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I know it when I see it.

Think You Know Ugly? Think Again
You might feel revolted by an object, but if you try to objectively explain why it is ugly, it’s harder than you think. Most people are influenced by the dominant tastes and fashion sensibilities of their generation, class, and ethnic group, and when you remove those factors from the equation, an exact, universal definition of “ugliness” becomes almost impossible to pin down.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 21, 2014 - 61 comments

 

God Is Love

Out in a forgotten, dusty corner of Southern California, just east of the Salton Sea, Leonard Knight let his love and devotion to the Lord inspire a Technicolor vision on the desert floor. His creation came to be known as Salvation Mountain. On Monday, Leonard Knight passed away at the age of 82. [more inside]
posted by 2N2222 on Feb 11, 2014 - 21 comments

Tinkertown, on the far side of the mountain from Albuquerque

It may take months for this odyssey of a place to completely sink in: quirky and utterly fascinating, Tinkertown Museum contains a world of miniature carved-wood characters. The museum's late founder, Ross Ward, spent more than 40 years carving and collecting the hundreds of figures that populate this cheerfully bizarre museum, including an animated miniature Western village, a Boot Hill cemetery, and a 1940s circus exhibit. Ragtime piano music, a 40-foot sailboat (that traveled around the world for a decade), and a life-size general store are other highlights. The walls surrounding this 22-room museum have been fashioned out of more than 50,000 glass bottles pressed into cement. This homage to folk art, found art, and eccentric kitsch tends to strike a chord with people of all ages. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 5, 2013 - 12 comments

ex voto suscepto

Suspended in Void - a lovely collection of Italian ex votos depicting people who survived falls under the watchful eye of the Virgin Mary. Previously: a larger collection of ex votos from various cultures. (Via Heading East)
posted by madamjujujive on May 14, 2013 - 9 comments

Abalone submarine detectors

The Kitchen Brothers were, perhaps, ahead of their time. [more inside]
posted by overleaf on Apr 30, 2013 - 2 comments

shell games

Steve Casino, painter of nuts. The back story. (via Incredible Things)
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 21, 2013 - 6 comments

The Answer My Friend

Whirligigs are whimsical, wind-driven expressions of American folk art that first appeared in this country nearly 200 years ago. Traditional designs depict common characters and activities of early American rural life, from farmers milking cows to lumbermen chopping wood. Here are some highlights of the ninth annual Whirligig & Weathervane Festival in Shelburne Nova Scotia, September 2008. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Oct 24, 2012 - 9 comments

"The only real depression is a depression of individual ingenuity" George Daynor's Palace of Depression

"As the story goes, [George] Daynor was a former gold prospector who’d lost his fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929. Hitchhiking through Alaska, he was visited by an angel who told him to make his way to New Jersey without further delay. Divine providence had dictated that Daynor was to wait out the Great Depression there, building a castle with his bare hands. Daynor had only four dollars in his pocket when he arrived in Vineland, NJ.... For years he slept in an abandoned car on the mosquito-infested property, living off a steady diet of frogs, fish and squirrels while he built his elaborate eighteen-spired, pastel-hued Palace of Depression out of auto parts and mud. His primary objective? To encourage his downtrodden countrymen to hold onto their hope and stay resourceful, no matter what." [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 14, 2012 - 20 comments

Iconic souvenir, Kokeshi dolls from Japan

Kokeshi Dolls originated in North-East Japan as wooden toys for children. They began being produced towards the end of the Edo period (1603~1868) by woodwork artisans, called Kiji-shi, who normally made bowls, trays and other tableware by using a lathe. They began to make small dolls in the winter to sell to visitors who came to bathe in the many hot springs near their villages, which was believed to be a cure for the demands of a strenuous agricultural lifestyle. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 19, 2011 - 20 comments

A museum's descent into financial trouble.

The American Folk Art Museum in New York City is said to be considering dissolution and dispersal of its outstanding collection of folk and outsider art.
posted by xowie on Sep 19, 2011 - 25 comments

Dick & Jane's Spot: a Story of Love & Art

They created a home together that catches the eye, and their story of love and art is even more captivating, despite tragedy and loss.
posted by batmonkey on Apr 17, 2011 - 7 comments

In living color

Taichung’s Rainbow Family Village - this formerly drab neighborhood was whimsically transformed by 86-year-old veteran Huang Yung-fu's colorful artwork, becoming a minor tourist attraction and a popular location for photo shoots. And while most Taiwanese military dependent villages are scheduled for demolition, an online campaign won a promise by the city's mayor to preserve the painted village.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 4, 2010 - 6 comments

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, baker, painter

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein was born in Wisconsin on July 31, 1910. He lived in a small house in Milwaukee with his wife Marie, and he worked in a bakery. Between 1954 and 1963 he used his fingers, combs, quills and bakery tools to create hundreds of explosively colorful semi-abstract landscapes that evoke primordial soup biology, Lovecraftian horror, scifi weirdness and hellish alien beauty ('Full-Screen View' and its zoomable interface increase the pleasure dramatically). The 12 galleries of paintings at his memorial site are all available for free hi-res download, you can hear him talking about drugs, brain chemistry and visions at the 'Listen' link, and there's currently an exhibit honoring the centennial of his birth at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
posted by mediareport on Aug 25, 2010 - 24 comments

Super Bowl Weekend of the Auto Art World

Art Car Weekend is just days away! Worth a trip to Houston. I am happy to see the Art Car Ball, a combination of concert, block party, art exhibit, and performance art venue, return to the lineup. If you view the parade from the north side of the parkway in Elanor Tinsley Park, you get to see all your favorite cars twice!
posted by cross_impact on May 3, 2010 - 12 comments

Superfabulous Dingulators

Charlie Nothing made guitars--
Dingulators--from American cars.
He'd play them and sing a song about wars or higher powers,
or how to keep from spending time behind bars.
His something-side wrote, and helped bees with the flowers.
Good-bye, Charlie Nothing, wherever you are.
posted by not_on_display on Feb 8, 2010 - 5 comments

No hammer shall ring out its joyful song today.

Renowned blacksmith, Phillip Simmons, of Charleston, SC has died at age 98. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jun 24, 2009 - 16 comments

Art is everywhere

Mingei is a transcultural word which combines the Japanese words for all people (Min) and art (Gei). The site has a flash interface and features over 5,000 high resolution, zoomable objects. More information on the Mingei Movement.
posted by tellurian on Jan 27, 2009 - 13 comments

Alebrijes

Alebrijes, first created by Pedro Linares, are brightly-colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures. [more inside]
posted by dhruva on Nov 15, 2008 - 7 comments

Roadside vernacular

The phenomenon of homemade roadside signage for Obama is not much in evidence on the other side. See also Obama signage and other art at The Obama Art Report, and many individual homemade Obama signs. Neither campaign is, shall we say, overly happy with renegade signage, however.
posted by beagle on Oct 30, 2008 - 40 comments

Fowler Museum of Cultural History

The UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History has an extensive, searchable online collection. It focuse on material art and household items and has objects from all over the world. The website can be browsed either by geographic orgin: Africa, Asia, North and Central America, Pacific, South America, or through its two exhibits, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives and Fowler in Focus. Some of my favorite objects (but really, everything is entrancing) are The Blind Scholar (a Taiwanese handpuppet), Chikunga (a Zambian mask) and a stirrup spout bottle which looks like a puma eating a piglet (Peruvian). All items have accompanying descriptions and some have short texts or audioguides with further information.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 23, 2008 - 3 comments

"It doesn't really seem that long ago."

Home Movies. A 1975 documentary by a young academic folklorist, exploring what it was that people were doing when they made home movies: remembering selectively, creating a "golden age." [more inside]
posted by Miko on Jul 21, 2008 - 20 comments

Recycling Bowling Balls

Beyond the Lanes is a website devoted to using old bowling balls for art. Paul Livert is an artist who likes to add metal to old bowling balls. Giant Rosaries made of bowling balls. Bowling balls can be used to demonstrate scientific principles, as in this huge Newton’s Cradle. Nowata, Oklahoma boasts a bowling ball fence. Bowling balls also make useful cannon balls, as well as durable dog toys. (YouTube)
posted by Tube on Apr 4, 2008 - 14 comments

Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal

Papa Palmérino Sorgente, the Pope of Montréal [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Feb 28, 2008 - 8 comments

Secret Military Patches

I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me is a new book by author and interesting person Trevor Paglen. He collects patches designed by military personnel to commemorate secret "black-ops" projects.
posted by Miko on Feb 7, 2008 - 34 comments

Loyalist and Nationalist Murals in Ulster

Photogalleries of Loyalist (UFF, UVF) and Nationalist (IRA) murals in Northern Ireland. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on Jan 14, 2008 - 43 comments

it wouldn't be make believe if you believed in me

It's only a paper moon - a charming vintage photo collection. (via recogedor)
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 21, 2007 - 31 comments

You Can't Hoot Without One

If it's the 3rd Saturday in June, it must be time for the National Hollerin Contest in Spivey's Corner, NC. Ever since the contest's earliest days, it tends to make the media's ears perk up. Hear and watch the many kinds of hollers, see last year's winner or buy a CD (featuring hollerin' legend O.B. Jackson.) Pr"eef"iously.
posted by DonnieSticks on Jun 15, 2007 - 9 comments

folk art

Recycled folk art, Mayólica pottery and other exhibitions at the Museum of International Folk Art.
posted by dhruva on May 27, 2007 - 11 comments

A man named Pearl

Pearl Fryar just wanted to win Yard of the Month back in 1984. Today his Bishopville, SC garden may be the most original example of outsider art in Southeastern America, and a tourist destination in it's own right.
posted by 1f2frfbf on May 16, 2007 - 22 comments

Folk Art of North Carolina

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University has a great collection of folk arts. The strongest section is in ceramics, with stupendous representation from the NC wood-fired, salt and alkaline glazed traditions. There's this 1868 Hartsoe Alkaline glazed jug, this 19th cent. jug with kild-drip, this Hancock Half-Gallon jug, this Randolph Cty salt-glazed jug with ashy shoulder, and then the moderns: Burlon Craig, Vernon Owen, Mark Hewitt. There are also great photographs, weird furniture, outsider critters, and more. There isn't a good browse function, so you need some idea of what you want to search for.
posted by OmieWise on Mar 15, 2007 - 9 comments

Modernising traditional motifs - and a mystery for militaria buffs …

Rugs of War :: "The traditional knotted rugs made by the semi-nomadic Baluch people of northern Afghanistan are famous for their distinctive designs, their rich yet subdued palette and the quality of their construction and materials, which feature traditional patterns and motifs. The “war rug” is an evolution of these Baluch rugs through the inclusion of militaria and other references to the experience of war and conflict in the region. These significant changes became apparent almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when rug-makers began incorporating complex imagery of war planes, helicopters, machine guns, maps and texts into their designs."
posted by anastasiav on Jan 8, 2007 - 9 comments

Enough With The Pickles Already, Chewbacca

Andrey Kuznetsov makes delightful lubki (sing. lubok), a form of Russian folk art, out of some well-known modern movies. Some information (in English) about the medium and its origins with many examples can be seen here (warning: Java). Shamelessly ganked from AskMe. Thanks jonson!
posted by Gator on Jul 5, 2006 - 15 comments

The Curtain Rises on Vermont

Vermont's Painted Theatre Curtains were made between 1880 and 1940 and are on display thanks in part to The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance and a grant from the NEA. [more inside]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Jun 25, 2006 - 9 comments

fantastic folk monsters of Japan

The Obakemono Project - a Gaijin's guide to the fantastic folk monsters of Japan. (via oink)
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 3, 2006 - 27 comments

"remember me boys while I'm gone"

Take a back-road south of Palmyra, Tennessee, and you'll stumble across the remains of E. T. Wickham's concrete statues, worn by time and broken by vandals. Since being documented online by chroniclers of outsider art, they've found a new set of admirers. A 2001 photography exhibit showed off their former glory; family members now hope to preserve what's left. To learn something of their creator, read the personal tribute by Wickham's grandson.
posted by holgate on Dec 29, 2005 - 4 comments

Will you buy any tape?

Czech and Armenian lacework [big PDFs]. From an amazing Digital Archive of books about lace, weaving, and textiles.
posted by Wolfdog on May 22, 2005 - 3 comments

Riding the rails: hopper tales and boxcar art

A dictionary of old hobo slang might be a handy tool to bring along when traveling through North Bank Fred's colorful stories, photos, and chalkings of today's hobo jungles.
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 2, 2005 - 16 comments

Masonic Art

Dilletante Press offers a gallery of Masonic Art. The even-handed introduction lacks the sensationalism that ususally accompanies outsiders' presentations of things Masonic, leaving the viewer free to see the art for what it is, and not for what it represents. The images of mortality are great. It's good to see this stuff presented in a serious light. Of course, it's also good kitsch to find stuff like Masonic party supplies (sugar molds?!?) and trucker hats. And don't miss the 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439
posted by tomharpel on Nov 29, 2004 - 35 comments

An imaginary record collection

An imaginary record collection. Okay, so I hit the flea market last Thursday in the freezing cold and came upon this dope soundtrack collection - Melinda, Sweetback's Badass Song, The Marketts Play Batman, Mannix, More Mission Impossbile, etc.., when I came upon this box of... fake records!!
posted by soundofsuburbia on Jan 15, 2004 - 22 comments

Southern Folk-Art, Outsider Art & Self-Taught Art

Southern Folk-Art, Outsider Art & Self-Taught Art • Ginger Young of Chapel Hill, NC who runs this eponymously named art studio, says: "Despite their lack of formal training, these artists have tapped into a powerful wellspring of creativity to render their worlds with passion, pathos, and immediacy." Truly beautiful, unfiltered, vibrant stuff. How could you go wrong with artists named Tubby Brown, Minnie Adkins, Mose Tolliver and Woodie Long? On another note: is this school of thought/art, which comes in and out of vogue every few years, as pure as it seems, or is there an air of exploitation and corniness that comes with fetishizing The Other?
posted by dhoyt on Oct 17, 2003 - 14 comments

Women's Folk Art from India

Madhubani Painting - 'an on-line exhibit of folk paintings by women artists who live in the Madhubani district of northern India.' With a gallery of paintings depicting, among other things, interpretations of popular Hindu stories.
Related :- an exhibition of Maithil paintings at asianart.com; Patterns and Prints of India.
posted by plep on May 20, 2003 - 3 comments

A Few Folk Art Sites

Florida Folk Art. 'Welcome to my online Outsider Art Gallery. I collect outsider art, also known as Folk Art or Visionary Art ... '
More folk art :- Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, a Kansas City Public TV project about the art and oddities of roadside America; the Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery ('folk art of the South'), a nice site from Texas; the Garde Rail Gallery; Folky Art; Four Florida Folk Artists (via Interesting Ideas). Not quite folk art but an interesting idea nonetheless :- the Miniature Book Library, an ongoing mail art project (which invites participants).
posted by plep on Apr 7, 2003 - 6 comments

Women on Brown Paper Bags

The eccentric art of Lewis Smith - a man who lived alone in the woods with no amenities, at age 60, he began drawing all day, every day. His themes included muscular and wrestling women drawn on brown paper bags, and diner scenes drawn on cracker boxes. He drew or painted on every surface including the walls of his home and his barn. If he were alive today, he would probably be amazed to learn that many of pencil and crayon drawings sell for upwards of $1000.
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 6, 2003 - 31 comments

Butter sculptures

Butter sculptures can be rather elaborate, and are a folk art favorite at country fairs in the U.S. And on the other side of the globe in the ancient Himalayas, butter sculpting is an ancient symbolic tradition among Tibetan Buddhists, and is also an integral part of annual festivals and celebrations.
But in other dairy art, cheese sculptures haven't achieved quite the same level of dignity.
thanks to Wordforge for the Jim Victor link.
posted by madamjujujive on Oct 23, 2002 - 14 comments

The Russian Avant-Garde Book is an online version of the MoMA exhibit, featuring 112 books originally published in Russia during the intensely creative period between 1910 and 1934, before Stalin outlawed any style but social realism. The site is separated into three chronological themes and includes examples of futurist works, constructivist graphic design, children's books, propaganda, photography and photomontage, revolutionary imagery, architecture and industry, war themes, folk art and judaica...
posted by taz on Oct 8, 2002 - 16 comments

Folk Art Environments

Folk Art Environments What do you get when you combine Folk Art and an entire house or area to play with? You get obsession on display and a fascinating, created world. You may have heard of the Watts towers or the Bottle Village, but have you seen Le Palais Ideal de le Facteur Cheval (in France) or Nek Chand (in India) or the Whirligig Ranch or the Forevertron or the Ave Maria Grotto? If you share Jane's Addiction you may want to consult her directory next time you travel.
posted by vacapinta on Sep 8, 2002 - 13 comments

What do grass, sashimi, wine corks and the pope have in common? Art cars!
posted by modge on Jun 14, 2002 - 13 comments

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