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, Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Inside is their collection of old wood carvings from the 18th century and earlier (but no photos allowed!). Outside the house is covered with carvings, some placed after the ladies lived there and 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.
The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside by Ryann Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a clever concept, with great photos and beautiful landscapes for a wonderful book. Highway rest areas are, for the later part of the 20th Century, what diners and motels were for the middle of it. They are (and were) easy to take for granted until they start disappearing — which is what Ryann Ford noticed and led her to this project. Getting nostalgic about rest areas takes some getting used to, but the ways she frames them in the landscape makes them just as evocative of their era as the Route 66 sites are of theirs. Some of these are as prosaic as can be, but that doesn’t diminish their aesthetic impact. And some are really quite interesting as object.
Note that a fine companion to this book book is Christopher Herwig’s Soviet Bus Stops.
View all my reviews
A second installment from my backlog of interestingly named businesses. More bizarre bazaars to come soon. And 500 other greats names at the main Bizarre Bazaars hall of fame.
Go to Bizarre Bazaars main page for 500-plus great names.