A look past Chicago’s outsider art canon to anonymous & lesser-known artists, the collectors who found their work, and Maxwell Street, where many learned how
Frank’s West Side Auto Parts, at Kedzie Avenue and 30th Street, is an art gallery unto itself. Plus, there are other great signs in its vicinity, including more auto parts art and other examples of vernacular creativity.
Jim Shaw: The Hidden World, edited by Marc-Olivier Wahler. Koenig Books, London, 512 pages, 2014. ISBN: 978-3863355845. Hardcover. Jim Shaw’s collection of religious, political and cultural ephemera, published in 2014 as an exhibition catalog, makes for a great book, especially if your collecting interests align with Shaw’s, as mine not coincidentally do.
Denver streets were lined with some real beauties when these pictures of roadside art were taken earlier in the decade. Also two nice places from Colorado Springs. Whether in muffler men or murals, vernacular creativity abounds.
The Mukwa Motel/Farmers Retirement Home is a vernacular art environment on Wisconsin Highway 54 west of New London. It’s on the northern edge of the Mukwa State Wildlife Area and was photographed before 1995. An artful bit of rural humor built by farmer John Kraske shortly before his retirement. According to the Post-Crescent newspaper, he […]
Father Paul Dobberstein’s Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa, is on the way to nowhere, but the right way to go: It’s one of the most spectacular places in the world. Dobberstein was a parish priest with a vision, and the decades he spent fulfilling that vision paid off. For that we should […]
Another Iowa vernacular masterpiece built by Father Paul Dobberstein, creator of the Grotto of the Redemption. Dobberstein was commissioned to built this memorial, officially called the Liberty Fountain, in honor of Fay Hessian, a young girl who died from tuberculosis in 1912. The fountain was dedicated in 1918 and restored in 2011. It sits in […]
If Paul Dobberstein’s Grotto of the Redemption is out of the way, his War Memorial is nearly inaccessible. You have to follow gravel roads to what used to be the site of a town called Rolfe to find this modest structure sitting in the middle of a small grassy field. Back to the Grotto of […]
In an out-of-the-way cemetery in Wesley, Iowa, you can find Father Paul Dobberstein’s Crucifixion Group, a mini-grotto unto itself. It’s another example of the decorative impulse filling every available space with something that looks cool. And like the big grotto a few towns away, it provides an effective setting for the underlying religious message. Back […]
Hyperart: Thomasson, by Akasegawa Genpei. Kaya Press, 416 pages, 2010. ISBN: 978-1885030467. Paperback, $17.95. Why did it take me half a dozen years to discover this life-changing book, introducing a concept that fundamentally enriches my relationship to the built environment? The idea is the Thomasson, proposed as a form of “hyperart.”