"remember me boys while I'm gone"
December 29, 2005 12:23 AM   Subscribe

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 (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is pretty amazing, when you think about all the effort that goes into carving stone and the sheer amount of time involved in this art. Almost reminds me of the Coral Castle park/attraction down south.
posted by MJ6 at 3:05 AM on December 29, 2005

thanks holgate. very nice.
posted by nofundy at 5:22 AM on December 29, 2005

Carve stone, yes. Pour concrete. This reminds me of Il Parco dei Mostri (the park of the monsters) near Bomarzo, Italy (between Siena and Rome). Only these were created in the mid 1500s by Prince Vicino Orsini, inspired by Ariosto's Orlando Furioso. Well, actually, he was the patron--they were made by the architect Pirro Ligorio, who was noted for completing the St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome after the death of Michelangelo.

We stumbled across il parco completely by accident--we were driving from Florence to Rome and saw a sign that promised some sort of a roadside park. We bit.

The park itself had lain in disrepair several hundred years only to be revived by Giovanni Bettini in 1954. Bettini (and family) tended the park and I think they still do.

Wickham's work is certainly intriguing if you like this sort of folk art (and I do) and that part of the world (Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama) hosts many on-the-spot roadside museums.

I tend to recoil at the term "outsider" art, because it carries the connotaion that the elite world of art is "inside" and can dictate what is "outside" and that only those "inside" can properly valuate "outsider" art, which usually leaves the artist screwed and some collector a li'l bit richer.

See John Water's "Pecker" for the hit-you-over-the-head message about insider/outsider art.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:33 AM on December 29, 2005 [2 favorites]

great stuff, thanks
posted by matteo at 7:08 AM on December 29, 2005

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