My friend has really been talking up this show at P.S. 1 featuring the illustrated manuscript of Henry Darger. There's quite a few references to Darger on the web. This one is quite informative. He died in 1972 at the age of 80 (or so.) But it wasn't until some time later that his "secret" manuscript was found by his landlord.
"His landlord was cleaning out his room after his death and came across a startling discovery: alone in his room, Darger had created a beautiful and violent fantasy world, primarily embodied in a 15,000 page epic narrative, 'The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.' Illustrated by several hundred large watercolors paintings as well as smaller drawings and collages, the Vivian Girls are seven preadolescent sisters, princesses, sometimes depicted as hermaphrodites, who fight against and ultimately prevail over evil deeds prepetrated by sadistic adults. They are aided in their battles by various Christian armies and also by Blengins, dragon-like animals, both fearsome and gentle, that are absolute protectors of children. The illustrations range from calm and pastoral to brutally violent."
Looks interesting. I love the idea that someone would create a 15,000 page illustrated manuscript and then never show anyone. That's some dedication to your craft. Any of you art folks ever hear of this guy? Do you think it might be worth the trip?
- jim 2-26-2001 6:08 pm

Yeah he's twisted. He used a technique of *tracing* isolated images from story books and then reinserting them (instead of just drawing them) into his weird battlefields. Great mad dreams.
- bill 2-26-2001 6:50 pm [add a comment]

  • He had a penchant for tracing a couple of little girls in particular. To the tracing he would often add a penis or a different face, often one which he drew off the top of his head...that is, not traced. His stuff makes the rounds to most of the folk art fairs. The Puck Building is often host to such events.
    - steve 2-27-2001 12:32 am [add a comment]

    • I recall Darger blowing my mind at the Outsider show in LA a number of years ago. The work seemed more like a transcript than an imaginative feat. There was also a huge chlorine green glowing Basquiat somewhere in the same museum & it seemed so paltry after Darger,sad really that such talent was goaded into showboating & masterpeice making. Poor Jean Michel or any artist for that matter is better off as a janitor. Then, a few years ago in Chiapas, at the Mayan ruins of Palenque, I ran into one of the Vivian girls while I was coming down the mountain boom boom boom. I gave her all the money I had on me & she gave me an orange. I fell to my knees weeping & of course she was gone. A German anthropologist later explained to me that zooomorphic hermaphrodites still living in the caves around Palenque have been seen by other like minded & gentle lurkers. Who needs to make things up? I can't even tell you what I saw at the Buffalo Jump 3 years ago ,Steve, but I can draw her when I see you.
      - frank 4-13-2001 7:40 am [add a comment]

      • did you still have the orange??
        - Skinny 4-13-2001 4:40 pm [add a comment]

        • I still have the orange. It is about the size of a walnut. When I finally tumbled out of the jungle & onto the lawns of the birthplace of arena rock, Pacal's tomb, an older Lacondon woman whispered something in spanish that I heard as "you are your own mother" & smiled & flashed open her hand revealing a 200 peso note ,as if to say, its all right gringo I've got it all under control, Fractal clockwork notwithstanding.
          - frank 4-19-2001 8:46 pm [add a comment]

      • Lovely.
        These sorts of experiences do raise the question "Why make things up?" or even "Why make things?" But for reasons not completly understood by me, we come around to making things again. It is partially an effort to pass such experiences on, wouldn't you say?......hmmm....having re-read your post......
        Yes, I'd like to see a drawing of her.
        - steve 4-15-2001 6:27 pm [add a comment]

        • Absolutely! Receive & transmit with as little inteference as possible. Imagination, the making up of things, seems to function as the simulator of continuity on accout of how weak& fragmented reception can seem even with the most adept artist at the controls. Like that elfin napkin you gave me or the Shroud of Turin. the most amazing pictures show up on the flimsiest films.The medium is the middleman-Al Giordano. Continuity addicts continuity addicts; Info=Dope-Wm Harmon.
          - frank 4-19-2001 9:00 pm [add a comment]

expensive to own
- Skinny 2-27-2001 1:54 am [add a comment]

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.