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 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.
Visit the Gallery
Some highlights from the October 16, 2016, Open House Chicago.
Carl Schurz High School is one of Chicago’s most beautiful school buildings and was included on the 2016 Open House Chicago tour.
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 with heavy black paint. It’s a spectacular home in a spectacular setting. Plus, the story of the ladies themselves is fascinating — Anglo-Irish gentry who eloped twice (they were caught both times but only forced apart the first) and settled together in the Welsh countryside, where they lived a long and evidently happy life and hosted many prominent guests.
The painter of this sign for the Kebab Centre, Camden Passage, London, was not concerned with rendering a realistic gyros but rather embellishing it with grillwork-style details. Unique among the 500-plus images in The Gyros Project.
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.
- 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, Denver, Colorado
- Heal N Cure, Northbrook, Illinois
- Here We Grow garden supplies, Hadley, Mass.
- Last Resort RV Park and Campground, Nashville, Indiana
- No Pork, Brooklyn, NY
- Stuff-It Storage, Hadley, Mass.
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.