Known as a painter of nurses and photographer of Marlboro men, appropriation artist Richard Prince has been quietly creating an arts retreat deep in the Catskills, a few hours drive from New York City. As the Wall Street Journal wrote about this week, Prince is preparing to open the estate to the public. Large works, like the car above or others coated in image screens from his ‘Girlfriends’ series or the installation of framed rubber below, are scattered throughout the property along with works in progress. For me, though, Prince’s library would be the treasure trove. The artist is also a prodigious book collector, especially of the 20th century, and he has rows upon rows of bookshelves in white-shelved studio library. Moreover, book-collecting has inspired his work, so that covers of pulp fiction turned into his successful Nurses series of paintings. I’d drive the 200-miles to see it.
Over on Burnaway Magazine, there’s a new article up that I wrote about visiting folk artist Howard Finster’s former home and garden in Summerville, Georgia. The artist created an area full of folk art, religious text, and junk intermingled at every turn, and visiting is a fun daytrip from Atlanta or elsewhere in North Georgia. Seeing the artist’s work here, as opposed to a museum, clarifies where the artist was coming from in both a literal and figurative sense, and strengthened my appreciation of his work. I’ve included more pictures here, and just follow the link to read the article “Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden Continues to Thrive” on Burnaway.
I visited Paradise Gardens in June. Now that I’ve gotten back from a long vacation (without a computer–possibly not the best decision I’ve ever made), I hope to catch up and posts of some of the things I’ve seen soon.
There were signs of Black Mountain College, such as the one above and the nearby Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, all around Asheville. Black Mountain College was a small experimental liberal arts school from 1933 to 1956, which it closed due to lack of funds. It left a legacy in the arts, through the works of artists like Joseph and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly, who all taught or studied there. Something must have been in the air of the North Carolina mountains, or in the open curriculum, or in the conglomeration of different minds and talents. Arguably, the first Happening occurred here, in a performance under John Cage’s direction, long before the story of it, among other things, inspired Allan Kaprow to initiate his first Happening.
Not far from Asheville is the site of the former school, whose buildings were largely constructed by the teachers and students themselves. Now given over partially to guesthouses and partially to a summer camp for children, you can still walk around the old grounds. More pictures of it from a beautifully sunny day are below. I think the outdoor frescoes were painted by Joseph Albers, but I’d love to hear if anyone knows for sure.