In the late 1970s a stockpile of over a thousand distinctive wire sculptures were found in cardboard boxes on the street in a slowly-gentrifying neighborhood in South Philadelphia. The works consist of different gauges of wire wrapped around everyday found objects and materials such as food packaging, umbrella parts, tape, batteries, pens, nuts and bolts, nails, foil, coins, toys, watches, eyeglasses, tools, and jewelry. The maker, who remains unidentified, possessed an astonishing ability to isolate and communicate the concepts of power and energy through his selection and transformation of these ordinary materials. The pieces are often compared to African fetish objects and other ritualized, vernacular traditions, but resonate equally with historical and contemporary art practices. The collection has come to be regarded as an important discovery in the field of self-taught art.
This fully illustrated catalogue includes a foreword by John Ollman, an essay by Brendan Greaves, and was designed by Purtill Family Business with cover typography by artist and designer Paul Elliman.
- Philadelphia Wireman
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