California Crazy and Beyond: Roadside Vernacular Architecture by Jim Heimann My rating: 5 of 5 stars 1980’s California Crazy was one of the early gospels for roadside art enthusiasts, documenting dozens of the state’s wonderful theme buildings of the early 20th century, from giant donuts to miniature sphinxes. Author Jim Heimann updated the book in […]
Joe Wiser’s Bottle Cap Inn in Miami was featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but more importantly it was a triumph of an obsessive personal vision. Fortunately, many interior views were preserved in a series of postcards and press photos. The bar was created in the 1930s by Joe Wiser, said to be a […]
Among the most stunning features of Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia, are its sidewalks. Some bear representational images of buildings, others are abstract aggregations of potsherds. Some bear text messages, others are virtual encyclopedias of Finster’s tools. These mosaic ribbons threading through the garden are a potent representation of how his creativity found expression in every aspect […]
Pasaquan, one of the world’s great art sites, lies tucked away in rural west central Georgia, near the little town of Buena Vista. Pasquan was the creation of Eddie Owens Martin, a local boy who went away to live the low life in New York City (by his own account), but came back and created […]
A brief swing through Milwaukee is enough to turn up some fine examples of roadside art.
“John Baeder’s Road Well Taken,” by Jay Williams, Vendome Press, 272 pages, 300 color and b&w illustrations, 2015. 978-0865653191. Hard cover $45 John Baeder is legendary among roadside architecture enthusiasts for Diners,” his book of photorealistic diner paintings that turned out to be one of the most culturally influential publications of the 1970s. Baeder, the […]
Abstraction occurs all over. Can you guess where these abstract images are from? Click on the individual images below this group to find out.
Chicago’s Southeast Side easily looks like a wasteland to drivers taking the Chicago Skyway as the shortest, though most expensive, path to get from the city to Michigan. But of course there are glimpses of a more interesting reality. The most obvious are the dramatic railroad bridges you see as you cross the Calumet River […]
Camilo Jose Vergara brings a fine photographic eye, a sociologist’s curiosity and expertise, and tremendous commitment to his explorations of cities, their decay and their resilience. This study of Harlem is most enlightening.
Chicago is home to the greatest collection of outdoor stone carvings in urban America. Generations of beach-going carvers whiling away the hours left their marks on huge limestone blocks installed during the Depression to improve and protect the city’s park-lined lakefront. Many of these anonymous carvings have been destroyed as part of more recent anti-erosion projects. […]