Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vacation Time

This summer with my exhibit at the Contemporary in late June and with our passports due for renewal I scheduled no major vacation. Instead we went on three short excursions In June and July

Blue Ridge Parkway

After closing down the exhibit we jumped in the sedan and headed to North Carolina. Our first night was at Hot Springs, the only true hot springs in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This spring did not feature the standard communal pool; instead visitors booked time in private individual tubs fed from the springs. The water was fine but the 70’s vintage sign at the entrance promoted something other than soaking in healing mineral water. After a visit to Linwood Falls we camped at North Carolina’s Stone Mountain State Park. Living near Georgia’s more notable Stone Mountain I looked for comparisons. The Georgia granite giant has a big carving, a train running around the base, a laser show, a riverboat and a place where kids can shoot foam at each other. NC’s exposed mass of hard rock has pleasant campsites, dangerous hiking trails, views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, copious herds of deer and far more greenery. I expect Georgia to try and claim a copyright infringement case and make the northern site change its name.

The other Stone Mountain.

These springs are hot in more ways than one.


After returning from North Carolina we flew out to Chicago for a short visit with our friend Wayne over the 4th of July Holiday. I have not spent much time in mid America but was impressed by the public art, ease of getting around and friendliness of its citizens.

Fernandina Beach

Last week we drove to our friends Janet and Sue’s beach house in Fernandina Beach, Florida. On the way there we traveled past the town of McRae to catch a glimpse of America’s wierdess Statue of Liberty. Here the green torchbearer appears as an escapee from the Bizarro world.

Fernandina is currently having an identity crisis as developers are pushing the area to be known as Amelia Island and not Fernandina Beach. Our host told us that it’s nearly impossible to find any item or souvenir apparel with the word Fernandina on it. South of Fernandina is the historic American Beach one of the few Black tourist resorts from segregation times. Here I discovered a fine homestead shaped like a ship with multitudes of religious art in the yard.
On A1A in Fernandina there are no less than three homes built in the shape of lighthouses. Two of which were for sale. Our host told me that they would most likely be torn down to build something larger and more traditional.

Ship shaped home in American Beach.

Lighthome that will someday be replaced by a McBeach Mansion.

A1A – Fernandina Beach “Yard Sale”

I happened by this small sale on the way out of town on Sunday afternoon. At the base of the stairs of a duplex apartment building was a rack of men’s and women’s clothing, a VHS tape on the art of Thomas Kinkade, some computer parts, several NADA price guides and an ashtray shaped like an Hawaiian shirt.
I bought nothing.

A note on traveling by car:
The Interstate highway system is a nightmare. The 50-year-old network of high-speed roads does nothing but cause stress and turmoil. The volume of traffic, the excessive high speeds of reckless drivers, the multitudes of gigantic semi-trucks and the tedious and boring scenery make them something to avoid if at all possible. Georgia has built a number of four-lane roads stretching across the state that are nearly empty, far more scenic, pleasant and faster in the long run. Use them and you will arrive sane.

View of a pleasant non-interstate highway.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Saturday 7/15/06

Another hot Saturday morning and the summer doldrums continue.

Iverson Ave. – Candler Park “Yard Sale”

This was a small sale in the front yard of a craftsman bungalow. On a table were lampshades, some stemware, some small prints of Parisian landmarks and some art supplies. A small plaque with a black bow tie attached said, “A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen and this kitchen is delirious”. A box in the yard contained a Yankees cap, a bikini and a sock monkey. There were a few boxes of books. Among the titles were “How to Listen to God”, “Art Through the Ages “Youth Ministry From the Inside Out”, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and “Don’t Waste Your Life”
I bought nothing.

Sock monkey, cap and bikini in the same box.
Elmira Ave. - Candler Park “Yard Sale”

This sale was in the yard of a non-descript squat brick home. The clutter was piled up in the front yard and on the sidewalk and watched over by a lone man. When I arrived a man was buying two model railroad sets still in their boxes. Stuff scattered about included an action figure of a cop labeled “America’s Bravest” in an unopened package, some Xmas figurines, a bottle of floor polish, a cookie jar shaped like a rabbit, some electrical hardware, an dream catcher making kit in its original packaging, six umbrellas jammed into an umbrella stand, a large plastic sack filled with gasoline cans and a pile of caps. On the sidewalk was a poster where the late Dale Earnhardt warned of the perils of aggressive driving.
I bought nothing

Bag filled with gasoline cans.

Dale warns aggressive drivers.
Albion Ave. - Inman Park “Yard Sale of Doom”

This was the best-named sale of the season. Here a moderate collection of clutter was crammed onto the front porch of a small frame bungalow and looked over by a 20 something looking couple. There was nothing in particular here that forecast impending doom but I was impressed to see one of the same bubbling floor lamps that I had included in my installation. Other things packed in around the porch included a small aluminum Xmas tree, a piñata of a pirate and a costume top hat with alien faces on it. The densely packed area was difficult to negotiate and I found myself knocking over randomly placed golf clubs as I perused to goods on display. Perhaps this was the meaning of doom. I managed not to damage anything in my inspection, which revealed some dirty dishes, more hats, a computer monitor and a handmade wooden cutout that may have spelled Trevor. There was a small selection of books on the porch among them were “Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Divorce”, “All Too Human”, “You Can Heal Your Life”, “World Without Cancer”, “The Magic Handbook” and “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Pre-Menopause”
I bought nothing

Pinata and top hat.

Does this say "Trevor"?

Dirty plates amid the clutter.
Edgewood Ave.- Inman Park "Divine Ladies Yard Sale"

This sale was in the driveway of a grand Victorian home that houses an art gallery in the carriage house. I never did ask who the divine lades were but I did examine their belongings and found them to be the usual Inman Park accoutrements. Among the stuff there was a wide selection of women’s clothing, a box of folk rock lps from the 70’s, candle holders shaped like shoes, a red plush monkey and a few boxes of books. Among the books were “Women Who Run With The Wolves”, “Mother Teresa- A Life in Pictures”, “A Soul’s Journey”, “Life, Paint and Passion”, “Ecstasy”, “Affirmations for Artists” and “100 Best Small Art Towns In America”.
I bought nothing but the gallery owner recommended that I try to show my photographs at a gallery in Nashville.

Sign for sale claiming divinity.

Red monkey and candle.

Boots of divine ladies.

Saturday 7/8/06

The summer doldrums have begun and only those who have failed to plan are having sales in the blistering summer heat. Its been getting into the 90’s all this week and only the crazed would sit over piles of clutter in this heat.

Nelms Ave. - Lake Claire “Yard Sale

This was a small sale with just one table of stuff watched over by a one woman at the edge of the Land Trust. She had a few popular novels, a few popular VHS titles, some glassware and a lava lamp containing murky liquid. Next to the table were three green shag throw rugs.
I bought nothing.

Murky lava lamp in front of Land Trust wood chip collection.
Spruce St. - Inman Park “Yard Sale

The most distinguishing thing at this sale was the use of a Liberace cardboard stand up as a sign at the entrance. Beyond that there was not much worth seeing. In the back of the driveway were a vacuum cleaner, some kitchen items, a small rack of clothing and some bags of glass beads. The sellers looked bored.
I bought nothing.

Liberace welcomes shoppers to a boring sale.
Lanier Blvd. – Virginia Highlands “Estate Sale”

This was a larger sale than the others, located in the driveway and garage of a renovated two-story home. As I approached the garage I passed several art prints included one of a Balinese dancers. Near it was an electric leaf blower.
On display on tables I found barware, part of a burglar alarm system, a teddy bear in a squires outfit, several lamps, a package of rat traps, mugs, Tupperware, a Relax brand bed pan and a hand painted flower pot that said “buzz words”. In several boxes were a number of books among the titles were “Live and Learn and Pass It On”, “South Beach Diet”, “A Grand Passion”, “The Rich are Different” and “How To Lose Friends and Alienate People” Scattered about were a number of items relating to the legal trade including a boxed set of tapes entitled “First Year Law” a copy of “Alternatives to Litigation” and a paper weight that said that said “Justice Mercy Equality”.
I bought nothing.

Items from a lawyer's estate.

Reading matter found at Lanier.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday 6/23/06

Tuxedo Ave.- Lake Claire “Estate Sale”

While my exhibit was underway I had a little bit of time to check out this sale on one of the more upscale street in my neighborhood. The estate sale was presided over by the owner of a well keep traditional bungalow. She told me that she had lived in the home since she was a little girl and used to ride the McLendon trolley to go downtown. Restraining myself from going into a long conversation of how much better public transit was before MARTA I instead perused the artifacts of a life spent in Lake Claire. Throughout the home was an abundance of silk flowers and foliage. In the dinning room were boxes of old cleaning supplies selling for a dollar each. Tables in the same room were covered with an explosion of Xmas décor with Santas, Nutcrackers and angels competing for space. On another table I found a set of cassette tapes on self-hypnosis that offered relief from a number of modern problems ranging from smoking, overeating and overspending. Also in the dinning room was a Cabbage Patch doll with a spotted face that made it appear to have smallpox.
There was a moderate collection of books in one of the bedrooms. Some titles included “Beyond Reason”, “The Painmaker”, “I Ain’t Much Baby But I’m All I Got”, “A Lesson Before Dying”, “Life After Life”, “Write it Down Make It Happen” and “Reality Therapy”. On the floor of the bedroom between two remote controls was a DVD of The Dog Whisperer. Also in the bedroom was a box of ladies hats, several wigs and a can of wig spray.
The living room was filled with furniture and tables packed with small décor and figurines. On one table was a large garish ceramic clown head.
A sign on the front door indicated that there was stuff in the basement. I found very little there other than a few tools and some fishing gear. But in the back yard I did find a life-size pair of decorative Canadian Geese for sale.
I bought nothing

Clown head on a table.

Doll with smallpox?

Xmas character vying for space.

Geese guarding the back yard of home where the trollies no longer run.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Year in the Yards of Clutter- The Exhibit

After purchasing and filing my home with the flotsam and jetsam of other people’s lives the time had finally come to display my work at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. I started loading in a week before the show even thought I would not have access to the gallery space until Monday. I loaded and unloaded six pick up trucks full of clutter ranging from a rowboat to small items of jewelry and clothing. By Wednesday the exhibit began to take on its form. Cindy’s creation of a trompe l’oeil picket fence helped define the exhibit.

Taking the boat to the gallery.

A pickup full of clutter arrives.

The exhibit

It’s difficult to make judgments about one’s own work. But I do feel the show did try to offer something for everyone. The rules for the viewer were simple everything here could be picked up, tried on, turned on, played with, examined moved. My intent was to the audience to be a part of the show what they did with the clutter was part of the experience for them and for everyone else. In all I was impressed that photographs of the clutter at the exhibit appeared no different than photos of clutter at yard sales.

The Opening

The opening brought in a large crowd that gathered and rooted through the clutter. The work was well received by all except for one bitter soul who thought the opening was a real yard sale and was disgruntled that he could not buy the Yma Sumac records.

Divesting the Exhibit

The following Saturday I went about divesting myself of the work as the exhibit turned into an actual sale. The buyers had a great time disassembling the show. They ranged from a Latino family who made off with a lot of the toys to local dancer Michael Malone who made off with two cars loads of stuff ranging from a bubble lamp to butterfly wings. Nearly everything that was not sold was taken to the Salvation Army store down the street from the gallery.
While the show only lasted one week the series “Bring it on!” of which it was part continues through the summer. My videos and photographs are still on exhibit in the round gallery at the Contemporary Art Center.

Shopper testing exercise device.

Young shopper at sale tests plastic cleaver of giant Barbie.