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Preservation News 19 Items

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Celebrates 1 Year!

Posted in Preservation News, Take Action

 

Stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, Vollis Simpson used parts from a junked B-29 bomber to make a windmill-powered clothes washer. After the war, he made a windmill to heat his home. When he retired in 1985 from careers as a mechanic and mover of large buildings, Simpson wanted “to find something …better than watching television.” 

 

vswhirligigMark Karpal, 2007.

 

Simpson’s whimsical assemblages are created from inexpensive and recycled metal, including scaffolding, bicycle wheels, propellers, street signs and plumbing supplies. Characterized by simplicity and wit, they feature animals, bicyclists, musicians, carousels, lumberjacks, airplanes, rocket ships and angels, as well as abstract designs. Small works can sit comfortably on a table while the nearly thirty towering, large-scale constructions in the pasture across from his workshop rose to heights of nearly fifty feet. Larger works combine multiple motifs, with propellers, pinwheels, flanges and cups that clatter and spin in the wind. Together with the surrounding trees, they also have reflectors made from road signs, creating bursts of illumination in the headlights of passing cars after dark, and earned the nickname “Acid Park” by those who saw it.

 

The City of Wilson began work on the whirligig park in 2010, with Simpson’s whirligigs falling into disrepair as he grew older and no longer able to maintain them, the plans to restore and preserve the whirligigs was timely. The park’s nonprofit foundation bought the whirligigs, and teams began moving them into a workshop a few at a time to rebuild and restore them with Simpson able to advise. Upon his death in 2013 at age 94, the New York Times published an obituary for Simpson, describing him as “a visionary artist of the junkyard…who made metal scraps into magnificent things that twirled and jangled and clattered when he set them out on his land.” The story of Wilson’s plan to use the beloved whirligigs to reinvigorate the city center threw a spotlight onto the community. In 2013, whirligigs were named North Carolina’s official folk art and the City of Wilson recieved grants from ArtPlace America, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts to help acheieve the goal of opening the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum. In 2016, the Kohler Foundation partnered in the project, providing the means to complete the conservation efforts and took ownership of 31 large-scale whirligigs and about 50 smaller works, completing the restoration project. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig park held the grand opening on November 2, 2017 to much celebration by the events hundreds of attendees.

 

whirligig-parkThe Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, 2017.

 

Celebrating their first year of operation, a massive effort continues to document, repair, and conserve the whirligigs, originally constructed of recycled and salvaged parts, and damaged from nearly 30 years of exposure to the elements. New protocols for conservation of outdoor folk art and vernacular artist environments have been established through this project’s pioneering process. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum relies on donations in order to insure that these incredible sculptures stay beautiful and working well.  Please help by following one of the links below to make a one-time donation or to become a member.   If you would rather receive a paper donation form, you can email your name and address to whirligigpark@gmail.com.

 

 

Make a donation to the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum

Become a member of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum

 

A Letter from Emily Smith, director at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Posted in Preservation News, SPACES News, Threatened Environments

Hi everyone, 

 

I’m assuming most of you know by now that we lost our bid to historically designate the Painted Bride. There was over three hours of very passionate testimony from both sides and the vote was dramatic: a 5-5 vote then 5-4 for the re-vote. It was a long and shocking afternoon, extra thanks to those of you that attended the meeting. It was intense. I needed a few days of space before reaching back out to all of you. Here’s a link to the WHYY coverage: https://whyy.org/segments/painted-bride-denied-historic-status-removing-roadblock-to-iconic-buildings-sale/  

 

What is frustrating about the outcome is that almost everyone in the room (even the Bride) seemed to agree with the historic criteria and that the building is an icon. Though hardship should have been dismissed for a second meeting, the final call was based on the Bride’s argument that designation would stifle their ability to move forward unencumbered. 

 

It was a disappointing day and if the building is demolished, I do believe in just a few years the city will be deeply regretting this decision. 

 

When I woke up on Saturday, I felt so proud of us. I know there was nothing we could have done differently: we were thoughtful, articulate, organized, and full of integrity. Fighting for art and for strange spaces will always be an uphill battle.  Every single person on this email took time from their busy schedules to voice their opinion. Our communities will never understand what these places mean to us unless we continue to push back. Even facing loss, it is so important to try. 

 

So thank you. Reading your letters of support, getting fired up during phone conversations, the handshakes of respect after we lost- those were invaluable moments. I hope that you will continue to talk about the building and tell this story. Maybe next time it can be different for someone else. 

 

In terms of next steps, there are not many options. We will not be appealing or suing, it doesn’t make sense in this situation. I think it is time to focus our efforts on encouraging the Bride to find a sympathetic buyer. I’d love any suggestions you may have in terms of rallying the community to petition the Bride in this way. 

 

Warm hugs from the Gardens, 

 

Hoffman's The Last Resort in California to Form Non-Profit

Posted in Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

 

In an effort to save and maintain The Last Resort, created by David Lee Hoffman in Lagunitas, Marin County, California, a nonprofit organization is being formed.

 

last-resort-faces-jfh-nov-2016Jo Farb Hernandez, 2016.

 
The site is at a critical point: the county is threatening to put the property up for auction next year, and the court-appointed receiver is ready to begin demolishing two of the structures.
 
The creation of the nonprofit will bring together people who will help to meet the challenges facing the survival – as well as, hopefully, to outline positive future plans – for this innovative art environment. Goals of the nonprofit will include fundraising to support financial obligations related to future code upgrade requirements, facilitating local and global interest in the use of ecologically-friendly black water and grey water systems, and creaing a vision for the educational and culture future of the site.

 

 See more about The Last Resort Lagunitas on SPACES and visit The Last Resort Lagunitas website here.

 

Read our previous update on The Last Resort:

Update on The Last Resort Lagunitas

 

Kohler Foundation seeks Preservation Coordinator

Posted in job opportunities, Preservation News

Preservation Coordinator - Kohler Foundation
Location: Kohler, WI

Opportunity
The Preservation Coordinator assists the preservation team in all phases of projects including the research, acquisition, cataloging and conservation of art collections and art environments. The coordinator supports the foundation’s outreach to and projects with museum professionals, artists, conservators, technicians, contractors and others to complete projects in a timely and professional manner with respect to budgets, team collaboration and preservation goals.

The individual will assist in project tracking and reporting and must have project coordination experience. The coordinator is a self starter with a flexible and collaborative style, strong interpersonal skills, and excellent follow through. The individual will interact with a variety of fields of discipline and backgrounds. The position requires high proficiency in computer software, outstanding organizational skills, and experience with art-related projects. The coordinator works well under deadline, and can handle multiple projects at once. The coordinator has a strong interest in art and preservation initiatives. 

  • Participates in the search, acquisition, preservation and gifting of collections and art environments.
  • Documents assigned projects, including dimensions, descriptions, condition reports, and photography. Prepares spreadsheets and other documents to retain the information in a usable and accurate manner. May require travel to off-site projects.
  • Prepares a wide variety of presentations, reports, and spreadsheets as assigned.
  • Occasionally makes presentations on topics related to art preservation and completed projects.
  • Supports preservation and KFI staff in tracking preservation projects.
  • Assists with collection care and hands-on cleaning of artwork, often working with art conservators.
  • Hands-on maintenance of warehouse and conservation spaces.
  • Works with Preservation Manager with packing and delivery of artwork. Coordinates shipping and transportation.
  • Performs other related assignments delegated by the Executive Director and Project Managers.

Relationships and Contacts

         Supervisory Relationships:

  • Reports to Executive Director, Kohler Foundation
  • Provides daily support to two Preservation Project Managers
  • Guides the work of contract employees and interns, as assigned

         Organization Relationships:

  • Constant contact with all KFI staff
  • Frequent contact with staff of John Michael Koher Arts Center and other museum professionals
  • Frequent contact with art conservators and other contract employees
  • Occasional contact with KFI Preservation Committee members

Skills/Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in art history, studio art museum studies, or a related field required.
  • Outstanding organization skills
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, and ideally photo editing software. Photography skills highly desirable.
  • Requires a valid driver’s license, and up to 20 percent travel in and outside of the state including occasional weekends.
  • Must be able to lift boxes up to 35 pounds, and load items to heights of three to four feet. 

Please provide a cover letter that showcases why you are interested and qualified for this position. 

This is a full-time, salaried position, with benefits.

The Preservation Coordinator is an employee of the Kohler Foundation and not Kohler Co. Kohler Foundation is a private, non-profit charitable organization, committed to the preservation of art environments and important collections across the U.S. We also support art and education initiatives in the state of Wisconsin. To learn more, check out our website at www.kohlerfoundation.org.

 

Click here to begin application process through Kohler Co website. 

UPDATE! Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!

Posted in Preservation News, Self-Taught Arts in the News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

After hearing about city plans to sell Edgehill Community Memorial Park, concerned members of the community spoke up in support of preserving the beloved communty park and African-American historical site. Nashville’s municipal government has abandoned plans to sell the land on which artist William Edmondson, the first African-American to ever have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art,  lived for decades. The proposal to sell Edgehill Community Memorial Park to the highest bidder — which includes Edmondson’s homesite where he lived and worked in until his death in 1951 — would have likely resulted in that land being bought by private developers. After the community rallied together and raised their voices, the Metro Budget and Finance Committee voted unanimously to remove the sale of Edgehill Community Memorial Park, also known as the William Edmondson Homesite park and community gardens, from their budget recommendation.

“Their vote sends an unmistakable message that balancing the budget on the backs of neighborhood parks and civic spaces, done behind closed doors in disrespect to the affected community, is not only poor policy, but terrible process,” stated Mark Schlicher, co-chairman of the Save the Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens Coalition. “We urge the full council to heed the will of the people and the wisdom of the Budget and Finance Committee, and pass the Sledge amendment as part of the budget tomorrow night.”

The proposal to sell the park to the highest bidder was a shock to artists, historians, and the city’s African American community; it also further obscured the legacy of a figure who is often overlooked in Nashville’s history. “We wouldn’t think about taking a bulldozer to the home of Thomas Edison,” said Tennessee State University professor Lee Williams. “These spaces should not be erased from our memory.” In response that the park would be potentially be sold, the art and academic community wrote an open letter opposing the sale and calling for the site’s preservation.  “For too long, the treasure that is William Edmondson has been taken from Nashville and from Edgehill and allowed to enrich other communities,” the letter reads. “It’s time to bring him home.”

William Edmondson’s work was featured in the recent exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Although his home no longer exists on the grounds of Edgehill Community Memorial Park, the surrounding neighborhood was an important part of his artistic career, and it was a neighborhood that has historically brought together Nashville’s black working class and upper-class white citizens.

 

Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!

Posted in Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

 

CLICK HERE to go straight to the petition and sign! 

 

Nashville’s Mayor plans to immediately sell a neighborhood park, which includes the former homesite of William Edmondson, Nashville’s most celebrated African American artist, to private developers to help balance the city budget. If this is approved by Metro Council on June 19, 2018, it will take precious parkland away from citizens, wipe away a historic site, accelerate the destruction of a historic middle- and working-class African American neighborhood, and eliminate a community garden that has served neighborhood families for generations. It will destroy a priceless historical and cultural site that should be preserved and enhanced instead. All with ZERO input from the neighborhood, the historical preservation community, or local or national arts and creative community. It also ignores and disrespects any and all previous land use policy conversations with the neighborhood.

 

Metro Nashville Council votes on its budget, which will authorize selling the land, on June 19. If it passes, we may lose this precious site forever. If we can stop it, we can at least begin a rational discussion as to how to best preserve and develop the property responsibly, as a proper monument to a great artist and as a living legacy that serves all citizens.

 

The petition is for the following:

1. Immediate halt of the sale of this public land to for private gain, and a commitment by the Mayor engage Nashville citizens in the process of preserving and enhancing it.

2. Transfer to the Parks Department and implement a meaningful master planning process, with civic involvement of all stakeholders of the site; for instance including themed playgrounds, integration with the adjacent branch library, a sculpture garden with landscaping, picnic shelters, and educational interpretive displays to share the stories of William Edmondson and other neighborhood heroes, such as pioneering musician Deford Bailey and early 20th century civil rights activist Callie House.

3. The specific section of the property where William Edmondson’s house and studio stood is forever preserved and developed as a site honoring his art and life.

4. The land next to the homesite, which is now parkland and community garden, should be protected as such, and improved via the master planning process.

5. If any other portion of the site is eventually sold to private interests, it must be done within a strict and binding planning framework, including firm safeguards of appropriate zoning and land use policies, that will enhance the neighborhood, not further threaten it.

 

Self-taught limestone sculptor William Edmondson was the first African American artist to receive a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1937. He is celebrated worldwide for his simple, but subtle, limestone garden sculptures, which are prized by collectors and sell for as much as $250,000. His work, and his story of vision, resourcefulness and faith, continue to inspire new generations of artists locally and around the world. Edmondson’s former homesite, where he lived, created his masterpieces, and died, is currently part of a park that includes a playground, basketball courts, picnic area, and a 25 year old community garden that serves children and families with fresh air, fresh fruits and vegetables, and community interaction.

 

Nashville’s Mayor has suddenly announced plans to rezone and sell this property to private developers “to the highest bidder” to help plug a gap in the city’s 2018-2019 budget. This likely means luxury high-rise condos or similar inappropriate development that will wipe away this treasured land, unless it is stopped.

 

There has been very little outreach by the city to the to the neighborhood to inform them, much less to invite participation in the future if the park. Nashville is booming. Development is proceeding at a feverish pace. Affordable housing is getting scarce. This area is already under tremendous gentrification pressure and the very survival of this historic neighborhood is at stake. The effect of eliminating the park in favor of incompatible development would be catastrophic. Loss of the park would be be a huge blow to the neighborhood’s vibrancy. Loss of the Edmondson homesite would be an irreversible loss of Nashville’s social, cultural, and artistic history. 

 

William Edmondson’s carved tombstones and garden sculptures spoke to the themes of faith, community, connection to the land, and remembrance. His own grave is lost, leaving his homesite —where he lived, worked, and died— as the only physical place where he can properly be honored.

 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE!

Follow on facebook here

Upcoming Hearing on Historically Designating the Painted Bride Arts Center

Posted in Gardens, Preservation News, Take Action

 

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens seeks to protect important mosaic mural.

 

OLD CITY, PHILADELPHIA:  When it was announced in December that the Painted Bride Art Center was going up for sale, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) immediately recognized the risk that this posed to the roughly 7,000 square foot mosaic mural on the building’s façade, and is now working to protect this mural through historical designation. A hearing to discuss this historical designation takes place at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, June 20, at 1515 Arch Street.

 

paintedbridewalleditThe Painted Bride Arts Center

 

PMG’s mission is to preserve, interpret, and provide access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic environment and his public murals. Zagar’s mural at the Painted Bride, located at 230-36 Vine Street, is one of his most iconic works. In the early 1990s Zagar was invited to work on the façade of the Painted Bride building, formerly the Eastern Elevator Co. It provided one of the largest canvases to date for Zagar’s work and was the first time he covered the entire length and height of a building with mosaic mural.

 

In his 1993 article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Ron Avery wrote: “From sidewalk to roof every inch is colorfully painted and decorated in wild, imaginative detail. There are swirls, circles, seashells, Chinese writing and bits and pieces of ceramic birds, butterflies, flowers, human figures, and ceramic feet. ‘Isaiah took a simple industrial building with no character and made it fascinating,’ says Gerry Givnish, executive director of the Painted Bride. ‘Zagar’s weird art has given the Painted Bride near landmark status.’”

 

zagarIsaiah Zager with one of his colorful mosaics

 

PMG’s Executive Director Emily Smith remarks, “As community members, I think it’s important to fight for the character of our city. The history and culture of our streets is what makes Philadelphia such a special place to live. What does it mean if we don’t try to keep our art and the history behind it from being destroyed?”

If the application for historical designation is accepted it would protect the outside of the Painted Bride building from being altered or demolished. PMG has also made the commitment to caretake the mosaic mural in perpetuity.

PMG encourages the public to read the application, and if they support it, voice their opinion and attend the hearing on June 20.

CONTACT:

Emily Smith | 215-733-0390 ext. 113 | esmith@phillymagicgardens.org

_________________________________________________

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS 

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a nonprofit visionary art environment and community arts center located in Isaiah Zagar’s largest public artwork.

Spanning half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

PMG is a unique Philadelphia destination that inspires creativity and community engagement by providing educational opportunities and diverse public programming to thousands of visitors each year. For more information, visit www.phillymagicgardens.org.

 

See more of Isaiah Zager’s Magic Gardens on SPACES!

Laura Pope Forester home sees bright future ahead!

Posted in Gardens, Preservation News

 

fullsizeoutput128May 1990

The current owners of the Laura Pope Forester home, also known as Mrs. Pope’s Museum and Garden or Pope Store Museum, have been hard at work with the goal of refurbishing the site’s gardens, sculptures, murals, and other works of art. Laura Pope (1900-1953) had built an extraordinary garden around her antebellum rural residence in Ochlocknee, GA, which included over 200 figurative sculptures. Most were three-dimensional, but others were bas-reliefs or busts set into or topping the walls and the elaborate arched gateway on the periphery of her property. She built her works up on a metal infrastructure composed of found objects such as scrap iron and tin cans, later covering them with concrete. 

 

Her subjects, mostly “outstanding individuals of fact and fancy” and mostly female, focused on a diverse and wide-ranging group of significant or iconic women, but there were also figures from tales and legend. Other works included a series of seven faces representing the world’s major religions; thought to have been taken from plaster casts, it has been suggested that they were molded from her friends.

 

fullsizeoutput126May 1990

After Laura Pope’s death, the family maintained the property without making significant changes, and for some time it remained a local tourist attraction and roadside curiosity that was supported, in part, by a civic club and Pelham’s Chamber of Commerce. However, in 1974, her only surviving son sold the site to a mill owner from the nearby town of Meigs. He thought that the sculptures had “passed their days of being useful,” so he dismantled and destroyed most of the freestanding works, leaving only some dozen that had been built into the walls. Most of the rest were destroyed in 1981, yet by 1990 several still remained within the garden walls.

 

By the time the current owners purchased the property and moved on-site in July 2017, the entire property had been severely neglected. Since then, considerable effort and progress has been made to rebrand both the property and Laura Pope Forester’s work, as well as to restore the structure of the building. A new nonprofit corporation – Pope’s Museum Preservation, Inc.- has been set up, and they are going through the process of preparing an application to add the home and grounds to the National and Georgia Registers of Historic Places under the categories of art, recreation and leisure, and women’s history. 

 

fullsizeoutput124Image from Popes Museum Preservation

You can follow along with the progress of the restoration through their newly launched website, which includes a blog with behind-the-scenes images of daily discoveries made while working on the site. You can learn more about Laura Pope Forester at SPACES here and see the Pope Store Museum website here.

Gabriel Albert Sculpture Garden Undergoes Restoration

Posted in Gardens, Preservation News, Self-Taught Arts in the News

 

 

Gabriel Albert’s garden in Nantillé  (Charente-Maritime), after 25 years of being largely unoccupied, has experienced a swell of visitors since the recent launch of a regional restoration project. It had been unoccupied, that is, with the exception of over 400 resident statues!  

 

free-entry-manThis statue, recently cleaned, greets visitors at the entrance of the garden.

As a youngster, Gabriel Albert dreamt of becoming a sculptor, but became a carpenter to earn a regular livelihood. It was not until he retired in 1969 at age 65 that he was finally able to give way to his passion.

Albert began making figurative sculptures and busts, applying cement to iron frame infrastructures. Most of the 420 sculptures he eventually created, which he placed in the garden surrounding his hand-built house, represented anonymous people going about everyday tasks. However, some depicted political personalities, celebrities, and characters from fairy tales, which he based on photographs he saw in magazines.

 

1Concrete is porous, which makes it an ideal place for moss and lichen to grow. Conservators often use biocide to combat this common ailment of art environments.

 

nantille

 

Around 1989 Albert became ill and decided to reserve his energy to maintain the site rather than to create new works. Before his death, he sold all of his work for a symbolic amount to the community of Nantillé. In spring 2011, an association of friends actively promoted protected status for the garden, so that it could be opened for visits by the general public. Now, in 2017, preservationists, using brushes and other small tools, are carefully scraping lichen and moss from the sculptures in the first phase of conservation. Sculptures with more extensive damage have been fitted with frames to protect their fragile limbs until the conservationists can explore options and decide on long term solutions to strengthen the concrete forms. As of this writing, fifty-nine figures have been taken to an offsite workshop for conservation. 

 

biocide-half-n-halfHalf of the statue has undergone biocide treatment, which shows the effectiveness of removing microorganisms that have nestled in the concrete.

 

The timeline for this project is November 2017 to June 2018. The most urgent task was to pack, transport and shelter those fifty-nine statues at risk, but emergency measures will also include filling cracks in the statues and the restoration of Gabriel Albert’s studio. The first stage of restoration, estimated to cost 252,602€, is 100% financed by the Region of New Aquitaine under the scientific and technical control of the Regional Conservation of Historical Monuments (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs [DRAC] New Aquitaine - Ministry of Culture). They have done a truly fantastic job of documenting the history of the site and will surely continue the good work through conservation. 

 

4Splints, polyurethane foam, and plastic film help keep damaged limbs in check.

 

supported bustsAfter supporting the ground beneath and creating a protective structure, these busts that were formerly leaning are safe.

 

Learn more about the Gabriel Albert Sculpture Garden on SPACES here

 

All images: © Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine, General Inventory of Cultural Heritage. Christian Rome, 2017. 

Mourning Francisco González Gragera, Creator of Spain’s Capricho de Cotrina

Posted in Preservation News
dscf0555All photos by Jo Farb Hernández, December 31, 2015.

SPACES is sad to share the news of the death of Francisco González Gragera, creator of one of Spain’s most important art environments, the Capricho de Cotrina, located in the western autonomous community of Extremadura (Badajoz). Gragera passed away on September 19, 2016; he was 90 years old. We send our warmest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time

 

Although González began his elaborate project to build a country home for himself and his family in 1988, he was forced to stop several times – sometimes for years at a time – as a result of municipal mandates to halt construction, as his whimsical art environment did not conform to local urban codes or permit requirements, let alone architectural expectations. While he was not forced to demolish his work, neither was he given permission to continue to explore his aesthetic interests. Finally, in 2011, a new administration was elected and he was given the go-ahead to begin work anew, which he did with gusto, finessing existing components and adding new ones in the house as well as surrounding gardens, working without written plans and no formal training in architecture, engineering, or art.

 

In contrast to the products of his decades-long vocation–flat marble and granite floors, façades, and even sober geometrically rectilinear headstones–his architectural/sculptural Capricho flamboyantly celebrates the curve. Sinuous lines and organic contours characterize González’s sculpture and architecture, and even the footprints of the house and garden structures rarely, if ever, manifest a straight line. The curvilinear essence of the construction is not related to the topography, as the site is generally flat; rather, it reveals the emphasis the artist placed on unapologetically celebrating the fluidity of form.

 

20151231113600b

 

González’s Capricho, surely, was linked to aesthetic fantasy and his personal aspirations. It also links to the natural and man-made worlds: local topography and vegetation are well-represented, but so too are the fruits of the local laborers–the olives, the grapes, the sunflowers, the wheat, and even the acorns that are eaten with such gusto by the hogs that will be processed into the renowned jamón serrano. Yet beyond this his architectural whimsy was also tinged with painful memories, represented by the small loaf of bread that symbolizes those postwar years of starvation across Spain and the deprivations of the wars. His sensitivity to those events–viscerally understood at both an individual and a cultural level–coupled with his personal campaign to prove to others that he was worthy, that he was special, also underlay his impetus for construction. He was working for himself and his family, but also to share his efforts, his aesthetics, and what he believed to be important with others, passersby and locals alike.

 

20151231113716b

“Imagination can’t be purchased,” González affirmed. And giving free rein to those images of his imagination, he worked intuitively and improvisationally until the end, to, as he declared, make “the magic of dreams become reality.”

Having worked with and documented González’s Capricho de Cotrina from 2002 to 2016, I devoted a chapter with full description and analysis of his work in my 2013 book Singular Spaces: From the Eccentric to the Extraordinary in Spanish Art Environments.

— Jo Farb Hernández 

 

Browse Blog Archives by Month
Highlights

Nitt Witt Ridge Enters the Real Estate Market!
Take Action, Threatened Environments

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Celebrates 1 Year!
Preservation News, Take Action

A Letter from Emily Smith, director at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Preservation News, SPACES News, Threatened Environments

Hoffman's The Last Resort in California to Form Non-Profit
Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Dispatch from the Field: Singular Spaces, Volume 2 in progress!

Kohler Foundation seeks Preservation Coordinator
job opportunities, Preservation News

UPDATE! Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!
Preservation News, Self-Taught Arts in the News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Save Nashville artist William Edmondson's homesite!
Preservation News, Take Action, Threatened Environments

Upcoming Hearing on Historically Designating the Painted Bride Arts Center
Gardens, Preservation News, Take Action

Sign petition to save Justo Gallego's Cathedral!
Religious, Devotional & Spiritual, Take Action, 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, Instagram, or Twitter and tag #spacesarchives 

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

Add Page to my spaces