(Roughly) Daily

Is this a Darger I see before me?…

Long-time readers may recall an earlier missive on Henry Darger, the Chicago janitor who, it was discovered on his death at 80 in 1972, had created an extraordinary legacy: amongst a thousand balls of string, old newspapers, magazines and comic books, religious kitsch and much more, his landlord (the photographer Nathan Lerner) found a creative life’s work: an enormous literary and pictorial production– the key element of which was a picaresque epic in 12 massive volumes (roughly 19,000 pages of legal-sized paper filled with single-spaced typing), “The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.”

More accessibly, Darger also left several hundred watercolor paintings, many of them illustrations of the Vivian Saga.

Darger

AT BATTLE OF DROSABELLAMAXIMILLAN. SEEING GLANDELINIANS RETREATING VIVIAN GIRLS GRASP CHRISTIAN BANNERS, AND LEAD CHARGE AGAINST FOE

The peripatetic among us should know that the American Folk Art Museum in New York is running, through September 21, a show called Dargerism, featuring Darger’s work and the work of others who, in the same spirit, put a Surrealist sensibility to the service of disturbing viewers deeply. More on Henry Darger and his work here.

As we head for the ramparts, we might pause to sketch a birthday greeting to a very different (and altogether more comforting) sort of painter, Thomas Gainsborough, the 18th century master of landscape and portraiture, born this date in 1727.

Gainsborough

Gainsborough’s “Mr. and Mrs. Andrews”

Written by LW

May 14, 2008 at 1:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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