Spontaneous Creation

Home-Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts, by Vladimir Arkhipov, Fuel Publishing, 304 pages, 180 color pictures, 2006. ISBN 0-9550061-3-9 Folk Archive: Contemporary Popular Art from the UK, by Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane, Book Works, 158 pages, 2005. ISBN 1 870699-81-5 Two recent books from abroad attempt to document the spontaneous art making of ordinary people, […]

Getting Religion on Its Own Terms

Coming Home! Self-Taught Artists, the Bible and the American South, edited by Carol Crown, with essays by Paul Harvey, Erika Doss, Hal Fulmer, Babatunde Lawal, Charles Reagan Wilson and N.J. Girardot, Art Museum of the University of Memphis with the University of Mississippi Press, 215 pages, 122 color plates, other color and b&w illustrations, 2004. ISBN 1-57806-659-X

Stereotypes have two inherent flaws: They often state the obvious and, when too generally applied, they become false. But they also are inescapable because, in the proper context, they are true.

Carol Crown’s exhibition and catalog, Coming Home! Self-Taught Artists, the Bible and the American South, can’t help but draw on Bible Belt stereotypes because they reflect a big slice of Southern reality. There is a lot more substance here than in many folk art theme shows, since the Bible really is the force behind a great deal of self-taught art.

Book Review
Authentic Heaven: The Vernacular Art of Urban Spirituality

How the Other Half Worships, by Camilo Jose Vergara, Rutgers University Press, 286 pages, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8135-3682-8 How The Other Half Worships celebrates one of the great engines of true vernacular expression – religion. The subject is inner-city churches, with an emphasis on the storefront variety. Camilo Jose Vergara has spent years visiting and photographing […]