competition was taking place on a global scale.
New York subway painting crews like T.A.T.(The A Team), F.C.(First Class) and T.N.B.(The Nasty Boys) turned their attention to the South Bronx. In that neighborhood stood thousands of walls covered with slapdash signatures and other visual detritus. What city officials saw as neglect, graffiti crews saw as blank canvases. In 1990, it was fairly easy for graffiti writers to requisition a wall. Business owners found it hard to say no to an offer for a free, full-color paint jobâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even ifthe content wasn't exactly what they had in mind. The elaborate style of paint job that emerges once a wall is requisitioned is known, in the parlance of the culture, as a "production." Productions are the part of the graffiti spectrum that usually generates the least criticism and the most admiration from mainstream viewers. Productions are also the farthest from original street graffiti and other disciplines of the cultureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they are often referred to as "permission walls." The primary thing that separates them from more traditional murals is the inclusion of stylized names. Sometimes, names play a supporting role in
Collaboration by Smith, Erni, Daze, Pink, and Mickey, n.d.
the overall design; occasionally, names do not appear at all. A production usually begins with news that a wall has been acquired (a cause for celebration). A time is chosen to start—maybe the following Saturday morning (yes, graffiti writers have day jobs).The graffiti writers assemble,whitewash the wall, peruse the paint supply, discuss the overall design, and get down to work. There is only one thing missing: spontaneity. Productions can take up to forty hours. To fully understand the critical role of spontaneity in graffiti, we need to go back to the beginning.... In the beginning, there was the simple little tag (what Taki 183 was doing with his black Magic Marker). Before the spray can, there was the Marker, but it was the spray can that opened the door for grand designs and copious use of color. By 1971, with signatures wallpapering New York's walls, the cleverest graffitiwriters pioneered new techniques to help their names stand out from the rest. (Besides, a little panache never hurt.) An early technique was the outline—a secondary line around the entire script (sometimes done with a second color). One day during the spring of 1971, a graffiti writer (debate over this artist's identity still swirls) realized that the nozzle from his mom's Jif-Foam carpet cleaner fit on his spray paint can. The carpetcleaner nozzle sprayed a much wider line, and voila! A whole new world of possibilities opened up.
Huge tags with outlines soon gave way to the first"masterpiece," or simply "piece." This new form was arrived at when Super-Kool 223 decided to recreate the bubble letters from a comic book on the side ofa subway car(page 62). At first, his companions made fun ofhim—"You wasted a whole can of paint on that thing!" But by the next day, they were copying his work because their style suddenly looked scrawny. As bubble letters became the norm, so, too, did sneaking into the train yards. There, graffiti writers were able to spend more time on their pieces, and it instantly showed in the work. Although the train yards were far from a model environment for creativity, young painters were able to produce remarkable results there. Subway yards were dangerous and dirty, and the windows of opportunity for painting were limited. Sometimes you had an hour; sometimes you had ten minutes. But it was within this odd crucible that spontaneity and competition converged in an alchemic shot at gold. Under constant pressure from the risk of discovery by yard workers and police and the danger of passing trains, the writers mastered the art of self-preservation, focus, and concentration. Subway painting was not for the fainthearted: Everyone knew about the violent deaths of Solid, R.C., and Stim, all killed by moving trains—graffiti martyrs. Writers like Phase 2(page 63), Riff 170, and Tracy 168 emerged as leaders
of the new movement, making style and finesse their primary objectives. They set the bar for all graffiti painting that followed, crafting work during the first half of the 1970s that is still exceptional by today's aerosol-art standards. Yet spontaneity was in full effect. Just how beautifully you could paint your name was not the question. How beautifully you could paint your name under these conditions was. And then there was the competitive spirit:"burning"the competition, a form of one-upmanship and the main motivating factor within the graffiti rubric. A typical dynamic for painting in the yards was two or three writers working alongside one another. If they were all painting the same train car, the final result was a "two-man" or a "three-man" car. (If the names covered the entire length ofthe car, an "end-to-end" had been accomplished.) As each writer worked on his or her name,the competitive spirit took hold. Like in sports, when you came to the yard to paint with your friends (which was always nice), it was all smiles on the way there. But when the caps came off the cans, make no mistake, the gauntlet was thrown down. There was only one goal at that point: paint a better piece than the other guy—bum the competition. As freshly painted two- and threeman cars rolled out of the yard, the graffiti cognoscenti, congregated at
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 65
"The Graffiti Hall of Fame," a sanctioned graffiti production, 106th Street at Park A O.
the back of the 149th Street station, passed instant judgment—thumbs up or thumbs down—quickly determining who burned whom (and as critics, they could be quite brutal). This was modern-day gladiatorial art—but of course, here you could lose and still leave alive, with only your ego decapitated. One result of the golden age of subway painting (approximately 1972 to 1974, when all major aesthetic developments were made)was some glorious, albeit primitive work, which can still be enjoyed in archival photos. Today's post-9/11, surveillancecamera world is altogether different from the milieu of the 1970s New York—as is the graffiti produced in this time. But all is not lost in the brave new world. In the global village of today, "New York—Style Graffiti"—always a bit confined within its own parameters—has, grudgingly or otherwise, given way to an "anything goes" attitude and content. The first thing to note is that a pseudonym or written logo is no longer the mandatory centerpiece in modern graffiti-making, in New York or elsewhere. In fact, in some circles, the whole "name thing" is seen as passé. Secondly, the spray can—once absolute—is no longer paramount. Paste and posters, "brush paint,"
66 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
etching tools, grease pens, and even cleaning solvents are all considered far more critical than spray paint. But perhaps the most fascinating new development is the startling volume of graffiti-related websites. It appears that graffiti and the Internet have found in one another the perfect mate. The Internet is, after all, global, instant, and somewhat anonymous. Graffiti is global, instant, and ephemeral(your graffiti will still be on the Net long after it has been painted over). And the need for anonymity is essential (ironically, with notoriety comes exposure). As our world turns, so, too, does it shrink. Comedian Steven Wright once quipped,"It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it." Fully understandable, even if not everyone is put off by the prospect. In today's digital millennium, one-upmanship takes on a brand-new sensibility: Did the piece painted by the kid in Helsinki on Tuesday night burn the one that the kid in Sao Paulo did on Monday night? You decide.* Zephyr has been paintinggraffitifor more than thirty years;the New York Times has dubbed him "the elder statesman of graffiti."He is the coauthor of Dondi White: Style Master General;The Life ofGraffiti Artist Dondi White(New
York ReganBooks,2001)and has written extensively about art,politics, andpopular culturefor numerous magazines, including Vibe,The Source,andJuxtapoz, Zephyr's work can be seen at www.zephyrgraffiti .com and on walls and trains around the world
Crash in his studio, Bronx, New York, 2005
An example of rooftop painting, n.d.
COMPILED BY DANIE L PIETRZAK
Notes 1 "'Talci 183'Spawns Pen Pals," New York Times,July 21,1971. 2 Quoted in Richard Goldstein,"The Graffiti'Hit'Parade," New York(March 26, 1973): 34-39. 3 William Greenfield,"Spraycan School," Print(January/February 1982): 33-45; and Mervyn Kurlansky and Jon Naar, The Faith ofGraffiti, with text by Norman Mailer(New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974). 4 Goldstein, op. cit., p. 35. 5 Peter Schjeldahl,"Graffiti Goes LegitBut the Show-Off Ebulliance Remains," New York Times, September 16,1973. 6 Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, Subway Art(New York Henry Holt and Company,1984); and Wild Style(1982), directed by Charlie Ahearn and starring graffiti artist Lee Quinones.
Alva, Robert"Wisk," and Robert"Relax" Reiling. The History ofLos Angeles Graffiti Art. Vol. 1,1983-1988. Los Angeles: Alva & Reding Publications,2006. Austin,Joe. Taking the Train: How Graffiti Art Became an Urban Crisis in New York City. New York Columbia University Press,2001. Blacicmore, Richard,and Liz Farrelly. Scrawl:Dirty Graphics & Strange Characters, London: Booth-Clibbom Editions, 1999. .Scrawl Too:More Dirt.London: BoothClibborn Editions, 2001. Bou,Louis. Street Art: The Spray Files. New York Collins Design in as.oriation with Monsa Publishing,2005. Brassal. Graffiti. Translated by David Radzinowicz. Paris: Flammarion,1993. Cameron,Dan,et al. East Village USA. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art,2004. Castleman, Craig. Getting Up: Subway Graffiti in New York. Cambridge,Mass.: MIT Press, 1982. Chalfant, Henry,and James Prigoff. Spraycan Art. New York Thames & Hudson,1987. Chang,Jeff. Can't Stop Won't Stop:A History ofthe Hip-Hop Generation. New York St. Martin's Press, 2005. Christi, Markus. Stylefile Blackbook Sessions 02: Graffiti on PaperScribbles,Outlines,and Full-Color Stuff. Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press,2004. Cooper,Martha. Hip Hop Files:Photographs, 1979-1984. New York: From Here to Fame,2004. Cooper,Martha,and Henry Chalfant. Subway Art. New York Henry Holt and Company, 1984. Cooper,Martha,and Joseph Sciorra. R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art. New York Henry Holt and Company,1994. Dorrian, Mike,and David Recchia. Stickers: Stick 'Ern Up. London: BoothClibbom Editions,2002.
Fedorchak, Vincent. Fuzz One:A Bronx Childhood. New York Testify Books,2005. Fricke,Jim,and Charlie Ahearn,eds.Yes Yes Y'All: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip-Hop's First Decade. Cambridge,Mass.: Da Capo Press,2002. Futura. Futura. London: Booth-Clibbom Editions, 2000. Ganz,Nicholas. Graffiti World:Street Are From Five Continents. New York Harry N.Abrams, 2004. Ganz, Nicholas, Nancy MacDonald,and Swoon. Graffiti Women:Street Art from 5 Continents. New York Harry N. Abrams,2006. Gastman,Roger. Enamelized: Graffiti Worldwide. Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press, 2004. . Free Agents:A History ofWashington, D.C.,Graffiti. Bethesda, Md.: R. Rock Enterprises in association with Soft Skull Press,2001.
Gastman,Roger, Darin Rowland,and Ian Sattler. FreightTrain Graffiti. New York Harry N. Abrams,2006. Harvey, Ellen. New York Beautification Project. New York Gregory R. Miller & Co.,2005. KurlansIcy, Mervyn,and Jon Naar.The Faith of Graffiti. With text by Norman Mailer. New York Praeger Publishers, 1974. MacPhee,Josh. Stencil Pirates: A Global Study ofthe Street Stencil. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soft Skull Press,2004. Mai,Markus,and Arthur Remke. Writing Urban Calligraphy and Beyond. Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2003.
Manco Tristan. Stencil Graffiti. New York Thames & Hudson,2002. Street Logos. New York Thames & Hudson, 2004. Martinez, Hugo,Nato,and Antonio Zaya. Graffiti NYC.New York Prestel Publishing, 2006. Miller,Ivor L.Aerosol Kingdom:Subway Painters ofNew York City.Jackson: University Press ofMississippi,2002. Murray,James,and Karla Murray. Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC. Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press,2002. .Burning New York: Graffiti NYC.Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press,2005. Paul 107.All-City:The Book AboutTaking Space. Toronto: ECW Press, 2003. Powers,Stephen.The Art of Getting Over: Graffiti at the Millennium. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. Reso,Ecb. Straight Lines:A Ten-Year Graffiti-Art Dialog. Corte Madera, Calif: Gingko Press, 2004. Rose, Aaron,and Christian Strike,eds. Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture. New York:Iconoclast and Distributed Art Publishers,2004. Schlegelmilch, Steffen. Stylefile: Best ofIssue 01-10;Trains,Walls, Styles,Interviews,06.05: From Prototype to Silver. Corte Madera,Calif.: Gingko Press,2006. Stiller,Jam. Stylefile: Blackbook Session. Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press,2003. .Surfthe City: Graffiti on Subways in Germany and Europe. Corte Madera,Calif: Gingko Press, 2003. Witten,Andrew "Zephyr," and Michael White. Dondi White:Style Master General; The Life ofGraffiti Artist Dondi White. New York ReganBoolcs,2001. Daniel Pietrzak served as an intern in the museum's publications department in summer 2005.
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We Were Here: Marks, Monikers, WE WERE HERE / Ed Haskel / n.d.
Box cars run by a mile long. AndI wonder what they say to each other When they stop a mile long on a sidetrack. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Carl Sandburg,"Work Gangs," 1922
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW BURNS
and the Boxcar Art Tradition By Matthew Burns
Boxcar drawings, a 150-year old tradition, evolved from two main sources: rail workers' on-car maintenance or assembly instructions and a wide-functioning, symbol-based system of communication used by the early train-hopping community. These markings have been a part of the American rail system from its inception, and they appear in myriad forms, running the gamut from the simple printed signature to the highly detailed chiaroscuro portrait. No matter what form they take, they are messages sent out to no one and everyone, messages that announce "I was here."
y interest in boxcar art sprang from an involvement with the (aerosol) graffiti scene in the early 1990s. Trips to the local train yard and direct interaction with the cars forced me to notice these unusual, seemingly inexplicable little doodles and cryptic messages. A deadpan smoking cowboy,a fizzing champagne glass, a little man in a sombrero and poncho napping under a lonesome palm—these monikers were suddenly everywhere I looked. They meant something to someone "out there." Early in 1984, PBS aired a 1983 documentary by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant titled Style Wars. The work was the culmination of nearly three years of filming and countless interviews with the burgeoning subculture of New York graffiti writers who had turned the city's decrepit subway system into a virtual rolling gallery. It was a logical topic to pursue given the infamous state of the trains throughout the 1980s—an image that is not very difficult to conjure when asked to give an example of what graffiti is. In fact, this "bombed-out" underground—totally covered in aerosol art—is likely to be the graffiti archetype for both the artist and the layperson. But these decorated trains, running up, down,and across the island of Manhattan and from borough to borough on more than 2,000 miles of track, were just youthful imitators following a tradition dating back to the birth ofthe railroad itself. Marking up the cars of a train is nothing new. While the utilization of spray paint to do so may be relatively recent, there is a long history of freight trains' rolling stock carrying names and messages across the great national expanse. While the artists in New York's subway system were looking to go "all city" by the 1980s,the boxcar artist has been going "all nation" since the mid- to late 1800s. The railroad tradition of marking cars not with spray paint but with chalk or oil-based paint sticks (or some similar medium) is a widely unknown phenomenon that is made up of countless numbers ofextraordinarily diverse pieces currently running in the vast North American rail network. The culture offreight-train graffiti, born mostly from the demise of the subway graffiti movement,grew tremendously in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a way for artists to continue painting trains after the access to subway cars was all but cut off' Small, almost innocuous boxcar drawings ran in direct contrast to the ostentatious quality of aerosol graffiti, proclaiming a presence not with a shout but with a whisper time and again. Moreover, the simplicity and modesty in many of the drawings gave rise to two dear questions: Who are the people making the drawings? Why are they making them? Once one has noticed these little drawings, one begins to see them everywhere—they seem to appear as if by magic. They must have always been there, but they went unnoticed in the wake of bolder, more colorful sprayed-on images. When you look through the graffiti, in some cases quite literally, the moniker takes on a story all its own. Unlike the vivid spray-painted letter that is unavoidably visible, the hand-drawn moniker must be sought out. The origin of boxcar art is generally said to inhabit two specific worlds bound together by iron rails and wooden ties. First is the world of the railroad employee, men
who are essentially forced into direct contact with the cars, day in and day out. These workmen began marking cars with chalk in the earliest days of the railroad. Early marks were strictly utilitarian, indicating, for example, which cars were to be uncoupled and then reassembled into trains, or which cars needed maintenance work. Marks like these can still be seen on cars today, and they possess no real artistic intent or merit. However, a second leg of moniker history can be traced to the same time period. With the massive expansion of track and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, trains had become a viable way to transport freight and humans alike. For those travelers who lacked the financial resources to purchase a ticket but still sought to pursue the "aura of adventure," the train-hopping hobo lifestyle became a very practical countermethod oftravel.' Postbellum America was woven through with more than 60,000 miles of track for hoboes to surreptitiously ride.' Through whistle-stop and metropolis, the rails carried passengers and goods. For the hoboes who made their way onto the trains in a more covert fashion, these small towns and large cities functioned as, among other things, communication centers where information about the local vicinity could be disseminated. This grapevine communication network of transients developed an "iconic code of symbols" to share important information such as"Good road to follow,""Fresh water and safe camp," "Rich people live here," or "Kind woman lives here." However, these symbols, while straying slightly from the workmen's, still kept one finger in the utilitarian realm. More importantly, they were site-specific—the majority of these symbols pertained to the community in which they were drawn (or carved, as the case may be). It would have been useless,for example,to have the symbol for"Good food here" drawn on a boxcar simply because the car could, at any time, be miles away from that good food. So these symbols were confined to the non-train components of the railroad or nearby structures, such as water towers, trestles, viaducts, fences,or even homes. Of course, this is not meant to imply that the works created by these hoboes and rail workers existed only to disseminate information, or that the writers did not leave their personal marks on the machines they so closely worked with. Jack London, one of the historical hobo archetypes, reveals the genesis of his own moniker,"Sailor Jack," in The Road, his 1907 collection ofautobiographical writings: [T]here were hoboes who passed and re-passed with amazing frequency, and others, still, who passed like ghosts, dose at hand,unseen,and never seen. It was one of the latter that I chased clear across Canada over three thousand miles of railroad, and never once did I lay eyes on him. His "monica" was Skysail Jack. I first ran into it at Montreal. Carved with a jack-knife was the skysail-yard of a ship. It was perfectly executed. Under it was "Skysail jack." Above was "B.W. 9-15-94." This latter conveyed the information that he had passed through Montreal bound west, on October [sic] 15, 1894. He had one day the start of me."Sailor jack" was my monica at
that particular time,and promptly I carved it alongside of his, along with the date and the information that I, too,was bound west. I had misfortune in getting over the next hundred miles, and eight days later I picked up Skysail jack's trail three hundred miles west of Ottawa. There it was, carved on a water-tank, and by the date I saw that he likewise had met with delay. He was only two days ahead of me. I was a "comet" and "tramproyal," so was Skysail jack; and it was up to my pride and reputation to catch up with him. I "railroaded" day and night, and I passed him; then turn about he passed me. Sometimes he was a day or so ahead, and sometimes I was. From hoboes, bound east, I got word of him occasionally, when he happened to be ahead; and from them I learned that he had become interested in Sailor jack and was making inquiries about me.5 This account of a personal declaration of presence, the "I was here," is inherent in all boxcar art. It is that primitive desire to sign one's name that influences the whole of the art. And it is clear that a good amount of marking rail cars and railroad equipment was occurring as a result of the workers' taking liberties with the cars and the hoboes with just about everything else. Given these two "parents," it is not surprising that the tradition of boxcar art was at once birthed and solidified. The practitioners of boxcar art can be roughly divided into three main groups: rail workers, train-hoppers, and graffiti artists. Contrary to the romanticized image of the artistic train-hopping hobo, it is the first group that continues to produce the majority of the art out there.' This is not surprising given the direct, and thus opportunistic, daily interaction the worker has with the train. The same could possibly be said of the transient community, but this is a community that, of necessity, must dwell "under the radar"â&#x20AC;&#x201D;it is in the train-hoppers' best interest to make as little spectacle of their presence in the rail network as possible. Obsessively marking cars would run counter to this interest. Moreover, the artistic differences between this group and the former can never be clearly defined. For example, a drawing of a cat with a nickname written next to it could just as easily be attributed to either. Uncertainty bedevils the moniker. Still, there are many artists who do hop trains and incorporate that lifestyle into their work.There are just not as many as would initially be expected. Where these first two "factions"â&#x20AC;&#x201D;workers and hoppersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are fairly logical and understandable, the third is, by comparison, somewhat new to the scene. One major difference among these groups is that the graffiti artists go out to the yards with a specific intention: exposure. This is interesting for numerous reasons, most notably the connection to the image ofsubway graffiti so ensconced in American memory. Furthermore, when the demise of the symbolic hobo language is considered, the artists' missionlike determination to get their names out there becomes an act that is solely about identity. Dissemination is still the goal, but this new generation of boxcar artists has also eschewed the can ofpaint in favor ofa piece ofchalk.
Rail Workers Bow Texino's iconic cowboy has been rolling around since at least the mid-1930s and has gained mythic status. Originally, it was the moniker of two different rail workers who began drawing it around the same time. The original incarnation was most likely created by J.H. McKinley, a Missouri Pacific Lines employee. An article from the July 1939 issue of Railroad Magazine features a newspaper photo from the San Antonio Light and a one-page write-up on McKinley; in the photo, he brazenly applies the Bow Texino "trademark" to a boxcar.' The example illustrated here is the second version ofthe image.The McKinley design seen in the 1939 account is far more detailed and bustlike than this one, with distinct ears, sideways-looking eyes, smoke trailing from a long pipe, a
UNTITLED / Bozo Texino / n.o. photographed in Rocnester, No York, 200u
star on the hat, and even the suggestion of a work shirt. In the interest of speed, the details in the second image have been pared down to just the hat, the face, and a smoking cigarette. Having been passed down through the decades, this version is now the only one running. It is well into a third generation, with numerous workers, hoboes, and artists carrying on the design. Although it has never been dated, this example is one of the older versions I have seen. The more recent models are often done in paint marker and not as cleanly executed. In contrast, these older examples are stylishly executed with an oil-based paint stick and have, after many years, been absorbed by the steel, becoming part of the very structure ofthe car. Smokin'Joe is one of the few artists working today who actually keeps track of the number of drawings he has done and then incorporates the tally into each drawing. This
echoes the connection to aerosol graffiti's more-is-better mentality. Impressively, three cars down from the one illustrated below was another Smokin'Joe piece from July 2000 numbered 17,113. Twenty-seven months later, his drawings would number 20,000.8 The smoking locomotive motif(or some other train-oriented derivative) is, logically, a common theme among workers. The actual size of Smokin' Joe's moniker is impressive, often stretching four or five feet in length on many types of cars,from large grain hoppers to open-top gondolas. His presence cannot be overlooked. The artist known as Ox is interesting for many reasons, but the cryptic nature of his numbering scheme is foremost. His moniker doesn't vary—the horned 0 with an X shifted down and to the right is always the same, only varying slightly in size but the numbers encircled in the icon fluctuate wildly and don't appear to be applied in sequence. Seemingly new monikers have single digits while older ones number in the three hundreds. One would assume there is a reason behind the numbering system (maybe Ox's numbers correspond to the day of the year, or something along those lines), but a significant part of the fascination that comes with finding an Ox drawing is the understanding that the
13,475 / Smokin' Joe / 1996 / New York, 2002
Train-hoppers While hoboes may have once created a significant portion of boxcar art, the current state of the art form places this group of practitioners behind both worker and graffiti artist in terms of production. This may be due to the secrecy necessary to the lifestyle. Drawing any unwanted attention would greatly affect the train hopper's chances of catching a ride, so it is in his best interest to stay in the shadows,limiting his exposure until the last possible moment." As a representative of the transient freight-hopping community, the drawing of a weary traveler with a bindle perched on his shoulder (page 73, left) and the inscription "Long Road Ahead" plays with the stereotype of the hobo experience. The freedom afforded by a transient lifestyle places the hobo in a certain space where a fixed address—the city in this example—is both nowhere and everywhere. Moreover, while the caption is rather
3 / Ox / n.d. / phoLL,(4f apruu Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 2002
reason is all but unknowable.The mystery facilitates the appeal. Ox's cryptic numbering scheme can be seen as a sort of manifestation of the mystery inherent in all of boxcar art. Monikers mean something very specific to the artist applying them, but the exact meaning often eludes the outside viewer, resulting in ongoing supposition and discourse. It is by not saying anything that he says the most. Second only to Bozo Texino in output (a ranking many would argue should actually be ruled a tie), Herby (Herbert Meyer)is said to have left his mark on an estimated 100,000 cars—a conservative estimate at that.' His chalk drawings of a man in a sombrero taking a siesta beneath a palm tree are always dated and signed, but never captioned. The drawing shown above dates from 1980, but there are some from the 1960s still running, and there are rumored to be some from the late 1950s as well.' Herby's influence is surely as widespread as Bow Texino's.This may be because of the way the image speaks to the escapist bent that is present in everyone; Herby's icon captures perfectly the desire to simply get away for rest and relaxation. And when we consider the artist's
72 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
employment with the railroad and the grueling nature of such work,the image takes on even stronger resonance."
UNTITLED / Herby / 1980 / photographed in Bethl,nurii. Pennsylvania, 2001
sorrowful, presenting the metropolis on the horizon as a hard-to-reach destination, it is at the same time almost emancipatory in that it hints at the distances to which the traveler has gone to "escape"from that city A second, more technique-oriented facet that is interesting is the artist's use of perspective. Many times, a moniker is working logo-like in strictly two dimensions, even when it is very detailed. This unidentified artist takes the drawing and pushes it "into" the train, successfully adding that feeling of distance that the caption sums up so well. In this sense, the implied distance functions as a mirror to the actual distance the drawing has certainly traveled. Graffiti Artists While there is still a large number of graffiti artists working in spray paint, there are groups who have broken totally or at least in part with this medium. Some artists will happily work in both spray paint and chalk, while others have given up on the aerosol altogether in favor of the paint stick and chalk. In addition to these crossovers, there is a subsection
of graffiti artists who,years ago,would have been lumped in a character more than lettering—both here and in his other work.' with the rail workers. All of the pieces by Huma seem to revolve around nonThis segment of the boxcar-artist population is the most open to discussion oftheir work and the art form. No longer sensical characters doing strange things or stuck in strange is there a mystery regarding the identity of the artist or his settings (see page 74, center). But the artist never works message. Some artists even maintain websites to document in any letterforms besides a wobbly signature. Even more their latest pieces, complete with commentary The art itself interestingly, the scenes never seem to repeat; each is a onebecomes the topic of conjecture as opposed to the person time drawing. While Huma's work is always odd and always behind it, pushing the art form into a more aesthetic pursuit. entertaining, he is of the same school as Shrug—working The caption Take Five has used in the piece shown be- with a cartoony identity. Still, there is an air of uncertainty low—"Hobo Art and Graffiti Art Forever"—speaks to the as to identity and motive. Canadian artist Other has taken the art form to a higher mentality of this new generation through its conflation of the two strains. His icon is almost ubiquitous on boxcars and level by doing a great many pieces such as the one seen here gondolas, but the drawings never appear anywhere above the (page 74, right), rarely repeating the same image twice. His lowest sections of the cars. Confined to a wheelchair (he was ability to do intricately detailed and shaded chiaroscuro hit by a train as a teenager), his drawings incorporate two mo- portraits like this comes from more than seventeen years' experience with both graffiti and monikers!' Originally, tifs: a wheelchair and a railroad track Colossus of Roads—also known as Russell Butler, buZ Other was strictly an aerosol artist, painting walls and trains blurr, and Sweeney—is omnipresent in the American rail around eastern Canada; in late 1997 or early 1998, however, system,and he has crossover status,from rail worker to graf- he obtained his first paint sticks, and "spray paint started its fiti artist. For more than thirty years, his smoking cowboy decline from my system."'Large, detailed portraits such as (below, right), a derivative of the Bozo Texino icon, has this are often done in a half hour on nights illuminated by a
LONG ROAD AHEAD!artist unidentified / n.d. I photographed in Rochester, New York, 2004
HOBO ART AND GRAFFITI ART FOREVER .../ Take Five I n.d. / photographed in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 2003
long been able to claim iconic status, never requiring a signature." Captions, however, are always present and run the gamut from the absurd ("Elk Meat Move,""Cogbill Burial") to the confessional ("Borderline Dyslexic," "Persecution Complex"). By changing the captions on a daily basis, he removes the monotony from the repetitive image, keeping it fresh and interesting!' Colossus of Roads is one of the more candid artists, granting interviews and showing work in major contemporary art galleries in the United States and Europe. In interviews, he is entirely open about the meanings of and reasons for his captions, always returning to this idea of monotony and change. An artist named Shrug is heavily influenced by comics and cartoons. He quite frequently draws a sort of selfportrait, throwing in other bubbly, stylized faces, animals, or amusing figures, like the toast-bearing angel illustrated here (page 74,left). Particularly noteworthy is Shrug's letterform, the actual signature the artist has applied five times around the figure on the left. These letters are clearly in the graffiti style, but the artist consistently focuses on the rendering of
SIGHTING / Colossus of Roads! n.d. / photographt, Lehighton, Pennsylvania, 2004
full moon. Otherwise, Other does variations on a very alienlooking one-line drawing that has become a calling card of sorts.These little figures can be seen running both signed and unsigned—his recognition that a signature need not be present to identify the artist is a testament to their sheer number in the system. As with the smoking cowboy of Colossus of Roads,the icon itself has become the signature. The compendium of prolific artists representing the different factions of boxcar art illustrated on page 75 is a fine example of what can happen when pieces run for a long time. In a somewhat unintentional collaboration, Crash and The Kodak Kidd have taken it upon themselves to strategically, and respectfully, place their work next to that of The Solo Artist, who drew his moniker three years earlier, in 1997. The Solo Artist and The Kodak Kidd are graffiti artists, and Crash is a rail worker!' Moreover, each artist is working from a different location, making this not only a journey across time but across space as well. Collaborations like this are not terribly rare in the world of boxcar art. It is surprisingly common to see a car that is still in use sporting
FALL 2006 FOLK ART
a multitude of intact signatures representing different times and places. The inevitable end of all boxcar art is brought about by one of two things: paint or time. More often than not, the agent is the former: A repair shop or a graffiti artist simply paints over the image. However, it might be considered a more dignified demise to be taken by the elements.This fact of impermanence is forever present in the mind of the artist. While there is always the possibility of having a drawing run for decades—remember Herby's and Bozo Texino's backdated monikers—it is a small possibility. Time is the real driving force behind marking as many cars as possible. While many artists will claim it is only about "getting up" or fame, the realization of the inevitable is always pushing the writer on. It is a futile struggle, of course. Eventually, time will claim both art and artist, but the artist hopes to go first and leave a legacy One prolific writer, Faves, often applies a caption that best sums it up:"The rust will win." Take Five's view of the chance encounters with art in the yards and crossings revolves around this idea of synchronicity and chaos theory: There is 1411 this art, moving around chaotically, where none of the artists are in control of where it goes."'" The artists have struck a balance between
t)Ni TLED / Shrug / n.d. / photoc; Pennsylvania, 2005
from Lehigh University in 2005 and teaches in the humanities department at DeSales University. He resides in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his w.ife,Jill Tominosky, and has been documenting boxcar art in its variousformsfor nearly a decade.
Notes I Freight-train painters in the 1980s and their subway counterparts were by no means exclusive crowds; more than a few artists embraced both versions of rolling stock. For a more comprehensive history ofgraffiti on freight trains as well as information on its current state, see Roger Gastman,Darin Rowland,and Ian Sattler,Freight Train Graffiti(New York: Harry N.Abrams, 2006). 2 See Bruce C.Cooper,Riding the TranscontinentalRails: Overland Travelon the Pacific Railroad 1865-1881 (Philadelphia: Polyglot Press, 2004),p. ii; this book is one ofthe most comprehensive and interesting studies oftranscontinental rail travel in the nineteenth century. 3 Ibid., p. 18.The figure would jump to more than 200,000 by 1900,before slowly receding through the twentieth century to a little more than 150,000. 4 Andrew Hultkrans,"The Mark ofBozo," Slim 2(June 14,1996), archived on Stim (www.stim.com/Stim-x/0696June/Features/hobo/ html; accessed June 22,2005). See also Stan Richards,Hobo Signs (New York Barlenmir House,1974).
UN i; ; LLU n.d. / photographed in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 2004
being at the mercy of the train and being in control of their medium. To quote Other, "'It seems like such an obvious thing.. .. Put your name on something and see where it goes.' Whether it is the railroad employee's quest to escape the workplace, even if just for a few seconds, the modern-day hobo leaving his mark on his means of transportation, or the graffiti artist just looking to "get up," the message inherent in each is the same:"We were here."*
CATCH ME BEFORE I FALL / Other / n.d. / photographed in Philadelphia, 2004
5 Jack London,"Hoboes That Pass in the Night,"in The Road (New York Macmillan,1907). See also The Jack London Online Collection,Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center,Sonoma State University, Rohnert, Calif (http://london.sonoma.edu/ WritingsfrheRoad/hoboes.html;accessed June 22,2006). 6 Every rail worker I was able to contact said the same thing: Railroad employees create anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of boxcar art. In an e-mail dated January 27,2005,an engineer who goes by the name Goldenarm vehemently insisted that no less that 75 percent ofthe art is worker-drawn. Acknowledgments 7 RJ.McKay"Bozo Texino," Mainline Mac's Texas Railroads Home I would like to acknowledge the following for their generous page (http://www.geocities.com/lokomac8/bozo.htm;accessed June help: Gordon Beam, Anthony Bleach, Bill Daniel, Faded 22,2006).See also WhoIs Bozo 7x•ino?(2005),a documentary by Bill Glory magazine, Norman Girardot, John F. Lennon, R.J. Daniel. "Mainline Mac" McKay,John Pettegrew, Michael Poulin 8 The Internet has obviously had a massive effect on just what is and Boxcarart.com, Mick Tracicside and the Mick Trackside seen in terms of artists' work.A photo ofSmokin'Joe's 20,000th Photo Collection, and The Wooster Collective; all the artists piece was posted on a forum ofgraffiti website 12 oz Prophet past and present, and,ofcourse, my wife and family for their (http://www.12ozprophet.com; accessed June 22,2006)just a few months after the moniker was drawn. undying support in all adventures academic or otherwise. 9 Herby's real name was revealed by fellow artist Colossus of Roads on the Draw a Blank Perchance message board (http://members4. Matthew Burns was born in a once-impressivefactory town boardhost.com/boxcarart/msg/1007. html;accessed,June 22,2006). in upstate New York. He received his MA in American studies In the same discussion, a number upward of500,000 was suggested
FALL 2006 FOLK ART
as the actual total.In Bill Daniel's film Who Is Bozo Texino?,the artist denounces the myth that he has drawn more than 700,000 monikers. 10 Mick Tracicside,e-mail to the author,September 23,2004. Hearsay and rumor are significant in the boxcar art world as they help to both create and nurture the myths and mysteries surrounding the artists. 11 Since word came through the rail community in late 1995 that Herby had died, there has been a concerted effort on the part ofcontemporary writers to preserve his pieces by carefully tracing over,or "rebuilding," any desperately faded Herby they come across.This is a fine memorial and extension ofthe moniker's life but, at the same time,an obstacle in documenting the work in its original form. As with any historic preservation,it truly is a
14 See buZ blurr,"Steel Road,Evanescent Route: My Life on the Lineâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;The Railway Line. A love-hate relationship with'the railroad' and expressing it with captions/titles to a boxcar icon," in Michael Poulin,"A Colossal Interview with Colossus ofRoads," Boxcarart.com (www.geocities.com/boxcarart101/colossusinterview. html; accessed June 22,2006). 15 Other examples of Shrug characters that often repeat include a worm wiggling in the palm of a hand,a bust of a severely distressedlooking overweight man,and versions ofthe angel pictured here carrying anything from a skull to a flowerpot. 16 Other,e-mail to the author,February 1,2005. 17 Michael Poulin,"The Next Level: An Interview with Other and Broke," Boxcarart.com (www.geocities.com/boxcarart101/ thenextlevellead.html; accessed June 22,2006).
UNTITLED / The Kodak Kidd, Crash, and The Solo Artist /1997-2004 / photographed In Allentown, Pennsylvania, 2004 double-edged sword.Is it best to rebuild, or should images be left as they are and allowed to deteriorate, as testaments to the past? 12 See Duffy Littlejohn,Hopping Freight Trains in America(Los Osos, Calif.: Sand River Press, 1993),Eddy Joe Cotton,Hobo:A Young Man's Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America(New York: Harmony Books,2002),and CliffWilliams(Oats), One More Train to Ride:The Underground World ofModern American Hoboes(Bloomington:Indiana University Press,2003),among others,for in-depth discussions ofcontemporary train-hopping culture. 13 "Profile: buZ blurr,"The Wooster Collective(www woostercollective.com12003/11/23-week; accessed June 22,2006).
18 The attribution ofeach artist to different categories is based on photos I have seen in Faded Glory magazine ofeach artist at work,as well as the monikers themselves. 19 Allen Abel,"The Art ofVandalism," Saturday Night magazine (n.d.), archived on Fred's Website: Freighthopping,Hoboes,Boxcar Art(www.northbanIcfred.com/Canada.html; accessed June 22,2006). 20 Ibid.
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LIEBESBRIEF (detail) / Christian Strenge / East Petersburg, Pennsylvania / C. 1790 / watercolor and ink on cut paper / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.37 / photo by Schecter Lee
76 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
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ust as the log dwelling has long been considered a symbol of American spirit and courageâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the house that tamed the wildernessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;so,too, has the Log Cabin quilt often been seen as the archetypal American bedcover.There is even some evidence to support a North American origin for the pattern. In England,the birthplace of the quiltmaking tradition now common in the United States, this type of piecing is generally known as American (or sometimes Canadian) patchwork. Quilt historian Barbara Bracicman's statistical studies have shown that the pieced Log Cabin quilt dates from Abraham Lincoln's 1860"log cabin" campaign.The prevalence of the Log Cabin pattern for more than
145 years, however,is certainly attributable more to its versatility than to any patriotic or symbolic meanings. There are many varieties of Log Cabin quilts, almost all ofthem based on the principle of individual blocks composed onehalfoflight strips offabric and one-half of dark strips.The overall pattern of a Log Cabin quilt is determined by the way in which the separate blocks are sewed together. Often, the fabrics seen in Log Cabin quilts are mismatched scraps chosen for their color. The Log Cabin tradition is important in American textile history not only because of the great numbers of quilts made in the many variations ofthe pattern, but also because it introduced a new method of
construction that was different from both the American and English piecing techniques that were popular previously. Known as foundation patchwork,foundation piecing, or sometimes pressed piecing, the method calls for the individual pieces offabric, in this case the logs of the cabin, to be sewn to an underlying piece offabric, or foundation, as well as to each other.The foundation fabric can be either the size of an individual block, as is common for Log Cabin quilts, or the size of the entire finished quilt. After blocks constructed on foundation fabrics are joined and a backing is put on the quilt, the foundations are no longer visible. At some point in the mid- to late 1870s, a variation ofthe basic Log Cabin design known
as the Pineapple or Windmill Blades pattern became popular among American quiltmakers. In this style, the darker fabrics are usually arranged to form "pineapples" or "blades" that radiate out from central squares.The ends of all the strips are clipped at an angle to create the illusion of motion or to suggest the spiky leaves of a pineapple. Assembling this pattern is often more complex than creating the other Log Cabin designs, such as Barn Raising and Court House Steps, and requires great precision in the piecing.* Elizabeth V Warren is consulting curator oftheAmerican Folk Art Museum. Sharon L. Eisenstat is an author and has served as cocurator of several exhibitions at the museum.
Quilt and Textile Exhibitions COMPILED BY ELEANOR BERMAN San Francisco, Calif. De Young The Quilts ofGee's Bend Through Nov.26,2006 415/863-3330 vvww.thinker.org/deyoung Golden, Colo. Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Orange You Glad:The Wonderful Use of Orange in Quilts Through Oct. 21,2006 303/277-0377 www.rmqm.org Washington, D.C. The Textile Museum Pieces ofa Puzzle: Classical Persian Carpet Fragments Sept. 1, 2006-Jan. 7,2007 202/667-0441 www.textilemuseum.org
78 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
Indianapolis,Ind. Indianapolis Museum of Art The Architecture of Gee's Bend Quilts Oct. 8-Dec. 31, 2006 317/920-2660 www.ima-art.org Grinnell,Iowa Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Indigo Gives America the Blues Through Sept. 17,2006 641/269-4660 www.quiltstudy.org Paducah, Ky. Museum of the American O_Iiilter's Society Marston & Moran Through Nov. 15,2006 270/442-8856 www.quiltmuseum.org
Boston, Mass. Museum of Fine Arts Recent Acquisitions:African Printed Textiles Through Nov. 12,2006 Designing the Modern Utopia: Soviet Textiles Through Jan. 21, 2007 617/267-9300 www.mfa.org Lowell, Mass. New England Quilt Museum On the Surface: Embellished Quilts Oct. 26,2006-Jan. 7,2007 978/452-4207 www.nequiltmuseum.org Lincoln, Nebr. Great Plains Art Museum Reading,Writing,and a Rhythmic Stitch: Doll Quilts Oct. 6, 2006-March 18,2007 402/472-6549 www.quiltstudy.org
Tillamook,Ore. Latimer Quilt and Textile Center Antiques from the Latimer Collection Nov. 21,2006-Jan. 1,2007 503/842-8622 www.oregoncoast.com/ latimertextile
La Conner,Wash. La Conner Quilt Museum Color ofJapan: Old and Nei Through Sept. 17, 2006 360/466-4288 www.laconnerquilts.com Eleanor Berman is a volunteer the American Folk Art Museur
Harrisonburg, Va. Virginia Quilt Museum Log Cabin Quilts ofEvery Kind Through Oct. 2,2006 540/433-3818 www.vaquiltmuseum.org Shelburne, Vt. Shelburne Museum Art and Illusion: Kaleidoscope Quilts at Shelburne Museum Through Oct. 31,2006 802/985-3346 www.shelburnemuseum.org
LOG CABIN QUILT, WINDMILL BLADE! VARIATION Ada Hapman (Mrs. William) Kingsley (c.1859-1939) South Windsor, New York, or Athens, Pennsylvania 1880-1900 Silk 73 x 65" American Folk Art Museum, gift of Margaret CavIgga, 1985.23.6
A ak PrOt*Ilk
OUTSIDER ART WEEI4, January 22-January 28, 2007 A weeklong series of presentations, panel discussions, field trips, tours, and receptions sponsored by the American Folk Art Museum to coincide with the Outsider Art Fair.
OUTSIDER ART FAIR
BENEFIT PREVIEW Thursday, January 25, 2007 To benefit the American Folk Art Museum Puck Building, NYC
the museum at 21? 24 ext.104 or 105.
case call ioic
UNTITLED / Leonard Daley (c.1930-2006)/ Jamaica / C. 1990s / mixed media on board / 24 1/2 x 25 3/4" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Maurice C. and Patricia L. Thompson, 2003.20.11/ photo by Gavin Ashworth
CULTURE IN CONTEXT: SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
April 27 & 28, 2007 at the American Folk Art Museum A two-day symposium at the museum with internationally known scholars and an eclectic range of artists, art historians, and critics addressing issues of authenticity, intentionality, biography, place, ownership, and the nature of tradition. Organized by the American Folk Art Museum. For more information, please call the museum at 212. 265. 1040, ext. 104 or 105. MORI Detail of UNTITLED (Train) / Martin Ramirez (1895-1963)/ Auburn, California / c.1953 / crayon and pencil on pieced paper / 22 1/2 x 47" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr., 1990.1.2 / photo by Gavin Ashworth
_J 07J erninzi
80 FALL 2006
RAWVISION #55 Summer 2006
, THE WORLDS LEA,... JOURNAL Of OUTSIDER ART, ART BRUT AND CONTEMPOPAR
RAWVISION FOLK HERO Thornton Dial and the Americon Myth
New Zealand Outsider
Unlocking the Human Form
.K HERO LAST EUGENE METCALF Thornton Dial, Bill Arnett and the American Myth. Nal
BEN WILSON JULIA ELMORE London Outsider's chewing gum paintings. MARTIN RAMIREZ EDWARD GOMEZ Close up examination of a classic.
THE LITTLE CHAPEL
London Art on Chewing Gum
Close Up Examination of a Seminal Work
Guernsey Monk s Mosaic Masterpiece
JIM DORNAN CHRIS WILSON Unusual Outsider from New Zealand.
, JOSEF HOFER ELISABETH TELSNIG Unlocking the human form.
. .r: -..ISI '?(----, '43eri-4;:
LITTLE CHAPEL CELINE MUZELLE Monk's mosaic masterpiece.
OUT NOW Re-print of RAWVISION #1 ,#2,#3 in full colour
r 0t • it I 4
•SUMMER 2006 •514.00 E7.30 4 15.00
RAVI/VISION HISTORIC ARCHIVE REPRINT OF RAW VISION'S FIRST THREE ISSUES •VI
$43.00 - order at www.rawvision.com Roger Cardinal ART BRUT IN CONTEXT Willem Volkersz WHO IS YOU? Michel Thevoz AUGUSTIN LESAGE Jean-Louis Lanoux PIERRE PETIT David Maclagan FROM THE INSIDE OUT SS Bhatti NEK CHAND'S ROCK GARDEN Seymour Rosen SPACES Laurent Danchin AUTOUR DE l'ART BRUT John Maizels FRENCH SITES John Turner HOWARD FINSTER's PARADISE GARDEN Sheldon Williams SCHRODER-SONNENSTERN Roger Cardinal THE ART OF ENTRANCEMENT
Michel -Novae • GUSTIN OSAGE von-Louis Lamour LIE HID David linackgan INSIDE OUT
Johann Feilacher WHO IS 0.1? Selden Rodman HAITI & SAINT SOLIEL Laurent Dancin CHOMO Eva Syristova SCHIZOPHRENIA AND EXPRESSION Cardinol/Maizels VALERIE POTTER
CHARM'S ROCK GARDEN Revrrour Rosen ACES Renewal:iambi, IOUR DE EVERT BRUT Moinds o-NCH SUES
lohn Tumor • AVARD EINSIER's PARADISF GARDEN eldon Waning • RIRODER•SONNENSTERN Roger Cardinal ART Of ENTRANCEME ichann fei6chro IS 0 TR Real. Rodman `VI A SAINT SOUL
1='" Bruno Montpied CHARLES BILLY Nico Van Der Endt WILLEM VAN GENK Paulo Bianchi GUSTAV MESMER John Maizels BILLY MOREY David Maclagan SOLITUDE & COMMUNICATION Sam Farber PASCAL VERBENA Barbara Brockman TOP TEN USA SITES
sorieeana vOOPUREN. AND ERN :nrdinal/Nloizeis RORIE ROTIER
Ouno Wieland • IAROS BILLY Niro Van Dor Endr 'MOM VAN GM, Raub Binocti R•USTAV MEStrif R sun LtnHnV D'Y
BY EVELYN R. GURNEY
The following titles are available at the American Folk Art Museum's Book and Gift Shop at 45 West 53rd Street, New York City. To order, please call 212/265-1040. Museum members receive a 10 percent discount.(* New titles)
A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr. Harlan Lane, Beacon Press,2004,191 pages, $35 his book is a fascinating exploration of the historical and cultural context ofJohn Brewster Jr.'s painting in 44 comprehensive detail. Born deaf into a privileged household where education and interaction were highly valued, Brewster learned The Worlds to communicate through art. He of John developed a painting style based Brewster Jr. on those of the English-trained •*.1 artist Ralph Earl and Earl's protégé Joseph Steward, and his works portray members of the emerging merchant class in the new country. During his long and prolific career, Brewster helped create the dominant folk painting style of early New England.
The World of John Brewster Jr. Paul D'Ambrosio, Fenimore Art Museum,2006,64 pages, $19.95 beautifully illustrated book accompanies the traveling Brewster exhibition organized by the Fenimore Art Museum,Cooperstown, N.Y., that will open at the American Folk Art Museum on October 4, With 43 large color plates and several illuminating details, the catalog provides great insight into the portraits. For instance, Brewster painted with a special sensitivity to facial expression and gaze.This "visual advantage" is most evident in Brewster's luminous portraits of children, who may have related to the artist in a special way.
82 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
African American Vernacular Photography: Selections from the Daniel Cowin Collection, essays by Brian Wallis and Deborah Willis,International Center ofPhotography/Steidl, 2005,120 pages,$25 American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum, Stacy C. Hollander,Brooke Davis Anderson,and Gerard C.Wertkin, American Folk Art Museum/Harry N.Abrams,2001, 432 pages,$65 American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, Stacy C. Hollander, American Folk Art Museum/Harry N.Abrams,2001, 572 pages,$75 The Art of Adolf WolfIi: St. Adolf-GiantCreation, Elka Spoerri and Daniel Baumann, American Folk Art Museum/Princeton University Press,2003,112 pages, $29.95 * Blackstock's Collections: The Drawings of an Artistic Savant, Gregory L. Blackstock,Princeton Architectural Press, 2006,144 pages,$19.95
Clementine Hunter: The African House Murals,Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead,eds., Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches,2005,75 pages, $29.95 Collecting American Folk Art, Helaine Fendelman and Susan Kleckner, House of Collectibles, 2004,196 pages,$12.95
AMERICAN FOLK ART
Create and Be Recognized: Photography on the Edge,John Turner and Deborah Klochlco, Chronicle Books,2004, 156 pages,$40 Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum, Brooke Davis Anderson,American Folk Art Museum/Harry N.Abrams,2001, 128 pages,$29.95 * Designs on the Heart: The AA, Homemade Art of Grandma Moses, Karal Ann Marling, Harvard University Press,2006, 290 pages,$35
Disabled Fables: Aesop's Fables Retold and Illustrated by Artists with Developmental Disabilities, Star Bright Books, 2005,52 pages,$19.95
* Just How I Picture It in My Mind: Contemporary African
Donald Mitchell: Right Here, Right Now, Cheryl
Rivers, ed., Creative Growth Arts Center, 2005,92 pages,$24.95
American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts,Joey
Brackner and Mark M.Johnson, Montgomery Museum ofFine Arts/River City Publishing,2006, 109 pages,$29.95
Alan Fine, University ofChicago Press, 2004,342 pages,$30
The Life and Art of Jimmy Lee Sudduth,
Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of
Susan Mitchell Crawley, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in association with River City Publishing,2005,96 pages, $29.95
Forms of Tradition in Contemporary Spain,
Jo Farb Hernandez, University Press of Mississippi,2005, 256 pages,$35 * Home-Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts,
Vladimir Arlchipov, Fuel Publishing,2006, 304 pages,$32 How to Look at Outsider Art, Lyle
Gelfman Karp, Harry N.Abrams,2006, 368 pages,$60
* Just Above the Water: Florida Folk
G. Congdon and Tina Bucuvalas, University Press of Mississippi,2006, 368 pages,$65 Art, Kristin
David Moos and Michael Stanley, eds., Holzwarth Publications,2004, 78 pages,$20 Miracles of the Spirit: Folk, Art, and Stories of
Reacer, Harry N. Abrams,2005, 176 pages,$22.95 * In Flagrante Collecto (Caught in the Act of
Lonnie Holley: Do We Think Too Much? I Don't Think We Can Ever Stop,
Wisconsin, Don Krug and Ann Parker,University Press of Mississippi,2005, 336 pages,$65 Monika's Story: A Personal History of the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Collection,
NIonika Kinley, Musgrave Kinley Outsider Trust, 2005,240 pages,$32 The Perfect Game: America Looks at Baseball, Elizabeth V.
Warren,American Folk Art Museum/ Harry N.Abrams,2003, 150 pages,$29.95
* A Place in Time: The Shakers at Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Stephen Guion Williams and Gerard C.Werticin, David R. Godine,2006,96 pages, $18.95
Album, Barbara Levine, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006,200 pages,$40
Paul Arnett et al., Tinwood Books/ Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,2005,324 pages, $65
and Nancy Sweezy, University of North Carolina Press,2005, 336 pages,$39.95
Threading the Generations: A
* Quilts Sold! A Guide to Heirloom and Antique Quilts,
Dave and Kathy Prochnow,Pelican Publishing,2006,152 pages, $24.95 Real Photo Postcards: Unbelievable Images from the Collection of Harvey Tulcensky,
Mississippi Family's Quilt Legacy, Mary
Elizabeth Johnson et al., University Press of Mississippi,2005, 119 pages,$28 Tools of Her Ministry: The Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan,
Lactitia Wolff, ed., Princeton Architectural Press, 2005,192 pages,$19.95
Painter, Anthony J.
Thornton Dial in the 21st Century,
The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina, Mark Hewitt
Scottie Wilson: Peddler Turned
* Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing the
Petullo and Katherine M.Murrell,Petullo Publishing LLC,2004, 78 pages,$25 The Shipcarvers' Art: Figureheads and Cigar-Store Indians in
William A. Fagaly, American Folk Art Musetun/Rizzoli,2004, 120 pages,$35 * Windsor-Chair Making in America: From Craft Shop to
Goyne Evans, University Press of New England, 2006,508 pages, $65
Wos Up Man? Selections from the Joseph D. and Janet M.
Sessions,Princeton University Press, 2005,240 pages,$75
Shein Collection of Self-Taught Art,Joyce Henri
Silk Stocking Mats: Hooked Rugs of the Grenfell Mission,
Paula Laverty, McGill Queen's University Press,2005,192 pages, $44.95
Robinson,Penn State University Press,2005,139 pages,$34.95
Penny Rugs Andover Fabrics and the American Folk Art Museum's newestflannel collection designed by Kathy Hall.
ndover `Fabricsmakower uk. AIOr a 402. ',otni.11 I% cum' No% 1Ork, NI 10018 I .800.223.5078 www.andoverlabrics.COM %VIM.makoweruk.com
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Featuring a treasure-trove of exceptional reproductions by award-winning artisans! Everything from Windsor chairs, decorativepewter, lnp oic leuktnsspo heorems & orritgaryin aflot tairgo formal ehaarcdc-etn& esh: painted furniture, co art, hard -to accessories, p tte' antique • Will Moses, author & folk artist introduces his 7th book,"The Night Before Christmas" • Denise Allen, folk artist, presents exceptional African American folk art • Christopher Gurshin, folk artist, celebrates his 40th anniversary in business • A special salute to historic "Longfellow's Wayside Inn"
ROYAL PLAZA TRADE CENTER Marlborough, Massachusetts Rte. 20, 1 mile west of 1-495
FRIDAY, October 27,6 p.m. -10 p.m. SATURDAY, October 28, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m SUNDAY, October 29, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Admission — Friday Evening & Saturday $8. Sunday $7 ($6 with ad-Sun. only). Lunch & dinner available. Travel & Lodging — (888) 543-9500
Country Folk Art Festival "Celebrating a 23-Year Tradition ofExcellence!" 630 858-1568 • www.folkartfest.com
TilE HOOK.ED RUG
ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIORS BY SCOTT CORNELIUS ARCHITECT P.C.
Stephen T. Anderson offers the finest heirloom-quality hand-hooked rugs made in America today. Since 1985 Stephen has taken hand-hooked rug making â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one of America's only indigenous folk arts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and moved it into the forefront of modern design. Clients are offered the highest level of customization. Each rug is designed for the individual buyer. Patterns may be chosen from Stephen's extensive repertoire of designs or clients may create their own unique rug design. Each rug is prepared from wool fabrics hand-hooked into a linen base in Stephen's NYC studio. Offering the advantages of custom sizing, from the quite small to the renowned "man-
sion size," each rug possesses the nuances of coloration and textural subtleties usually found only in antiques. Self-taught as a restorer of hooked rugs, Stephen gained his first critical acclaim in 1983, when his expert craftsmanship garnered him the title of "the most respected hooked rug restorer in New York" by The New York Times. Leading designers, architects and collectors from around the world have commissioned Stephen's work. In addition to being featured in some of the worlds finest homes, his work has appeared in the pages ofArchitectural Digest, House Beautifid, House and Garden, Town and Country, Forbes FYI, The New York Times and on CNN.
s44' FOLK ART ,7OLLECTION
Representing more than 300years ofAmerican design,from the late 1600s to thepresent, the American Folk Art Museum Collection"'° brings within reach of thepublic the very best ofthepast to be enjoyed forgenerations to come.
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*Waterford Wedgwood USA Holiday Cheer! Inspired by two paintings on permanent view at the museum—Girlin Red Dress with Catand Dog, by Ammi Phillips, and Peaceable Kingdom, by Edward Hicks—Waterford Wedgwood USA has created two very special holiday collections. A
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News from Museum Licensees Share our legacy;look for new products from our family of licensees,featuring unique designs inspired by objects in the museum's collection. * Sunham Home Fashions America's Flower Garden! Floral themes have blossomed in American quilts as a testament to the beauty ofAmerica's flower gardens. Sunham,inspired by this theme,chose three exquisite and expertly crafted quilts from the museum's collection and adapted them to create a fresh look for today's lifestyle. Flower Basket and Wild Flowers both feature appliqué flowers in a joyous color palette. Wild Rose, a limited-edition textile, features a center medallion of delicately detailed and embroidered roses. Coordinating pillow shams are available for each design. Quilts and pillow shams are 100 percent cotton and are machine washable.You can find the entire collection at Macy's.
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Inspiration for Wild Rose quilt by Sunham Home Fashions: MICHEGAMEE'S WILD ROSE / Marie Sturmer / Traverse City, Michigan / 1991 / unbleached muslin with acrylic fabric paint and cotton embroidery floss /72 x 72"! American Folk Art Museum, Winner, America's Flower Garden contest at the Great American Quilt Festival 3, an American Folk Art Museum event sponsored by Fairfield Processing Corporation, Polyfilg and Springmaidg Fabrics, 1991.9.20
full array of decorative ornaments and tabletop/mantel accessories are available for both collections this fall. Dear Customer Your purchase of museumlicensed products directly benefits the exhibition and educational activities of the museum.Thank you for participating in the museum's continuing efforts to celebrate the style, craft, and tradition of American folk art. If you have any questions or comments regarding the museum reproductions program,please call 212/977-7170.
Family of Licensees Andover Fabrics (800/223-5678) printed fabric by the yard and prepackaged fabric craft kits. Bespoke Books(212/228-2772) needlepoint pattern book. Chronicle Books(800/722-6657) note cards.* Fotofolio (212/226-0923) art postcard books and boxed note cards.* FUNQuilts(708/445-1817)limited-edition quilt collection.* Galison (212/354-8840) portfolio and boxed note cards.* Impact Photographics (916/939-9333) Magic Cubes.* Liberty Umbrella (212/244-6067) umbrellas, rain totes, and rain hats. MANI-G'Raps(800/510-7277) decorative gift wrap and coordinating accessories.* Mary Myers Studio (757/481-1760) wooden nutcrackers, tree ornaments, and table toppers.* Museum Store Products(800/966-7040) magnets.* Sunham Home Fashions(212/695-1218) quilts, comforters, duvets, and sheet sets. Talcashimaya Company,Ltd.(212/350-0550) home furnishings and decorative accessories (available only in Japan). Waterford Wedgwood USA(800/223-5678) holiday decor.* *Available in the American Folk Art Museum Book and Gift Shop. Members receive a 10 percent discount on all shop items. Visit the museum's website and online store at www.follcartmuseum.org.
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The American Folk Art Museum celebrates the art of quiltmaking, with an assortment of Limited and Collector's Edition quilts exclusively at select Macy's stores and Macys.com.
Advertised items may not be available at your local M,acy's, and selections may vary by store.
BY CARA ZIMMERMAN From left: Simin Allison, trustee and benefit cochair Laura Parsons, and honoree Herbert M. Allison Jr.
SPRING BENEFIT xoticism and art reigned at the museum's annual Spring Benefit gala, held June 5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion.This year's theme,Shimmer in Chandigarh, was inspired by the museum's exhibition "Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand" and highlighted the culture ofthe artist's native India.The event proved a wonderful celebration offolk art, the museum,and the accomplishments ofthe evening's honorees, Herbert M.Allison Jr., Ralph 0.Esmetian, and Elizabeth J. McCormack. The evening began with a cocktail reception amid white and silver decorationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in honor ofthe museum's exhibition "White on White (and a little gray)"â&#x20AC;&#x201D;during which guests participated in a magnificent silent auction of more than 40 original artworks created and donated by artists for the benefit. After dinner was announced,a wall ofshimmery curtains was pulled back,revealing Indian dancers and a raaga jazz band in a ballroom of rich sari-inspired pinks,greens, and yellows. Following a warm welcome from Laura Parsons, president ofthe museum's Board of Trustees, remarks by director Maria Ann Conelli, and a delicious threecourse meal,the evening's honorees were presented with beautiful gifts on behalfofthe museum in recognition oftheir support ofthe arts and of New York's cultural life. The museum would like to thank the event's cochairs, Lucy and Mike Danziger and Laura and Richard Parsons, and corporate chair, Steven C.Parrish, of Altria, Inc., whose support made the evening a great success.The Spring Benefit was organized by Katie Hush,the museum's special events manager, and JKS Events,Inc.
88 FALL 2006
The museum thanks the following artists for their contribution of artworks to the silent Stephen Warde Anderson, Teresa Barkley, Sarah Britt, Beth Carney, Rex Clawson, Harold Crowell, Jimmy Crystal, Anthony Dominguez, Dr. Evermor, Ferg, Randy Frost, Dolores Furnari, Keith Goodhart, Belo Green, Anne Grgich, Ken Grimes, Chris Hipkiss, Mr. Imagination, Barbara Knickerbocker, Linda Carter Lefko, Charlie Lucas, Leon McCutcheon, Laura Craig McNellis, Kessiah Meroney, Buxton Midyette, Daniel Monrose, Claudia Clark Myers, Robin Oliver, Lynne Perrella, Karen Perrine, Elizabeth Poole, Mary Read, Wendy Richardson, Jeri Riggs, Kevin Sampson, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Sandra Sider, Arle Sklar-Weinstein, Rubens Teles, Nancy Toombs, Jayson Valles, Pascal Verbena, Myrtice West, Brooks Yeomans, Adrienne Yorinks, and Malcah Zeldis
Director Maria Ann Conelli and honoree Ralph 0. Esmerian
From left: Nancy Druckman, Arthur Riordan, Marvin Schwartz, and Bill
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMIE WATTS PHOTOGRAPHY
From left: Janet Ruttenberg, Edgar Cullman, and trustee and benefit cocpair Lucy C. Danziger
From left: Edgar Cullman, Cynthia Lufkin, Judy Angelo, and Dan Lufkin
From left: Robert Joffe, David Barrett,and trustee Didi Barrett ,
Trustee R. Webber Hudson,.pAtKetly Hudson
Thomas Block (left) and benefit cochair RichartParsons
From left: Helene Rosenthal, trusteeMyn Gottlieb Leavitt, and Luise Kleinberg ' ••
Benefit oc ir Mike Da Joyce B. Co n Susan Flamm and corporate chair Steven C. Parrish
Corporate chair Steven C. Parrish and Jennifer Goodale
Margot Rosenberg and John Hays •
Angela Sacks and trustee Selig D. Sacks
Cathy Michelsen (left) and trustee Nancy Mead
Lee Kogan (left) and Phyllis Kind
Bonnie Selfe and honoree Ralph O. E
Dancers from Surat' for Performing Arts
SPRING EXHIBITIONS RECEPTION useum members gathered this April to celebrate the opening of the exhibitions "White on White(and a little gray)" and "Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand." Before taking in both shows,guests gathered in the museum's Cullman/Danziger Atrium to enjoy an elegant cocktail receptionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;complete with white satin tablecloths and votive candlesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;while listening to the sounds ofa sitar and tabla, traditional Indian instruments. Senior curator Stacy C. Hollander was on hand to discuss "White on White," while Brooke Davis Anderson,director and curator ofthe museum's Contemporary Center, shared information and ideas about"Concrete Kingdom." Donors and contributors to both shows were present,including representatives from Cotton Inc. and from the National Children's Museum in Washington,D.C. Many attendees dressed for the occasion, arriving in exhibition-related attire. Hollander dressed in a white neoclassical-inspired gown in honor of her show, while Anton Rajer, who restored the museum's Nek Chand works,wore a handmade hat and vest modeled after some ofthe sculptures. In addition, many guests wore traditional Indian dress and accessories, creating a colorful and festive mood throughout the museum.
Stacy C. Hollander in "White on Whitt"
90 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
Cotton Inc. representative Shawn Steiner (left) and Katie Hush
From left: Linda Dunne and Luise and Robert Kleinberg
Folk Art designer Jeffrey Kibler and director Maria Ann Conelli From left: Katya Pearl Groscost, Dan Groscost, Billy Malone, and Nancy Groscost
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT FLYNN
From left: Marilyn Schwartz, Charlotte Frank, and Joe Schwartz
Museum members take in "Concrete King
From left: Kathy Southern, director emeritus Gerard C. Wertkin, Karen Yager, Brooke Davis Anderson, and Veronica Szalus
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Brooke Davis Anders and Kira Lynn Harris
From left: Robert Nassau, Diana Schlesver, and Sammy Nassau t.
Trustees Kristina J and Akosua Barthwe
Anton Rajer and Betty Ann Schoenfeld
Trustee Terry Rakolta (left) and Lauren Rakolta
Musicians Polash Gowns on tabla and Morshid Kahn on sitar
THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM PRESENTS
THE AMERICAN ANTIQUES SHOW JANUARY 18-21, 2007 A BENEFIT FOR THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM
Featuring 45 of the country's finest Americana and folk art dealers LOCATION Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street, NYC GALA BENEFIT PREVIEW Wednesday, January 17 For more information or to reserve tickets: email@example.com or 212. 977.7170, ext. 319.
SHOW HOURS Thursday I Noon-8 PM Friday I Noon-8 PM Saturday I Noon-8 PM Sunday I Noon-5 PM
TAAS EDUCATIONAL SERIES Reservations suggested.
CAMEO TALKS A SERIES OF LECTURES BY EXPERTS IN THE FIELD
A WALKING PREVIEW TOUR OF TAAS WITH CURATOR STACY C. HOLLANDER
Saturday, January 20 10:30-11:30 AM at the museum
Thursday, January 18 10:30 Am-noon at TAAS
FOLK ART EXPLORERS DAY TRIP
A DIALOGUE AND TOUR OF TAAS WITH CURATOR LEE KOGAN
Exploring Traditions: Art & Antiques in New York City Saturday, January 20
Friday, January 19 10:30 Am-noon at TAAS
Reservations required. Please call 212. 977. 7170, ext 328.
Friday, January 19 10:30 AM at TAAS
Daily admission $18, includes show catalog. Group rates available.
YOUNG COLLECTORS EVENING
Managed by Karen DiSaia
Friday, January 19 6-8 PM at TAAS
-.44414•• ftio09."" BEST OF AMERICA THE AMERICAN ANINUES SHOW
FOLK ART EXPLORERS HEAD SOUTH group spent the day at visionary n early May,the Folk Art artist Pearl Fryar's topiary garden. Explorers spent a week touring The Folk Art Explorers then the historic cities of Charleston, south along the South traveled low This Ga. Savannah, and S.C., country area has been a wellspring Carolina coast, visiting St. Helena Island, where the luminary selfofintensely creative self-taught taught artist Sam Doyle lived and artists over the past century and worked.In Savannah,the group a bastion oftraditional Southern toured the newly renovated Telfair crafts, art, and architecture for Museum of Art,the Ulysses even longer. Davis collection, the Humn surthe and In Charleston rounding area, highlights included Museum of Contemporary Folk Art, and the studio of artist tours ofthe Gibbes Museum of Art,the palatial Nathaniel Russell Rudolph Valentino Bostic. Folk Art Explorers trips proHouse,the expansive Europeanvide remarkable insight into the style gardens ofMiddleton Place rich variety offolk art all over the plantation, and a spectacular private collection ofcontemporary country and abroad.The museum wishes to thank all who hosted folk art. In Bishopville, S.C., the
EVENINGS OF MUSIC AND ART Elelctra Chamber Players, pianist ver the past year, the Asami Tamura,and Billy Kaye, museum has hosted a Alex Layne,Reynolds "Zeke" number ofevening musical Mullins,and Houston Person,of events that have drawn rapt the Jazz Foundation of America, audiences, and the museum's have appeared at the museum. Cullman/Danziger Atrium has The museum's evenings of proven to be an ideal performance music and art have been hosted space.The soaring ceiling and open plan allow music to echo through the galleries, while the closeness between performers and the audience creates an intimate setting.The first musical event featured flautist Patti Monson ofthe ensemble Sequitur. Since then,renowned musicians Darrett Adkins, Maria Musicians from the Jazz Foundation of America Asteriadou,Jim Baker, by trustees Frances S. Martinson, Bruno Eicher, Kurt Nildcanen, Dov Scheindlin, Ron Wasserman, Laura Parsons and her husband, Richard,and Selig D.Sacks. and Carol Wincenc,ofthe
SPECIAL PATRONS RECEPTION During the evening's remark,,, his April, more than 70 director Maria Ann Conchi guests from as far away as reminded patron members that Pittsburgh and Los Angeles attended a special Audrey Heckler (left) and Susan Happersett cocktail reception for patron members featuring curatorial tours ofthe exhibitions "White on White (and a little gray)" and "Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand." Consular Neena Malhotra,a their generosity allows the museum to continue to present exciting exhibitions and to offer many related programs and publications. For more information about the enhanced benefits of patron membership and sponsorship opportunispecial guest from the Indian ties, contact Christine Corcoran, Consulate,commended the manager ofindividual giving, museum on promoting awareness at 212/977-7170,ext. 328,or ofNek Chand,Chandigarh,and firstname.lastname@example.org. Indian culture.
Musicians from the Elektra Chamber Players
The Folk Art Explorers at Pe. I Fryar s topiary garden, in Bishopudle. South Carolina
the group during this memorable visit to South Carolina and Georgia. For information on future Folk Art Explorers
excursions, please contact Dana Clair, membership manager, at 212/977-7170,ext. 346,or email@example.com.
FALL 2006 FOLK ART
YOUNG POETS IN THE GALLERIES he education department Docents John Hood and David hosted two poetry events for Rosenberg provided tour compoNew York City students this nents for the program. spring. Creative writing students from The museum's fifth annual La Guardia High School ofthe poetry program for children was Arts in Manhattan, who had met offered in collaboration with the with Alberto Velasco, an artist Fordham Bedford Community living with AIDS,on the internaServices Program in the Bronx; tional Day With(out) Art marked New York Cares, an organizaannually on Dec. 1,reflected on tion that mobilizes volunteers; Velasco's experience and created and poets Tonya Foster and Dave poetry.In April,the students Johnson. Fifteen children gathered at the museum's Eva and attended four Saturday sesMorris Feld Gallery for a breaksions at the museum to explore fast celebration and a poetry readexhibitions and respond to the ing. Velasco and Nelson Santos, art through creative writing projfrom partner organization Visual ects and art-making activities. AIDS,joined in the festivities.
Tajae Montgomery responds to the mucp,m's exhibitions
COOL COLLABORATIONS n the spring, the museum accessibility and programs. completed a four-month pilot Participants learned skills and program with Cool Culture, a approaches they can use to not-for-profit organization that navigate any museum,with the encourages museums to waive hope that families will return on admission charges for low-income their own and eventually become families. Many eligible families lifelong museumgoers.The do not take advantage ofthis program,in which the Museum program, and so the pilot served of Modern Art and the Solomon to provide families with a R. Guggenheim Museum also personal introduction to the participate, has been proved to museum,focusing on its successfully increase visits.
94 FALL 2006 FOLK ART
COMMENCEMENT AND DOCENT AWARDS he Folk Art The Folk Art Institute's newest fellows Su-Ellyn Stern Institute (left) and Katherine Klauder commencement and docent award ceremony, held June 12,featured keynote speaker Dr. Barry R. Harwood, curator of decorative arts at the Brooklyn Museum. Harwood delivered the annual Esther Stevens Brazer Memorial Lecture, "The Furniture of George Hunzinger: Invention and Innovation in 19thCentury America," a fascinating look at the forward-thinking, production-focused furniture maker. Following Harwood's lecture, museum trustee Frances S. Martinson presented certificates to graduating Folk Schoenfeld, Edward Spiro, Art Institute fellows Katherine Rachel Strauber, and Barbara Klauder and Su-Ellyn Stern, both Wilkerson. ofwhom completed the 36-credit There are currently 45 docents program in folk art studies earlier who volunteer at the museum. this year. For information on the Future The docent award ceremony, Docents training program, please also held during this festive contact Sara Lasser, manager event, acknowledged the hard ofschool and docent programs, work and commitment of the at 212/265-1040,ext. 119,or museum's dedicated three-,five-, firstname.lastname@example.org. and ten-year docents as well as Dr. Barry R. Harwood the eleven participants in the Future Docents program who successfully completed training this year and have begun giving tours. The museum is proud to introduce the public to its newest docents: Elizabeth Beckman, Marie DeRosa,Florence Duhl, Carol Ayn Kathie, Monica Murphy,David Rosenberg, Nilopher Sahney,Betty Ann
QUILT WEEKEND FRIDAY & SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 & 7 AT THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM October 6 WORKSHOP Scrap Quilt Susie Andersen, 10 AM-4 PM
October 7 DEMONSTRATIONS Area Quilt Guilds 11 Am-4 PM
October 7 LEC URE Gee's Bend Quilts Lee Kogan, noon
October 7 TOUR Textiles on View in the Museum, 1:30 PM
For more information or to make reservations, please contact Lee Kogan, curator of public programs and special exhibitions, at 212. 265.1040, ext. 105, or email@example.com. CHARM QUILT (detail) / artist unidentified / United States / c.1880-1920 / cottons and sateens / 80 x 751/2" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Freyda Rothstein, 1998.8.5 / photo by Gavin Ashworth
SYMPOSIUM WOOD, METAL, AND STONE SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11; 9:30 Am-5:00 PM • AT THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM A daylong symposium on three-dimensional objects, with presentations on topics as diverse as carousel animals, trade figures, gravestone imagery, and weathervanes. SPEAKERS INCLUDE Allan Daniel, Nancy Druckman, Donald Fennimore, Tim Hill, Stacy C. Hollander, Allan Katz, Richard Pieper, Jeff Pressman, Cheryl Rivers, Ralph Sessions, and Murray Zimiles For more information, please contact public programs at 212. 265.1040, ext. 105, or publicprograms,a folkartmuseum.org. To purchase tickets, please call 212. 265.1040, ext. 160. Program sponsored in part by the American Folk Art Society. AM:R CAN
SEA SERPENT WEATHERVANE / artist unidentified / New England / C. 1850 / paint on wood with iron /16 1/4 x 23 1/4 x 1" / American Folk Art Museum purchase, 1981.12.13 / photo by John Parnell
REMEMBERED THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM
IN YOUR WILL?
CORPORATE PARTNERS FAMILY DAY he museum celebrated its day of activities that included a first Corporate Partners tour of the exhibition "Concrete Family Day on April 23. Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Employees of Corporate Partners Chand" and the related family members and their families art workshop Play with Clay, were invited to participate in a in which participants created decorative figures inspired by Corporate Partner families enjoying the Play Nek Chand's work. Special with Clay workshop thanks go to docents Krystyna Pitula and Rachel Strauber and to family programs coordinator Madelaine Gill, each of whom made the day a tremendous success. For information on the next Corporate Partners Family Day, please contact Lara Allen, development coordinator, at 212/977-7170,ext. 318, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the CLARION SOCIETY. Through a bequest, you can provide enduring support for the American Folk Art Museum. To make an unrestricted bequest to the museum, the following language is suggested: I give dollars/ percentage or all of the residue of my estate to the American Folk Art Museum, 45 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, for its general purposes. The bequest may be funded with cash, bonds, marketable securities, or property. The museum is a not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. The museum's CLARION SOCIETY recognizes individuals who have remembered the museum in their wills and through other planned gifts. For more information or to make a specific bequest, please contact Christine Corcoran, manager of individual giving, at 212. 977. 7170, ext. 328, or ccorcorangfolkartmuseum.org. AMERICAN
0 MUSEUM ELEPHANT WEATHERVANE (detail)/ artist unidentified / probably Bridgeport, Connecticut / late nineteenth century / paint on pine with iron / 191/2 x 481/4 x 1" / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.55 / photo ÂŠ John Bigelow Taylor, New York
RECENT DONORS TO THE COLLECTION he museum is grateful to the following friends who donated objects to the permanent collection: Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz; Eugene Andolsek; Aarne Anton/American Primitive Gallery, New York; Charles Benefiel; Bliss Carnochan; Virginia Cave; Shari Cavin and Randall Morris/Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York; Lucy and Mike Danziger; Hiroyuki Doi; Dorothy Trapper Goldman; Chris Hipkiss; Sue Hirsch; Donna and Carroll Janis; Louise and George Kaminow; Phyllis Kind/Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York;Jerry and Susan Lauren; Frances Martinson; Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand; Evelyn Meyer; Cyril I. Nelson (1927-2005); Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Nolan; Margaret Z. Robson; MAN AND SNAKE / Edgar Alexander McKillop Heather Rodin; Stuart Shepherd; Martin Thompson; (1879-1950)/ Balfour, North Carolina / n.d. / wood, glass eyes /18 10 14" / American Don Walters and Mary Benisek; Folk Art Museum, gift of Jerry and Susan and Thomas Whitehead. Lauren, 2006.5.3
George & Sue Viener Goggle Works Center for the Arts 2nd & Washington Streets Reading, PA 19601 Phone: 610-939-1737 www.outsiderfolkart com
ex Fleisher / Oilman Gallery Tennessee Limestone 5.5" x 7" x 12"
Outsider FoR Art Gallery
RUG WEEKEND he museum's 2006 Rug Weekend,featuring workshops,demonstrations,and gallery tours, took place March 10 and 11.This celebration of the contemporary rug-hooking community began with a workshop in which participants hooked the Stars and Stripes,led by Marilyn Bottjer, and continued with a workshop addressing layering and textiles with instructor Abby Valcay. The weekend also featured demonstrations from members of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont rug hookers'guilds. A highlight ofthe weekend was a viewing of the winning entries in the museum's 2005 Icons of America Rug Hooking Contest.The 15 winning rugs,chosen by a panel ofjudges from more than 60 entries, demonstrated originality, excellent craftsmanship, and a general mastery ofthe medium. Many ofthe artists,including Susan Higgins (first place winner), Elizabeth Horner(second place winner),and Pam Bartlett(third place winner), were in attendance.The winning rugs then traveled to the Shelburne Museum,in Shelbume, Vt., where they were on view in April.
Rug hookers enjoy Abby Vakay's workshop
FALL 2006 FOLK ART 97
SHOPPING BAZAAR or the semi-annual 53rd Street"Shop the Block" event in June, the museum transformed its entrance and the lobby into a colorful Indian bazaar in celebration of the exhibition "Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand." Vendors Better Living, Creative Living, Koko,and Weavetree hosted booths at the event, offering shoppers beautiful Indian pillows, bedcovers, scarves, and saris at specially discounted prices. In addition, items from the book and gift shop,including an extensive selection of books and catalogs and many exhibition-related
Eddie Availing""Lazy Maple Bacon"
400* Classic& Contemporary Folk Art
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products, were available to members for a 20 percent discount. "Shop the Block" is presented in June and November by the shops of the American Folk Art Museum,the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Arts 8c Design,and discounts to all three shops are offered to members of any one institution. For more information on the next shopping event on Nov. 2, please contact the book and gift shop at 212/265-1040,ext. 124. Although "Shop the Block" occurs just twice a year, museum members are entitled to a 10 percent discount at the shop year-round.
Save the Date! Saturday, October 7, 2006 Join us for Intuit's 15th Anniversary Benefit Gala & Special Tribute to Phyllis Kind intuit. 1 he Centel ler Intuitive anti Out,luet An 756 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60622 For more information, vist wwwartorg or call 312 243 9088
HEARTFELT GIFTS he entire museum family was moved by the announcement oftwo heartfelt gifts earlier this year from longtime members who left generous bequests in their wills.Their donations will help to ensure the continued excellence of the exhibitions and programs each ofthe donors had championed during her lifetime. The first gift was from Kathryn R.Lewis,a frequent guest on the museum's Folk Art Explorers trips, especially those focusing on the history of New York City, her adopted hometown. Lewis delighted in the discovery of miniatures,stoneware pottery, and the work ofitinerant selftaught American painters, which she displayed with pride in her Manhattan apartment. Although she was philanthropic in many areas,the American Folk Art Museum was the only museum to receive a bequest.
Berenberg Gallery Clarendon Street Boston,MA 02116
The second gift was from Elaine Jacobs, who first became interested in folk art during her frequent visits to Santa Fe,N.Mex., beginning in 1983.She developed a strong appreciation for the work ofthe Spanish woodcarving community in the region, particularly the art ofFelipe Archuleta,his son, Leroy Archuleta,and Alonzo Jiminez.Jacobs decorated her homes in Lexington,Mass.,and New York with their work,including sculptures ofseven-foot-tall giraffes, a large lion,an ostrich,and a bottle-cap snake. The museum's Clarion Society recognizes individuals who have remembered the museum in their wills and through other planned gifts.To join the Clarion Society, or to make a specific bequest, please contact Christine Corcoran, manager ofindividual giving,at 212/977-7170,ext. 328, or email@example.com.
Abdellah RatnRam,ballpoint pen drawings www.berenberggallery.com
AAP TEACHING TEACHERS wine-and-cheese reception in ver the years,the museum April to explore new exhibitions, has hosted a variety of receive free lesson plans on the forums to introduce collection, and enjoy refreshments New York City teachers to with colleagues. Each semester, the museum's collection and the museum runs sold-out to help them integrate folk art professional development into the school curriculum. courses accredited through the This year in January,40 general Department of Education. education development teachers These courses are designed to with the organization Doing provide select groups ofeducators Art Together explored current with a deep understanding of exhibitions through tours and folk art and its relevance to art-making activities, and in their students. For more March,40 social studies teachers information on the museum's from Queens investigated programs for educators, please ways in which folk art can be see page 103 or contact Sara a thrilling primary source for Lasser, manager ofschool and their students.In addition,45 docent programs, at 212/265teachers and administrators from 1040,ext. 119,or slasser@ the Department ofEducation folkartmuseum.org. joined museum educators for a
CONTEMPORARY ART FROM AFRICA
AND THE AFRICAN DIASPORA 21 HARRISON STREET OAK PARK, IL 60304 1.888.269.0693 OR 708.848.4062 WWW. RIDGEART.COM
In association with Culture Crates, Ltd., exhibitors f folk and indigenous art from around the world. SHETANIS BY GEORGE LILANGA 26.5 X 24.5, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
NMERICAN *FOLK* ART * FRAMES * MORE LEONARD DALEY (1930-2006) elebrated Jamaican painter Leonard Daley died of natural causes at his home in Kingston on March 1. Born in Point Hill, St. Catherine,Jamaica, Daley lived and worked for many years in Fiddler Hill on a hillside overlooking an orange grove. Although he began painting in 1962, no works dating to before 1979 are known to exist. Daley painted on the walls of his garage and on found objects such as boards, metal,and tarpaulins. He also carved and assembled sculptures that he placed on his hillside property. He had painted for many years before anyone became aware of his work. His complex paintings often focus on battles ofgood versus evil, and
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his animal and figural subjects helped him exorcise his own demons. Daley did not practice Rastafarianism, but his work was influenced by the religion's ideas and practices. Daley's paintings have been exhibited in London,Berlin, and New York,and have been included in several exhibitions at the National Gallery ofJamaica, in Kingston. David Boxer,the curator of the National Gallery, has written that Daley is "worthy to be ranked with the masters of Jamaican Intuitive art." In 2001, the Institute ofJamaica awarded Daley the bronze Musgrave Medal. His work is represented in the permanent collection of the American Folk Art Museum. Daley was profiled in the fall 2005 issue ofFolk Art.
ORRIS GALLERY, NEW
Folk Art Framing Specialists
MANKO AMERICAN FOLK ART
R.A. MILLER (1912-2006) euben Aaron "R.A." Miller, an artist known for his painted tin cutouts, died March 7 ofkidney disease. Born in the Rabbittown area of Gainesville, Ga.,Miller lived most of his life on a 100-acre farm where his family grew cotton, beans,and other crops. He remained at the farm,later known as Windmill Hill because of his artistic installations, until moving to a nursing home in 2004. Miller began to create art in the 1970s,when a back injury forced him to retire from his longtime job at a textile factory. Art was a strategy for healing for Miller; he was energetic and prolific, and he continued to create work into his early 90s. Whirligigs and cutouts dotted Windmill Hill, and beginning in the 1980s, he welcomed an increasing number of visitors from all over the U.S., Germany,France,and India.
Ken, Ida & Kate Manko proprietors
207.646.2595 Miller's subjects reflected his interests and beliefs. He favored animalsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;lizards and other reptiles, dinosaurs,fish, and various farm animals. A Free Will Baptist preacher, his strong religious beliefs led him also to create many sculptures ofcrosses, angels, and devils.In addition, Miller produced cutouts oficons such as Elvis Presley,the Statue of Liberty, and Abraham Lincoln. His most repeated silhouette, Blow Oskar, was based on a relative who blew his horn every time he passed the farm.
Visit us at our barn gallery in Moody, Maine by appointment, where we offer a choice selection of Americana and superb 19th-century weathervanes . . . or at our new website
mankoamericanfolkart.com PRINCETON FALL ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS SHOW to benefit the HistoricalSociety(Orbit-elm,
SEPTEMBER 29 OCTOBER 1, 2006
JOHN "DOC" WILLIAMSON (1914-2006) amaican carver John "Doc" Williamson died at his home J in Ten Miles, St. Andrew, Jamaica,on Feb. 19. He had been in poor health for years due to multiple strokes. Williamson's work was exhibited regularly in the early 1970s and was later included in the 1987 exhibition "Fifteen Intuitives," at the National Gallery ofJamaica, and in "Redemption Songs:The Self-Taught Artists ofJamaica," at Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University, N.C.,in 1997. One of his major works was a stone carving ofthe Jamaican singer Bob Marley.The Institute ofJamaica awarded Williamson
Over 40fabulous exhibitors!
SHOW HOURS SATURDAY, 10-7 SUNDAY 10-4 the silver Musgrave Medal in 2001. Williamson's robust carvings are alabaster representations of animals, mothers and children, biblical figures, and deeply spiritual"river maids"infused with African Christian symbols tied to the ideas of creation. He worked in lignum and occasionally limestone, materials available from a nearby gypsum quarry.
General Admission: $10 Gourmet Cafe ommodore IS giliarn Bainbridge Steel Engraving, HSP Collection.
Gala and show information www.princetonhistory.org 609-921-6748
LOCATION PRINCETON AIRPORT ROUTE 206 PRINCETON, NJ
Barn Star Productions Frank Gaglio,Manager www.barnstar.com
PREVIEW GALA FRIDAY, 7-10
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FOLK ART GALLERY Self-taught, visionary, and outsider artists of the South African-American quilts â&#x20AC;˘ Haitian spirit flags
Joseph Hardin (1921-1989) mixed media on matboard 20/ 1 2 x TA; 1989
nless otherwise specified, all programs are held at the American Folk Art Museum,45 West 53rd Street, New York City. Programs are open to the public. Admission fees vary; program tickets include museum admission. For more information,please call the education department at 212/265-1040,ext. 105,view the museum's website at vvvvvvfolkartmuseum.org,or pick up the museum's public programs brochure. To purchase tickets, call 212/265-1040,ext. 160.
www.cargofolkart.com Caroline Cargo 110 Darby Road Paoli, PA 19301 firstname.lastname@example.org 610-240-9528
Main Line Philadelphia By Appointment Only
QUILT WEEKEND Friday, Oct.6, and Saturday, Oct. 7 Explore what's new in the contemporary quilt world during a wonderful weekend filled with a workshop, a lecture, tours, and demonstrations by six area quilt guilds. For more information, see p. 95. SLIDE TALK John Brewster: His Life and Art Speaker: Paul D'Ambrosio Wednesday,Oct. 11; 6:30 Pm $10;$5 members,seniors, students American Sign Language interpretation will be provided. DIALOGUE A Place in Time:The Shakers ofSabbathday Lake,Maine Speakers: Gerard C.Wertkin and Stephen Guion Williams Wednesday,Oct. 18; 1:30 Pm $10;free to members,seniors, students
ALEX ANDRA HUBER new works on-line and at the gallery BEVERLY KAYE 15 LORRAINE DRIVE WOODBRIDGE, CT
artbrutcom by appointment
SLIDE TALK A DeafArtist in Early America: The Worlds ofJohn BrewsterJr. Speaker: Dr. Harlan Lane Wednesday, Nov. 15;6:30 PM $10; $5 members,seniors, students American Sign Language interpretation will beprovided.
SLIDE TALK Fashioning a Portrait Style for the New Republic: Ralph Earl and His Connecticut Contemporaries Speaker: Elizabeth Kornhauser Wednesday,Dec. 13;6:30 Pm $10; $5 members,seniors, students American Sign Language interpretation will beprovided. LET'S TALK FOLK ART Tuesdays at 12:30 Pm Speaker: Lee Kogan Location: Donnell Library Center,20 West 53rd Street Free Admission What's New at the American Folk Art Museum / Oct. 17 20th-Century Masters / Nov.21 New Contexts for Found and Recycled Objects/ Dec. 19 GALLERY TOURS Brewster's Worlds Tuesdays, Nov. 7, Dec.5; noon Speaker: Stacy C. Hollander American Sign Language interpretation will beprovidedfor the Nov. 7 tour. SYMPOSIUM Wood,Metal,and Stone Saturday, Nov. 11 9:30 AM-5:00 PM $130;$115 members,seniors, students Includes lunch,reception, and museum admission. For more information,see p. 95.
FAMILY PROGRAMS Sign-a-Song Instructors: Andrea Fixell and Ted Stafford 6 sessions,Thursdays Oct. 12, 19,26; Nov. 2,9,16 11 Am—noon $125 for six sessions Free demonstration: Oct.5 For more information or to make a reservation, call 718. 832. 8060, or visit www.sign-a-song.corn. American Sign Language is introduced to babies, toddlers, and their caregivers through songs and stories. Ages 3 months to 3 years. FAMILY ART WORKSHOPS Sundays,2-4 PM Coordinator: Madelaine Gill $10 per family; $5 per member family Lookin'Good / Oct.8 Make It Move / Oct.22 Let's Face It / Nov.5 My Peaceable Kingdom! Nov. 19 Quilt Quest!Dec.3 Holiday Decorated Boxes / Dec. 17 ADULT AND SCHOOL GROUP TOURS Tuesdays—Saturdays Adult group tours can be tailored to specific interests and address works on view in the museum's current exhibitions.Thematic school group tours, such as "Animals Are Everywhere" and "Investigating Primary Sources," meet DOE standards and meaningfully connect to school curricula. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact the education department at 212/265-1040, ext. 381,or grouptours@ folkartmuseum.org.
EDUCATORS WORKSHOPS Thursday, Oct.5 Free; reservations required Educators are invited to join the museum's education department for free lesson plans, tours of new exhibitions, and refreshments with colleagues.To participate in the upcoming event, please contact the education department at 212/265-1040, ext. 119,or grouptours@ folkartmuseum.org. Major supportfor education is provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundations and the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund. Evening events at the museum are made possible through the generous support ofNancy and Dana Mead. Family art workshops are sponsored by D!Arcy and Dana G. MeadJr. and Susan and Mark C. Mead. Camp programs in 2006 are madepossible in part through the generous support ofDenise and Sam De Rosa-Farag. Afternoon Programs are madepossible in part through the generous support of Su-Ellyn Stern. Additional fundingfor education isprovided by Ray Simon in honor ofLinda Simon, Citigroup, Consolidated Edison Company, and the New York Times Company Foundation. The museum is grateful to thefollowing government agenciesfor their support ofthe museum's educational activities: New York City Department of CulturalAffairs, New York City Department ofEducation, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, New York City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts.
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104 FALL 2006
11 100 21 84 29 27 23 100 101 99 102 4 84 3 28 27 6-7 104 33 35 8 14 98 33 Back Cover 13
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20 23 17 101 28 103 Inside Back Cover 1 97 16 5 81 Inside Front Cover 99 102 37 19 24,25 85 87 103 2 77 98
THE WILLIAM GUTHMAN COLLECTION OF AMERICANA October 12, 2006
-\ N;Theast uctions and • International ins & Butterfields , at the Frank Jones cent4; Portsmouth NH .
NORTHEAST AUCTIONS by RONALD BOURGEAULT. LLC 93 Pleasant Street Portsmouth, NH 03801 603.433.8400 www.northeastauctions.com NH license # 2109 Buyer's Premium
Ail JACKIE RADWIN
Very early hooked rug with great presence. Circa 1850. Hooked on hand-woven burlap. Mounted for hanging. 49" x 51".
By appointment • San Antonio, Texas •(210) 824-7711 Visit us at our website •www.jackieradwin.com