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Watts and Conservation Communities Mourn Frank Preusser

Posted in Just Added, Preservation News

Frank D. Preusser (1944 – 2017)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Frank D. Preusser, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Conservation Scientist, in the Conservation Center at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  Dr. Preusser devoted his life to the preservation of cultural materials and is widely recognized as one of the preeminent figures in the field of conservation science.  He joined LACMA in 2005 at a time when the Center was undergoing significant changes and his efforts were instrumental in revitalizing the Center’s scientific program. In addition to providing scientific support to the museum’s conservators and curatorial staff, Frank was the lead scientist and project manager for LACMA’s efforts to conserve Watts Towers – a complex set of interconnected sculptural structures located within the Simon Rodia State Historic Park in Watts, California.

Dr. Preusser received his BS (1967) and MS (1969) in chemistry from the Technical University Munich, Germany and in 1973 his PhD (summa cum laude) in physical chemistry and chemical technology. Soon thereafter he accepted a position at the Doerner Institute, the research center of the Bavarian State Art Collections where he served as Head of the Research Laboratory for over ten years working closely with one of the world’s leading paintings conservators, the late Hubert von Sonnenburg. As the only museum scientist on staff he was responsible for the technical examination of the collections as well as assisting the State’s Historic Monument Protection Agency. He also played an active role in the design of the Neue Pinakothek Munich to ensure the proper display and storage of the works of art.

 In 1983 Dr. Preusser was appointed Head of the Laboratory at the J. Paul Getty Museum and later served in multiple positions at the Getty Conservation Institute including Program Director (Scientific Research), Acting Co-Director, Head of Publications, and Associate Director (Programs). As Program Director for Scientific Research Dr. Preusser developed a wide range of new initiatives that set the stage for some of the most important advances in the field of conservation science. During his tenure at GCI, rather than poaching research staff from other institutions, Dr. Preusser purposefully recruited young up-and-coming professionals with various scientific backgrounds and set them off on the challenge of applying their expertise to cultural heritage preservation.  Many of them continue his drive to advance scientific progress in the field of conservation. During his tenure at GCI he also served on numerous advisory committees for the preservation of cultural materials – most notably UNESCO’s Advisory Committee to the Egyptian Antiquities Organization on the Preservation of the Giza Plateau; UNESCO’s International Consultative Committee for the Preservation of Moenjodaro in Pakistan; UNESCO’s International Committee on Training Needs in Cambodia; UNESCO’s Advisory Committee on the Preservation of the Monuments of Angkor, Cambodia; and the US National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program.

 After leaving the Getty Conservation Institute in 1993, he founded Frank Preusser & Associates where he continued to work on cultural heritage preservation projects for museums, libraries and archives as well as scientific investigations of individual artworks.  During this time he was also a guest-professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku) where he taught several graduate courses in conservation science including an Introduction to Instrumental analysis, archaeometry, and accelerated aging.

While Dr. Preusser’s knowledge of the field of art conservation was without parallel, for those of us who had the honor of working with him he will always be remembered for the devotion and support he gave his staff and colleagues.  He loved teaching and guiding his staff and interns to reach their goals and become successful professionals. Many of us today owe our professional careers to his mentorship for which we are truly grateful.  

Dr. Preusser is survived by his wife Margarete, his two sons Wolfgang and Bernhard, his daughters-in-law Melinda and Susan, and his grandchildren Adrianna and Devin.

 

~Mark Gilberg and Charlotte Eng



Salvation Mountain Update

Posted in Just Added, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Most who know the story of how Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain came to be or have visited the Dr. Seussian spectacle rising triumphantly out of the monochromatic Sonoran Desert landscape realize the fragility of this incredible monument to God’s love as understood by Knight (1931 – 2014). After falling down several years into its making, Knight adjusted his technique and began packing handmade adobe into the side of an existing cliff face, then applying coats upon coats of technicolor paint as a strikingly beautiful layer of protection.

svm2Photo: Annalise Taylor. December 26, 2016.

The Mountain is incredibly vulnerable to the elements, and deserts like the Sonoran present some of the harshest conditions on the planet – a dehydrated and utterly unprotected landscape. Considering the intentions behind Knight’s creation – that it exist almost as a beckoning mirage, attracting its seekers and mere passersby alike – to cut off visitor access in order to protect the integrity of the structure would be counterintuitive to its most basic function. Not to mention, any attempt to provide significant protection for the structure from both visitors and the desert conditions would be a prohibitively expensive endeavor. Thus, Salvation Mountain will continue to exist as it has for the past 30 years – open to all who visit and susceptible to whatever may come its way.

However, the Mountain does not stand alone but rather with a team of dedicated and passionate protectors who continue the never-ending process of fixing what fails. The reality of the open-air site is that without constant care, it will degrade over time. Salvation Mountain’s board of directors, Salvation Mountain, Inc., has employed a site docent, Ella Hare, as well as a caretaker, Ron, to explain Knight’s story of love and dedication, be vigilant when visitors are present, and make necessary repairs.

svm3Photo: Annalise Taylor. December 26, 2016.

During my last visit on December 26, 2016, I had a lengthy conversation with Ron about the current plans for the Mountain. The area had experienced significant rainfall over the previous two weeks, so the Mountain and the Museum were off limits to visitors until the area was completely dry. It was heartening to see a wealth of visitors complying with the signage directing them to observe from a distance rather than walking on the Mountain or the Sea of Galilee. The site continues to attract visitors though it has been several years since Knight was present to act as the Mountain’s very charismatic host and guide; Ron said he encountered hundreds of people over the Christmas holiday.

 Ron enthusiastically explained his plans to continue making significant conservation efforts to the Mountain; however, there is no intention to stray whatsoever from the appearance of the site as it was when Knight was present. He and a team of volunteers are working to reinforce the delicate hay bale and car window roof of the Museum with more bales and additional packed adobe and paint. Additionally, the downward slope to the left of the center of the mountain has been packed with an adobe base layer so that the red tree with branching beatitudes like “faith,” “love,” and “meekness” can be recreated. It’s clear that Ron, who is a relatively new caretaker, feels very dedicated to the immense task ahead of him and hopes do his work in the spirit of Knight.   

svm4Photo: Annalise Taylor. December 26, 2016.

Salvation Mountain is currently listed by SPACES as “threatened,” and I believe this to be true. While repairs are made when sections of the mountain disintegrate, largescale damage due to a natural disaster, which could conceivably strike at any moment, would probably prove unmanageable. However, as long as the members of Salvation Mountain, Inc. and its team remain dedicated to their labor of love – maintaining and protecting the site – I believe Salvation Mountain will continue to thrive, and most importantly, reflect the original spirit of its humble creator, Leonard Knight.

~Annalise Taylor

Executive Director – Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum

Posted in Just Added

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Last Date to Apply: A resume and cover letter must be submitted to whirligigpark@gmail.com no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 3, 2017.

The Position:  This full time Executive Director position is responsible for the management and oversight of a dynamic start-up nonprofit organization using art and science and a public park/outdoor museum as catalysts for community and economic development.

The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization created to design, build, program, and promote a unique new park in the heart of Historic Downtown Wilson, which will serve as an arts & science-driven economic development engine, vibrant community gathering space, and tourism driver. The 30 massive, wind-driven kinetic sculptures designed and built by the renowned artist, Vollis Simpson, are being renovated and conserved to serve as the centerpiece of the new park. The non-profit will retain long-term ownership and maintenance responsibilities of the artwork collection and will work in partnership with the City of Wilson to construct, promote and program this public park. The Whirligig Park project has received national recognition, funding, and or partnerships from prestigious organizations such as the National Parks Service, Smithsonian, National Endowment for the Arts, Kohler Foundation, ArtPlace America, the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the City of Wilson, among others.

Compensation: Pay commensurate with experience in the industry

Benefits: The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum nonprofit organization provides an excellent working environment as well as benefits. Pay commensurate with experience in the industry.
Vacation, holidays, PTO
403b
Compensation package for medical benefits
Flex scheduling

To Compete the Selection Process: To be considered for this position, a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is required. Experience sufficient to thoroughly understand the diverse objectives and functions of the position and organizational goals, usually interpreted to require at least five years’ experience, is required. Possession of a valid driver’s license is required.

The Selection Process
: The process begins with a complete evaluation of the resumes submitted. After screening all candidates, the most qualified will be invited to participate in personal interviews. The applicant determined to be the best fit for the needs of the positions will be given a careful reference and criminal background checks and a drug test.
 
Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum
Where the Sciences Meet the Arts
252-243-8440
828-318-2860 (c)
www.wilsonwhirligigpark.org
 

Remembering Josep Pujiula i Vila (1937-2016)

Posted in Just Added, Self-Taught Arts in the News

 

OBITUARY: JOSEP PUJIULA I VILA

Jo Farb Hernández

Internationally renowned art environment builder Josep Pujiula i Vila suddenly died of a heart attack the morning of June 2, 2016. He was 79 years old.

 

untitledPhoto: Jo Farb Hernández, 2000

Beginning in the 1970s, Pujiula built a series of monumental openwork structures out of willow branches and found objects in a wooded area just west of the village of Argelaguer in the Pyrenean foothills of Catalunya. But as he didn’t build on his own property, again and again he ran into challenges with authorities from the municipality, the electrical company, and the agencies in charge of water, electricity, and highways. Responding to their demands, he destroyed but then rebuilt four complete art environments in this area, each unique but each also utilizing what became his iconic material and motif: arched tunnels created from the flexible branches of the saplings found by the nearby Fluvià River. He lashed these slim limbs together to erect numerous towers reaching 40 meters (130+ feet) high and labyrinths that curved around the hillsides, snaking up and stretching over a kilometer in length. Shelters, passageways strung 20 meters (65 feet) in the air, stairways, and bridges added to the complexity of the maze.

 

untitled2-z3gPhoto: Jo Farb Hernández, 2009

 

untitled3-5m7Photos: Jo Farb Hernández, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last fifteen years Pujiula also constructed a lyrical fountain area in concrete and iron, increasing the durability of his work and the immortality of his name. Hugging the hillside and ornamented with kinetic steel and stone sculptures, these cascading ponds finished in a natural pool below.

 

 

 

untitled4Photo: Jo Farb Hernández, 2007

Most recently, he hacked out his own “Pharaonic Tomb” from the rocky hillside with simple hand tools, covering the exterior façade as well as the interior walls with hieroglyphics that represented images from his life.

 

untitled5Photo: Sam Hernández 2016

 Pujiula’s creation of one of the most spectacular and extensive art environments anywhere defied traditional community norms of aesthetics and function, yet enjoyment of his site by visitors ultimately became crucial to his continued efforts. Finally, after decades fighting the authorities, in October 2014 Pujiula’s site was officially recognized as a local heritage site, a worthy recipient of county funding and support. And in the summer of 2015 he was a finalist for the International Award for Public Art, representing all of Europe including the Russian Federation. He was flown down to New Zealand for the award ceremony, his first major trip beyond Catalunya.

In recent weeks Pujiula manifested a creative explosion that astonished his family. “He was thinking only about building,” his son-in-law wrote me three weeks ago, “as if it would be the last act and legacy of his life.”

 

 

Dispatch from the Field: Jo Farb Hernández in Spain

Posted in Just Added, SPACES News

April turned out to be an extremely busy month as I continue my work in Spain.

The early part of the month I lectured on my Spanish art environment project (Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments) at Madrid’s fabulous Factoría Cultural. This arts complex, the former livestock market and slaughterhouse, takes up an entire city block of beautifully restored brick buildings; among other elements it includes spaces for performances, theatre, exhibitions, children’s workshops, lectures, and artist studios. 

untitledPresenting 'Singular Spaces' at Madrid’s Factoría Culturaluntitled2with Lucía Ybarra, Director of External Affairs for the Factoría Cultural

Later in the month I participated as a presenter as part of the first Diploma in Art Brut being offered at the University of Granada. This is an intensive six-week evening course, and I was pleased to be one of the early presenters so that I could express our understanding of the breadth of the field and appropriate ways to describe the artworks and honor the artists.

untitled3Left to right: SPACES Director Jo Farb Hernández, artist Roberto Pérez (La Finca de las Piedras Encantadas), author/curator Graciela García, and Pepa Mora Sánchez, UGR Professor and organizar of the Diploma.

Taking advantage of being in southern Spain, I spent the next several days doing fieldwork on three art environments that I had not previously known.  All three (as well as many others) will be included in the second volume of my Singular Spaces project, and all three are truly amazing sites. 

The first was a visit to the ornamented garden and home of Juan Muñoz Benítez. Although the artist died several years ago, his younger brother Anastasio is faithfully maintaining his work. Muñoz’s small village on the outskirts of Granada is about an hour from the coast, so the artist would travel there in his little Seat 600 to collect little stones and pebbles with which he would ornament his home and yard. Riffing off of the traditional “Granadino” [from Granada area] style of inlaying stones into sidewalks and streets, Muñoz took this to another level, with sophisticated designs, conceptually intriguing juxtapositions of flat work with bas-relief and three-dimensional elements, and meticulous craftsmanship.

 

interiorHome InteriorexteriorHome Exterior

The following day we headed down to the beaches of the Adra area, between Malaga and Almería. There, María Rodríguez has been working on a shell garden. Her house fronts the beach, and all of her raw materials are found there simply for the cost of picking them up.

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The last day we headed west of Malaga to Benalmádena, where Karl Martín and his mother are caring for, conserving, and supporting the spectacular monument conceived and built by their late father/husband, Estéban Martin Martin from 1987-1994. Helped by two local bricklayers, Martín’s Castillo de Colomares is dedicated to Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. This site is open to the public daily, and is the only architectural structure I’ve seen in Spain that approaches Ferdinand Cheval’s Palais Idéal in complexity and conceptual depth. More photos will be forthcoming as we develop the page for the SPACES website.

One of Columbus’s original ships, the Santa María, which broke apart and did not return with the crew to Spain in 1493.

ship1

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ship3Detail of one of the central towers

May is shaping up to be similarly busy; among other projects, I’ll be lecturing and participating in a round table in Bilbao on Spanish art environments, and  subsequent to that will take advantage of my trip north to visit several “new” art environments in the Basque Country, Navarra, and La Rioja. Watch this space for images and more information after that fieldwork trip as well.

I hope you’re having a marvelous spring! Let us know if you discover or update your images of any art environments as you travel.

  

With all best,

jo


Jo Farb Hernández

Director, SPACES

'Singular Spaces' Exhibition at the Fowler Museum, UCLA

Posted in Just Added, SPACES News

 

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We’re pleased to share news of the upcoming Singular Spaces exhibition at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, featuring photographs by SPACES Executive Director Jo Farb Hernández which document eight self-taught artists from across Spain. The exhibition, which opens on April 12, and runs through September 6, 2015, explores Hernández’ extensive study of Spanish environmental artists — she crisscrossed Spain from 2000-2014, traveling tens of thousands of kilometers to meet and interview artists and document their work.

 

06-roof-terrace9520-r6vJosé María Garrido (1925-2011) Rooftop terrace, Museo del Mar, with protest signs Photo: Jo Farb Hernández, March 2009

Comprised of intriguing and idiosyncratic sculptures, gardens, and buildings, the artists developed environmental sites organically without formal architectural or engineering plans. Often highly fanciful and colorful, the sites are frequently characterized by incongruous juxtapositions. This is the result of the artists finding inspiration in their surroundings and making do with what is available. The environments these artists create become a visual cradle-to-grave accounting of how their creators have spent their lives and what was important to them.   

 

greenPeter Buch (b. 1938) Building in the shape of monumental head, El Jardi de Peter Photo: Jo Farb Hernández, August 2011

Featured artists include José María GarridoJosep Pujiula, and Francisco González Gragera, among others. Hernández says of the exhibition:

“I wanted to break down the compartmentalization of genres and reveal how these artists fuse their creations with daily existence in a way generally unmatched in the art world. The sites show complete commitment to the work and serve as a self-reflection of the maker’s life and concerns.” 

 

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On Thursday, April 16, at 7:30 pm at the Fowler Museum on the campus of UCLA, Hernández will discuss her photographic survey of these elaborate fanciful art environments and idiosyncratic sculptures of self-taught Spanish artists. Hernández, who is a professor at San Jose State University and Director of the University’s Thompson Art Gallery, spent close to fourteen years researching this project and writing the almost 1200-page book complementing the exhibition.  A 6 pm concert of Spanish guitar music and light refreshments precedes the talk. RSVP to the event on Facebook.

 

 

SPACES Recap: NPS Divine Disorder Conference at The High Museum

Posted in Just Added, SPACES News
breakDivine Disorder participants gather between presentations. Photo courtesy NCPTT.

Every four years, the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training puts together a rare convening of folks with both a professional and personal interest in the preservation of art environments and self-taught artistic work. The second annual Divine Disorder Conference on the Preservation of Folk and Outsider Art met February 24-26, 2015, drawing ethnographers, art historians, art conservators, historic preservationists, and museum and archive professionals alike to Atlanta, Georgia’s High Museum of Art.

The High, home to one of North America’s great collections of folk and self-taught art (including a room dedicated to the works of beloved Georgia artist Howard Finster), was a fitting gathering space for two days of contributed papers, followed by a field-trip day to Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens in North Georgia. 

jo at divine disorderSPACES Director Jo Farb Hernandez speaks at 2015 Divine Disorder. Photo courtesy NCPTT.

Presentations covered the range of discussion on conserving, preserving, documenting, and interpreting art environments and self-taught works. SPACES Executive Director Jo Farb Hernandez spoke on curatorial roles and responsibilities in working with art environments, while photographer Fred Scruton spoke about his work documenting the “personal iconography” of Niagara Falls artist Prophet Isaiah Robertson’s church and home.

Finster HighA Finster piece at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Photo courtesy NCPTT.

Others presented updates and best practices on conserving/restoring art environments, or in building local support for the preservation of a site. This included dispatches from the preservation efforts surrounding the E.T. Wickham Stone Park in Palmyra, Tennessee, Margaret’s Grocery, built by Rev. H.D. Dennis’ in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, North Carolina.

Most notably, Terri Yoho, Director of the Kohler Foundation, a Wisconsin non-profit with a dedicated focus on the preservation of art environments, presented Kohler’s current project: The multi-stage restoration of Pasaquan, St. EOM’s seven acre art environment in Buena Vista, Georgia. Art conservators working on the Pasaquan project also spoke to the unique process of restoring such an expansive site, leaning on the wealth of primary documentation and local knowledge of the site to aid their work.

PG1Divine Disorder participants tour Finster's Paradise Gardens. Photo courtesy NCPTT.

 

The third day of the conference took participants up to Summerville, Georgia to see, first-hand, the renovation of Howard Finster’s hallowed art environment, Paradise Gardens. The Paradise Gardens Foundation assumed leadership of the site in 2012, in partnership with Chattooga County, Ga.

Director Jordan Poole led a tour of the snow-covered Gardens, and spoke about the site’s renovation process, largely supported by an Art Place America grant, but further supported by local investment in the Gardens as a key platform for economic development, cultural tourism, and public programming. 

 

Many thanks to the NPS’ National Center for Preservation Technology and Training and the High Museum of Art for facilitating an important and rare gathering, with representation across the disciplinary spectrum.

Folks who could not be at the 2015 Divine Disorder conference are able to access abstracts of each presentation on the NCPTT conference website, and will soon be able to stream videos of the presentations. The next conference is tentatively sheduled for 2019. Be sure to mark your calendar now.

carHoward Finster's decorated car. Photo courtesy NCPTT.PG2A presentation by Norman Girardot at the new gallery expansion to Finster's house. Photo courtesy NCPTT.jesus savesDetail at Finster's Paradise Gardens. Photo courtesy NCPTT.divine-disorder-conference-attendees-02-15Participants of the 2015 Divine Disorder on the steps of Finster's home at Paradise Gardens. Photo courtesy NCPTT.

 

 

 

 

SPACES Archives Welcomes New Communications Coordinator

Posted in Just Added, SPACES News

Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments (SPACES) is pleased to welcome Jennifer Joy Jameson as our first Communications Coordinator, where she will use SPACES’ mission and goals to help the organization build new audiences and partnerships.

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Originally from Southern California, but based in the South, Jennifer also serves as the Folk and Traditional Arts Director at the Mississippi Arts Commission, where she administers grants, provides consultation to artists and organizations, and develops special initiatives and documentation projects related to a wide range of cultural arts. She has an M.A. in public sector folk studies from Western Kentucky University and a B.A. in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Jennifer has worked with museums, archives, festivals, and arts and cultural organizations on the federal, state, and local level, including positions with the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Traditional Arts Indiana, the Kentucky Folklife Program, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Folkstreams, a national preserve of films on traditional culture, and the Tennessee Folklore Society. Her academic studies have focused on material culture (including art environments) and traditional music in the American South, having spoken or taught on those topics within and beyond the Southern states.

You can reach Jennifer with any new media and communications inquiries at communications@spacesarchives.org

 

Kohler Foundation announces plans to preserve Georgia's Pasaquan Art Environment

Posted in Just Added

Kohler Foundation to Begin Preservation of Pasaquan

Internationally renowned art site in Georgia will be restored by prestigious foundation

 

KOHLER, Wis. – May 28, 2014 – Kohler Foundation, Inc. of Kohler, Wisconsin, known nationally for their preservation of art, art environments and supporting education initiatives, has announced plans to preserve Pasaquan, the colorful art environment created by Eddie Owens Martin, known as St. EOM, located near Buena Vista, Georgia.

historic-image-of-pasaquans-main-entranceHistoric image of pasaquan's main entrance

“At seven acres of land and six vibrant buildings, this is one of the largest art environment preservation projects we have ever undertaken,” said Natalie Black Kohler, president of the Kohler Foundation. “Preservation of this site will ensure that future generations of artists and the public will be able to experience the varied facets of the property.”

Preservation work at Pasaquan is expected to begin in mid-May, take nearly two years to complete and will include structural work as well as object and painting conservation.  Professional conservators from Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, along with local craftsmen, will work to bring the site back to its former glory.

Upon completion, Pasaquan will be gifted to the Columbus State University Foundation for use by the university under the direction of Professor Mike McFalls in the university’s Department of Art.  The university will breathe life into the site with events, programming, and educational activities, as well as tours. CSU President Tim Mescon views this as, “An effort that will have an indelible and positive impact on the region.”

parma-conservation-testing-paint-at-pasaquanParma Conservation testing paint at Pasaquan

The Pasaquan Preservation Society, a private, not-for-profit organization, has been caring for the site since 1986 and for years, they worked diligently to maintain the site. After completing a comprehensive restoration and preservation assessment, the society approached Kohler Foundation about taking on the safeguarding efforts and the two organizations have agreed to transfer ownership of Pasaquan to the Wisconsin-based foundation so conservation work can begin.

 

About Pasaquan

Pasaquan is a world renowned art environment created by the late Eddie Owens Martin beginning in the mid-1950s with work continuing until his death in 1986. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the art environment consists of six major structures, including the original farmhouse, now painted and embellished with art, an expanse of brightly painted masonry walls,

 

totems, walkways, temples and a pagoda. Author Tom Patterson, who has chronicled St. EOM’s art site, describes Pasaquan as “one of the most remarkable folk art environments in America— a sort of mock pre-Columbian psychedelic wonderland.” To learn more about Pasaquan, visit www.pasaquan.blogspot.com.

 

About Kohler Foundation Inc.

Nationally known for their work with art environments, Kohler Foundation has preserved seven art environments in Wisconsin, plus the Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden in Chauvin, LA; Hartman Rock Garden in Springfield, OH; and the monumental Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS. Most recently, Kohler Foundation has been involved with the Bernard Langlais estate in Cushing, ME. Gifts of art by Bernard Langlais have been made to 50 institutions in Maine, plus a selection of iconic wood sculptures will remain in situ to be gifted to the Georges River Land Trust, creating a unique collaboration between art preservation and land conservation. To learn more about Kohler Foundation, visit  www.kohlerfoundation.org/.



The latest from SPACES

Posted in Just Added, SPACES News

SPACES has had a busy and productive summer across two continents.

Our archivist, Stacy Mueller, worked with Betsy Vaca, a graduate student in Art History at San José State University, to continue our ambitious project of digitizing as much as possible from SPACES’s archives—documents from our vertical files as well as images of all formats from our photographic collections—in order to increase online accessibility for those who are unable to physically visit our offices. Since May, Stacy and Betsy have scanned 1200 images as well as 1100 documents from our vertical files, and have posted 90 new art environment pages. We now have 4400 images on the website. We’re not even close to halfway through, however, so this project will continue as one of our major priorities.

Over the last few months we have received some wonderful donations to the archives, each of which is helping us to round out our holdings. The most impressive recent gift has been approximately 2400

pict0077Dmytro Szylak, Hamtramck Disneyland, Hamtramck, Michigan, Photo by Ron Gasowski

slides from Ron Gasowski, an early researcher in the field of art environments. Ron, a sculptor and long-time art professor at Arizona State University-Tempe, began photographing these materials in the 1960s, and continues to the present. In an approach similar to that taken by SPACES’s founder, Seymour Rosen, Ron turned his discerning eye toward all kinds of self-taught art and vernacular expressions in addition to his concentration on art environments: the slides include funky mailboxes, decorated motor vehicles, yards with whirligigs and other ornaments, bottle trees, street and small business signage, the Day of the Dead, general objects of folk art, and all manner of “Roadside Americana.” Art environments include a range of well-known as well as unknown sites across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as in Europe: these include the works of Fred Smith, Kenny Hill, Herman Rusch, Thomas Battersby Childs, Sabato Rodia, Driftwood Charlie, Ed Manley, David Nielsen, Hap Gern, Tressa Prisbrey, George Sweeney, Robert Vaughn and M.T. Ratcliff, Leonard Knight, Henry Warren, S.P. Dinsmoor, Mathias Wernerus, Nick Englebert, and many, many more; George Plumb in Canada, Anato McLaughlin in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Ferdinand Cheval’s Palais Idéal, Robert Tatin’s Étrange Musée, and Raymond Isidor’s Picassiette in France are also among the sites represented in Ron’s photographs. It will take many months before all of these slides are digitized and posted online, but we are delighted to have this wide-ranging and deep collection to share with the public, and profusely thank Ron for his generous donation.

On the other side of the “pond,” I spent much time over the summer correcting the galleys for my book/CD on Spanish art environments; the final count is 1159 pages (596 in the book and 563 in the CD) with 1,306 photos in the book and 4,179 in the CD, along with 44 site plans, most of which were drawn by my husband Sam. Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments, is at the printer and the advance copies will be received just before October 1, the date of the opening of the accompanying exhibition at SJSU. They should all be received and available for general purchase by December 1. This groundbreaking book features introductory remarks by Laurent Danchin, the French editor of Raw Vision, and Roger Cardinal, renowned researcher in the field and author of the 1972 book Outsider Art.

octfrontfinal-copySingular Spaces

I also found time to do a bit of fieldwork this past summer as well: I re-visited the sites of Josep Sala (Borrassà), José Giralt (Llers), Joan Sala Fàbrega (Sant Joan les Fonts), Joaquim Gifreu (Figueres) and, of course, Josep Pujiula. I also had several meetings, with community members who are working to save what remains of Pujiula’s concrete/steel works, and also with the government officials who are poised on the other side of this movement: representatives from the state departments of water, the environment, and culture, as well as the village mayor. I think that they are actually trying to find a way to save what remains of the site, because they have realized that Pujiula now has sufficient visibility that forcing him to demolish the site may have political repercussions for them.

Quite by chance, I also “discovered” an art environment in Viols le Fort in southern France; images have been posted on our website.

p1060112-604Michel Reverbel, Viols-le-Fort, France

SPACES’s staff and Board have been involved in numerous other projects as well, including working with several students on their undergraduate or graduate projects, supplying images to various museums, magazines, and online journals, and more. Watch for more information on this and other programming in coming months.

~Jo Farb Hernández

 

 

 

Browse Blog Archives by Month
Highlights

Act Now: Save The Last Resort - A Working Model of Sustainability in Marin County, CA
Take Action, Threatened Environments

Conservator-in-Residence Position, Hartman Rock Garden - Ohio
Preservation News

SPACES Honors Watts Towers Committee Founding Member Jeanne Smith Morgan on her 90th Birthday!
Preservation News, SPACES News

Remembering Josep Pujiula i Vila (1937-2016)
Just Added, Self-Taught Arts in the News

Dispatch from the Field: Jo Farb Hernández in Spain
Just Added, SPACES News

Materializing the Bible. by James S. Bielo (Miami University)
Gardens, Religious, Devotional & Spiritual

Call to Action: Preserve Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village in California
Threatened Environments

Mr. Imagination exhibit at Intuit named one of 10 best in the United States
Self-Taught Arts in the News

SPACES Director to Present Singular Spaces at Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum
SPACES News

Margaret’s Grocery listed as one of Mississippi’s Historic Trust’s 10 Most Endangered Properties!
Preservation News, Threatened Environments

The SPACES website allows you to save your favorite art environments and share them with your friends or colleagues. Create your own portfolio of your favorites from environments in the online collection.

Send them to your friends, post them on Facebook or to your Twitter account!

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

Add Page to my spaces