The works depicted in Self-Made Worlds--some very well-known, others presented for the first time--challenge long-standing ideas about what art is and what it can be. From Le Palais Idéal, built in a small French village by the mailman Cheval, to the Hubcap Ranch by Litto Damonte of California, to Nek Chand's hundreds of human and animal sculptures made from waste and recycled materials and set in a massive landscaped rock garden in northwest India, Self-Made Worlds is an international tour of some of the most remarkable manifestations of the idiosyncratic, eccentric glory of the human imagination.
Ever since the first cave dweller decorated the walls with charcoal and ocher, people have sought to elaborate on their immediate surroundings in ways that balance the relationships between themselves and the world they live in. Scattered across the globe are remarkable individuals variously termed "outsiders," "obsessive visionaries," and "folk artists," for whom the everyday conventions of modern society do not apply. These unique individuals and the environments they create are celebrated in Self-Made Worlds.
Included is a comprehensive, illustrated appendix locating all sites known to the authors.
Included environments by: Ferdinand Cheval, Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, St. EOM, Howard Finster, Abbé Fouré, Annie Hooper, Leonard Knight, Mickey McGowan, Mary Nohl, Simon Rodia, Nek Chand Saini, Vollis Simpson, Fred Smith, Robert Tatin, and many others.
Photographers whose work appears in Self-Made Worlds are: John Blumb, Lucinda Bunnen, Ron Byers, Ted Degener, John Geldersma, Lawrence Harris, Guy Mendes, Tom Rankin, Marcus Schubert, John Vachon, and Michelle Van Parys.
The META Museum is an unincorporated creative collaboration started by Mark Sloan, Roger Manley, and Michelle Van Parys in 1985. The META is a conceptual museum which neither occupies a building nor holds a permanent collection. Its purpose is to probe the ulterior questions of the museum world. Since its inception, the META Museum has produced exhibitions, publications, symposia, conferences, public actions, and media events internationally. The museum sponsors a biennial symposium (with no agenda) on the site of the former Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Museum correspondents live worldwide and contribute to various META projects, including this book.
"The range of places offered to both the neophyte and to the veteran opens up a wealth of previously unpublicized locations. We would hope for the Land of Pasaquan, the Postman's Palace, and Nek Chand's Rock Garden. But we might not know Butt's Dream House, Vollis Simpson's Windmill Park, Annie Hooper's Bible Stories, or Banner Blevins's Garden of Pre-History. The indefatigable Roger Manley is the guide to many of these wonders."--Jonathan Williams "These intrepid souls may build cement towers embedded with thousands of found objects . . . they may construct vast landscapes out of society's detritus in the name of religion or a personal vision; they may cover their houses with beer cans, hubcaps, or embalmnig fluid jars while their neighbors and passersby look on with delight or horror, and nearly always with fascination."--Mark Sloan "Whatever it is, it's not nothin' local. But it sure is pretty."--said by a neighbor of St. EOM's Land of Pasaquan