Monday, June 4, 2007

the state of outsider art

quilts made by the women of Gees Bend, as depicted on US stamps

There is a particular acceptance of folk art in the US which I think is incredibly important.. America seems to define itself, at least in part, by its eccentric roadside attractions and regional crafts.

I've recently noticed articles about small, traditional crafting communities like the quilters of Gee's Bend popping up in publications (albeit feminist, pro-craft publications) aimed at young urban women. I'm happy there seems to be no stopping the resurgent craft movement, but it sometime seems folk art of an eccentric nature is overlooked in favor of that rooted in traditional making.

The recent closure of Baltimore's American Dime Museum could be a warning we are in danger of losing important repositories of offbeat Americana. At least there is still the exceptional American Visionary Art Museum, so all is not lost yet.

Over and out.


Gary Smith said...

When in Oklahoma, a friend took an entire vacation travelling to just raodside stuff. He and family really enjoyed it. As we speed throught this life, we have a tendency to use the motorway vs. the back roads because the destination seems more important than the journey. My wife has taught me to slow down and see the flowers as well as the mountains. Thje creative spirit will always give us new things to look at. What is rued is the loss of the old.

Joel Stewart said...

"The simple truth known to the brokenhearted, the mystic, and the physicist: what we think solid is not."


And only slightly relatedly, Dan Wood is a cousin, of sorts. He lives on the house on a rock sometimes.

brie aku sefakor said...

I had to pluck around for a while remembering what exactly I was searching for. seven minutes googling keywords like "needle art" and "california oddities" and I finally found it:

I was simply looking for the micromineatures... How ridiculous. The Museum of Jurassic Technologies might just be a reason (other than Disneyland) to hit LA! Decaying die! Soviet Space Dogs and West African stink ants! A botanical clock and funeral bees.

Damn the pond. When will teleporting or WonkaVision be available to the public?

Crista Noel Smith said...

I'm having my WonkaVision module installed on Friday.. see you this weekend!