530 Red Lion Road, Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, 19006, United States
About the Artist/Site
Signs of neglect and the effects of the seasons can be seen everywhere in the rusting metal and fading and peeling paint. Bouquets of bedraggled, sun-faded plastic flowers in old coffee pots hang from the fence along the property, along with other household detritus.
Since Vincent Pastore’s death his son has been cleaning out, clearing out…and complaining about all the junk he had to get rid of. A few sheep are the only living remnants of what was probably a small self- sufficient holding reminiscent of Italy, where he grew his own food and raised a few animals. Pastore also brought with him his Italian peasant’s skilled hands and love and understanding of art, transplanted and changed by its new setting using the refuse of our throwaway society.
Two concrete rearing horses (instead of the traditional lions) guard the sidewalk to the house. A spotted galloping horse rides a sign: Warning – Land Mines. Underneath sits a faded painted concrete soldier, his head replaced with a plastic doll’s head wearing an old helmet; grim evidence of wars gone by or unheeded warnings. There is another post next to the driveway that reads: Beware Geese. The only goose I saw was a flying goose being chased by two toy automobiles on a battered old whirligig, although there may have been live ones when Pastore was alive. Another whirligig of a farmer plowing may be a self-portrait.
Traffic signs, one next to the other, hang on another fence with confusing messages…Stop, Walk, Do Not Enter, Spead [sic] Limit. Vintage Railroad Crossing signs also post warnings and speed limits. The bear and the U.S. flag tableau, tainted by the present political situation, may or may not have been Pastore’s intention.
Born to Italian immigrant Frank Pastore, a steeplejack and stone cutter, and Marietta Demitro, Vincent Pastore grew up in a family where nothing was given and everything was earned. He plowed roads, mowed fields, transported apples, worked for the state and township, and learned how to repair watches. His family raised chickens and sold the eggs, and raised a few cows and sold the milk. Perhaps the poverty of his early years was a factor in his later obsessive interest in collecting. Pastore used to clean out houses in exchange for having the right to retain the materials he removed, and while at first he would sell these items, once it became common for folks to have garage sales, he constantly had to answer questions as to the prices of the objects, so he decided that he would never again sell anything. So he just stored what he had collected – and continued to collect – at other garage sales, estate sales, and auctions. “Then that got to be so much so I had to do something else,” he said. “That’s when I started putting the things in the yard. [But] I still have stuff that is stored away [in the] garage and attic.”
Married and father of five children, his yard became crowded with varied painted concrete statuary, making his house a local landmark. He was also well-known for the numerous “treasures” of all kinds that he collected, and his sense of humor. As noted, subsequent to his death, his son and other family members began to deconstruct the decorated yard, and little of its earlier glory remains extant.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
530 Red Lion Road
Lower Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, 19006 us
Latitude/Longitude: 40.1230287 / -75.0594491
Mount Holly, New Jersey
Lambertville, New Jersey
Deptford Township, New Jersey