We visited the Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Salt Lake City the last time we were there. It’s not incredibly well known; it was created by Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. in the mid-twentieth century, and includes sculptures and engraved stones.
The sculptor here used the KJV, Job 19:23-27
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see G-d:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, Seven Magic Mountains is situated within the Ivanpah Valley adjacent to Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring, and Goodsprings ranges of mountains. A creative expression of human presence in the desert, Seven Magic Mountains punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color.
Because Scott and Vince have been friends for so long, we got to visit for a long time (and Scott had called him earlier in the week about coming over for a while). But before I get too far ahead, it’s absolutely imperative that visitors call before they visit — Vince’s number is 512-299-7413 and he’s pretty adamant about people having appointments. He’s kind, but he’s serious about a minimum of disruption to the neighborhood. When a couple of cars full of people showed up to see him while Scott and I were visiting, he sent them away, even though they explained they were only in town for a day or two and were from different states. Besides Vince’s sanity, there’s another reason for that…
He’s been working on the cathedral since the late 80s, and then around 2010, there were complaints. City inspectors came in and made a big deal about safety and permits, neighbors were apparently complaining about the parking situation and total strangers showing up whenever in the neighborhood.
Vince had to start taking the cathedral down — volunteers came out and helped. At one point, he was just sick of the whole thing. But finally the city relented, no doubt due in large part to community outrage that part of what helps Keep Austin Weird was being stomped on.
Hanneman said he is happy that the structure will remain an Austin landmark but said working through the city bureaucracy was unnecessarily complicated. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “It was like a cross between a divorce and a death.”
There are several different ways around, ways up to the top, and pathways with colorways
A must-do in Austin. You could spend an hour or a few hours and of course you’re never going to see it all. Fab.
Big, big, big thanks to Scott for arranging my visit and to Vince for being so kind and hanging out while showing us his work. xoxo!
I was contacted a few months ago by a UGA faculty member for permission to use some of my photographs of the Laura Pope Forester home in Ochlocknee, Georgia (which I granted) in paperwork to add it as a “Places in Peril” with the National Trust of Historic Preservation.
— My post from my original entry here in 2013 is still timely, so I’m pasting it here:
An entry for Laura Pope Forrester (they spell her surname differently, as it most often appears ‘Laura Pope Forester’) appears in the New Georgia Encyclopedia for her work as a self-taught artist in Ochlocknee who “created one of the state’s first outdoor art environments during the 1940s and 1950s. Her concrete figures, depicting such historical and literary personages as Nancy Hart and Scarlett O’Hara, came to be known as “Mrs. Pope’s Museum.”” The AP reported on the site in 1961: One of the most unique museums in the nation, containing more than 200 statues hand-carved by a Mitchell County woman… Mrs. Forester’s inventiveness was almost as incredible as her talent. Besides using scrap iron from junkyards, discarded tin cans and other waste material as braces for her statues, she painted the figures with liquids of many flowers and brightly colored berries… …The sculptress, who created her first statue in 1900, died in 1953, at the Pope mansion in which she was born. The museum is sponsored by a civic club and the Chamber of Commerce.
Two hundred life-size statues…plus she painted, including painting directly on her home. In the early ’80s, the owner of the house reportedly had the statues destroyed in fewer than 48 hours. A witness to what was left later records: “I remember going out behind the house and seeing just piles of faces and hands and such…”
The author writes: Based on the evidence that remains, this is one of the worst pieces of unconscious vandalism that one has ever heard of. How could the museums and historical societies and university art departments and collectors of the state of Georgia — or just local citizens with eyes in their heads — have allowed this destruction to take place? —
The home’s been on the market for a few months, and as I checked today, the price has been lowered to $153k. The photographs on the realtor.com listing don’t show the artwork out front, and doesn’t make any notation about it.
Av and I visited Joe Minter, Sr. a couple of weeks ago….I would have posted this sooner, but I wanted to finish his book, ‘To You Through Me: The Beginning of a Link of a Journey of 400 Years’ first.
We spent a little over an hour in Joe’s yard, and about an hour more talking with him and getting a tour of other pieces he is working on currently.
Okay. Joe is a straight-up genius visionary artist.
Joe Minter is a very different, very motivated person. His message isn’t 100% about “salvation” like so many other visionary artists, but rather it’s more about the American experience of Africans who came to this country. This is part of how he explains his art’s mission in his book:
G-d gave me the vision of art, to link that 400-year-journey to the Africans in America, link that truth to the children who are turning away from us, and I decided to name what I create ‘The African Village in America.’
— A few years ago, Av and I met Lonnie Holley and bought one of his pieces of art. I don’t remember if Av asked him what it was all about or if Lonnie offered, but he turned the piece around in his hands and explained what every single thing represented. Each angle was different, and it showed a different aspect of the story he was telling.
Joe is this same way. It’s very sincere, and it’s very understandable, and it’s many-layered. Sometimes it’s very obvious and sometimes not so much. Either way, what Joe does is pure genius.
I’ve got a few pics of his yard/art environment here and over a hundred more pics at my Flickr set here. He and his wife invited us to come back whenever, especially when the plants start blooming, to see everything again. We will.
The last time Av and I took pics of Margaret’s Grocery outside Vicksburg was in 2001 (my previous post for that can be found here). I had heard that Reverend H.D. Dennis (who married Margaret and promised to build her something incredible) had painted more of the buildings in pink blocks… Here are new pics from just a few days ago:
The brown sign in the middle, toward the top, says “the home of the double headed eagle”. The large pink sign says, “the true gospel is preached here”.
One of these signs says: Matt. 16-18. The rock church on the rock. Read it. And Study It.
The big red sign says: The house of prayer for all people to worship. Read your Bible and study your Bible. Jews and Gentiles.
My interest in religious folk art started when I first visited the amazing works of Brother Joseph Zoettl in my hometown – I’ve probably been there thirty times or more. His works have been written about countless times; people come from all over the country – all over the world – to see his creations. There are so many great folk art displays here in the South….I’ll post pics of more places soon.
In super-wonderful news, I got an email last week from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art – my fav museum – in New Orleans that everything is okay; there really wasn’t a flooding problem where they’re located and they weren’t broken into. Yay!
BTW, pics I’ve taken of Margaret’s Grocery are here; pics of William C. Rice’s Cross Garden are here; I’ll post pics of Palestine Gardens soon.
Ave Maria Grotto is on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey (it’s “bernerd”, not “Ber-nard”, like Bernard Parrish or the Saint Bernard dog) in Cullman, AL. All the pieces in the Grotto are the works of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a monk at the abbey, who had a hunchback due to an accident he had as a child. Luckily, this injury made it more comfortable for him to work on miniatures, which he started as a hobby. As the interest in his creations grew, the abbey dedicated space for him to be able to make and display even more of his works.
People would send him all kinds of things help build his models, and he used everything – marbles to dishes to shells and even toilet floats. A truly great folk artist.
Brother Zoettl died in 1961 after completing about 125 works.
It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to walk through the Grotto; the distance is actually pretty short, but there’s so much to look at you’ll want to stop and view everything. Admission is $5 for adults (if you have a AAA card, it’s $4).