January 04, 2005

American Visionary Art Museum

Myrellen's Coat embroideryI apologize for the long silence. It was the holidays. I went to DC and Baltimore and had a wonderful time! The most fun was to be had at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. I have been hearing about this place for years, but nothing prepared me for the sheer delight enclosed in this museum. I have never laughed so much in a museum before. There were also many thought-provoking and heart-rending pieces - as well as pieces that were just purely astonishing.

The Baltimore Sun describes the variety of the work, "..the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) has been designated by Congress as America's national museum and educational center for self-taught art. The AVAM's working philosophy is that while anyone can create art, only a small reserve of those creators are visionary. Many of the self-taught artists are farmers and other rural inhabitants who choose not to mix much with society. Painting is a part of the self-taught artist's medium, but many use materials such as matches, glue, paper plates, crayons, metals, machinery parts and even unraveled thread from wash cloths."

I missed seeing works from the rotating permanent collection by Chapel Hill artist/hero Clyde Jones as well as the embroideries by Myrellen. Baltimore Sun on Myrellen's work, "One of my favorites, housed in the permanent collection, is a jacket titled "Myrellen's Coat." Myrellen used bed sheets and threads from rags to embroider while she was institutionalized. The stitches tell her life story, visually and verbally. Years later, Myrellen received new drug treatments and electro-convulsive therapy and denied she had ever constructed the garment."

Posted by sfenton at January 4, 2005 07:49 PM | TrackBack
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