Anchored by the fast-food spectacular at Shelly’s Freez, Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue from Irving Park Road north is a treasure trove of fine art and architecture.
Charlevoix, Michigan, developer Earl Young’s constructions showed a personal vision almost from the first house he built, starting in 1918, but fortunately the vision had several decades in which to fully flower. Even without their wacky appearance, the “mushroom houses” he went on to plant in Charlevoix would be interesting as examples of progressive residential architecture ahead of the post-war building boom. But their oddity makes them a unique case of one man successfully expressing a highly idiosyncratic vision across a whole swath of city. Continue reading
A recent visit to the Souls Grown Deep/Bill Arnett art warehouse in Atlanta was even more mind boggling than reports had led me to expect. The space was bigger and the profusion of work more out of control. A modest selection was more or less set out for easy viewing, but that represented only a fraction of the collection. There were boxes and racks and cases and cartons of work spread around two massive rooms, corrals of sculpture, stacks of drawings, piles of books — just what you’d expect from a collecting mission that has outrun any efforts to organize it. Continue reading
At Intuit through Jan. 8, 2017 — Cross Purposes: Cross and Snowflake Sculptures by Stanley Szwarc, curated by Rich Bowen and William Swislow.
Stanley Szwarc, a Polish book keeper turned metal worker and then artist after arriving in the United States, gave no indication of being particularly religious, but in his world crosses were powerful. Continue reading
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 of the environment around him. Continue reading
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 masterpiece.
That Martin was a bit of a crackpot is hard to deny. A fortune-telling ex-street-hustler, he created a personal religion, enshrined himself as a saint and turned his family farm into a holy place. The strength of his vision is so great, though, as to make his spirituality not only palpable in bricks and paint, but even credible. The details of that implausibly compelling spirituality, as well as Martin’s unruly life history, are more than can be described here. For that, read “St. Eom in the Land of Pasaquan” by Tom Patterson, The Jargon Society, 1987, with a new edition reportedly on the way. But you can sense the creative force of St. Eom’s weirdness in the walls and fences that he weaved through his world.
See Pasaquan Side By Side: 1990 vs. 2016
Compare post-preservation Pasaquan with conditions 25 years ago
See Pasaquan In Detail
Take a visual stroll through the fabulously decorated walls and buildings
Help keep this environment healthy by joining the Friends of Pasaquan under the auspices of Columbus State University, which is the owner and steward of Pasaquan.
My original Pasaquan pages are archived here.
Salt and pepper shakers pack concentrated meanings into tiny packages — miniature appliances, little foods, dwarf monuments, pint-size people, tiny bits of abstraction. They can be elegant or kitschy, modern or backward looking, but at best they resonate in a myriad of ways.