Llangollen’s Carved Wonderland

Wales’ Plas Newydd was the seat of the famous Ladies of Llangollen. Inside is their collection of wood carvings from the 18th century and earlier (but no photos allowed!). Outside the house is covered with carvings that appear to be of similar vintage, though they were placed there after the ladies’ time and are coated […]

Bizarre Bazaars: Yet More Crazy Store Names

One more installment (for now) from my backlog of crazy store names. Find more than 500 other great names at the main Bizarre Bazaars hall of fame. Also: The Angry Chair hair salon, Newington, Connecticut Babies and Brats, Pawling, NY Bad Design, Switzerland Cafe Bong, Clark Street Card ‘N All, Closter, NJ Dead People’s Things, […]

Out of the Way Folk Art Fence

This pique assiette folk-art fence in Chicago’s wonderful Bowmanville neighborhood appears to date to 1973. It fronts a nondescript house on a nondescript, low-traffic street. Very few people driving by on the nearest thoroughfare are likely to recognize that they just passed an important folk-art site.

Living the Skeptical Life

Dingbat Question Mark

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. — Bertrand Russell That uncertainty is an unyielding fact of existence is hardly controversial. It’s in the wisdom of the ages, after all — we’re here today, gone the next, who […]

Reviews: Unpacking Dubuffet’s Legacy

From Art Brut to Art without Boundaries: A Century of Fascination through the Eyes of Hans Prinzhorn, Jean Dubuffet and Harald Szeemann, by Carine Fol. Skira, Milan, 192 pages, 80 color illustrations, 2015. ISBN: 978-8-8572-2748-1. Paperback, $45 Art Brut in America: The Incursion of Jean Dubuffet, by Valérie Rousseau with a foreword by Anne-Imelda Radice and […]

Lakeside Carvings Uncovered

Ten years of lakeshore projects in Chicago have destroyed scores of vernacular stone carvings, but the most recent project has uncovered some fantastic examples. These are installed on the stretch of new lakeshore at Fullerton Avenue. (See my collection of more than a hundred other lakeshore carvings here.) For those who follow such things, a […]