Goldie 1971 sculpture in University of Alabama Woods Quad. The sculptor is Joe McCreary, and it was made in 2009 and purchased by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010. Made of iron and steel, approx 23 feet long, four feet tall, five feet wide, and between three and four tons, the sculpture commemorates Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham.
The 58-year-old polymath pushes a pair of angular welding goggles upward on his forehead to perch on top of a tight black cap and reveals a set of adventurous eyes. He walks past an old dented pickup—his only vehicle, even though his work can sell in the hundreds of thousands—and he starts to look a lot like Charles Lindbergh or some other explorer soul as the leather of his gloved hand wipes a swathe of sweat from his brow.
…Controlling roughly 60,000 square feet of space—with more adjacent properties coming online early next year, he says—Jilbert is opening an artist colony with an event venue, studio spaces, gallery spaces and an “artist think tank” where Baton Rouge’s creatives can hang out, network and talk shop.
I was at the Angela King Gallery in the Quarter when a couple of tourists came in looking for Peter Max works (he’s coming in for a reception at the gallery tonight from 7-9p) and when they asked where else to go in the city, I mentioned that if they liked Peter Max, they’d probably really enjoy the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA. One of the curators, who I’d been talking with, was really sweet but asked me why I’d direct them there. I answered that if they liked Peter Max’s style, there were several pieces at the garden that they’d probably enjoy some of the bright/pop/fun pieces…
and although I was able to quickly mention Robert Indiana and George Rodrigue and Ida Kohlmeyer and some others, when it got to Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen’s piece, I could not recall their names and said, “and then there’s that great big safety pin…ummm…”.
— And I’m thrilled to report that as part of Peter Max’s coming to New Orleans, Av got to talk with him on the phone and as a special gift, he did a cover for the magazine including my suggestion of using cotton stalks! How great is that!?!
— At Angela King, I was there admiring the Woodrow Nash works that they feature.
from HottyToddy.com: “…it was about Richard Wright for me,” he said. “Native Son is a killer story, a real Greek tragedy. You have to do Faulkner and in Jackson you have to do Welty, but I was doing Richard Wright.”
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.
On Highway 231 between Troy and Dothan is ArtWurks, a gallery of Larry Godwin’s artwork – I think his brother, Ronald, does some of the artwork too.
Larry Godwin graduated from Auburn and became the first artist-in-residence in the Alabama school system (he installed a 12′ eagle made out of car bumpers at Goshen High School in 1972, and has other pieces at Troy Junior High and Alabama State University).
Out front is this huge rooster, made out of car bumpers.