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catapult me from the phoniness of this world

Post #390 • October 19, 2004, 6:39 AM

Michelle Delio for Wired: An Artist's Junkyard of Dreams.

It's housed in what appears at first to be an enormous junkyard surrounded by a forest. But look carefully at the piles of rusted machinery and metal, and you'll slowly begin to see dozens of fantastic constructions built from bits and pieces of old machines, peeking out from odd corners and cavorting in the forest clearings. In the center of it all is the Forevertron, all 320 tons of it, arguably the world's largest scrap-metal sculpture. It's up to you to decide whether it is also, as its creator claims, an antigravity machine intended to propel its creator into the heavens, assembled by Dr. Evermor, a Victorian-age hacker from Eggington, England.

Now here's an artist statement I can get behind:

As [67-year-old artist Tom] Every tells the story of Evermor: "When he was a child, Dr. Evermor witnessed a massive electrical storm with his father, a Presbyterian minister. Asked where lightning came from, his father told Evermor that such awesome power could come only from God. From that day on, Evermor dedicated his life to constructing an antigravity machine and spacecraft that would catapult him from the phoniness of this world to the ultimate truth and power of the next."

And anyone who thinks museum labeling often goes over the top will appreciate this:

There are no neat explanatory labels on plaques to help visitors understand the complicated workings of the Forevertron. To envision the project's purpose, you either have to hope Dr. Evermor or his wife, Lady Eleanor, are around when you visit or just use your own imagination to try to figure it all out.

"Look, this isn't Disneyland," said Every. "I'm not here to entertain you. If you want to have fun here, you have to participate, you have to add your own thoughts into the mix. Boring people are totally bored here, but interesting people have a great time."

Road trip!

In a possibly related item by Ken Johnson for the New York Times: From the Outside, a World of Celestial Beings.

American Primitive Gallery in SoHo specializes in the works of so-called outsider artists - self-taught eccentrics driven by unusually intense creative and imaginative energies. Its current show features an artist called L-15, a name given to him, he has written, by "Intergalactic Guru Angels" who cured him of a mysterious case of internal bleeding in a hospital in Roswell, N.M., in the mid-1980's.

It seems like everybody's got an ax to grind in the art world:

As for visual art, Mr. Schatz's teachers at U.C.L.A. encouraged him to continue his studies, he said, but he was wary of the academic path and remains largely self-taught. Discussing his career by phone from his home in Charlottesville, Va., he said: "I'm not naïve. I've spent my whole life studying art. But I would rather be classified with the naïve, visionary artists than with the dull, bored, overtrained academic artists or with artists that just do what's in vogue."

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