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Comments (2) Posted 09.30.12 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 09.30.12


Earlier this week, on September 27, was the opening of my exhibition Art Without Artists at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Almost a year of curatorial planning went into this wide-ranging exhibit, which includes 19th-century firefighting respirator masks, handmade game boards, signage, scientific devices, anonymous snapshots, quilts, and natural objects such as minerals and rocks. The exhibit’s focus includes objects never originally intended to be art — objects that today hold mystery and extraordinary design. Roger Manley, Director of the Gregg Museum is co-curator. The exhibition will be up through December 16, 2012.

Art without Artists
Anonymous painting of Abraham Lincoln, c. 1930s, United States, oil on canvas, (fire damaged), 26" x 18", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
John F. Kennedy paint-by-number board, 1964, United States, ink printed on canvas board, 18" x 12", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Anonymous death mask l’inconnue de la seine, c. 1920s, France, hard rubber, 12" x 8" x 6", collection of Steve Erenberg

Art without Artists
Ceremonial mask, 20th century, Mexico, fashioned from found soccer ball, paper, twine, 7 1/2" x 8 1/4" x 8", collection of Shari Cavin and Randall Morris

Art without Artists
Firefighter’s respirator mask, 19th century, England, brass, leather, mica, 16" x 8" x 11", collection of Steve Erenberg

  Art without Artists
Firefighter’s respirator mask, 1918, France, brass, leather, mica, rubber, 12" x 9" x 10", collection of Steve Erenberg

Art without Artists
(Left) Anonymous plaster head, c. 1950, United States, rain-damaged plaster, 14" x 8" x 12"; (Right) Missouri river rock, United States, found natural stone, 12" x 11" x 8", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Fireplace bellows, 19th century, United States, painted wood, leather, metal, 23" x 9", collection of American Primitive Gallery, New York

Art without Artists
Bottle rack, c. 1910, France, galvanized metal, 20" x 18" diameter, private collection

Art without Artists
Store display of children’s spats, c. 1920, England, leather, buttons, 12" x 17", collection of Steve Erenberg

Art without Artists
Carousel Hell Ride, c. 1955, American, anonymous silver gelatin snapshot, 3 1/2" x 3 1/2", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Homemade game board, c. 1950s, United States, counter top linoleum, aluminum frame, 12" x 12", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Letter blotter sheet, 19th century, United States, ink on heavy cotton paper, 10 1/2" x 8", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Make-do Backpack, c. 1945, United States, wood chair back, wool shirt, axe, sleeping bag, rope, 36" x 17" x 8", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Boro (futon cover), before 1945, Japan, indigo dye, cotton, 56" x 56", collection of Shari Cavin and Randall Morris

Art without Artists
Hot water bottle, c. 1930, United States, rubber, 12" x 8", collection of Steve Erenberg

Art without Artists
House ballerina (detail), c. 1930, Germany, anonymous silver gelatin snapshot, 5" x 3", collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Navajun fool’s gold, Spain, natural object, iron pyrite crystals, 5 1/2" x 7 1/4" x 7", collection of Jim Goodnight

Art without Artists
Crazy quilt, c. 1920–50, United States, cotton batting, pieced cotton and wool top, 62" x 72", Gregg Museum collection, gift of A. Everette James Jr. and Dr. Nancy J. Farmer

Art without Artists
Animal horn clipper, 19th century, United States, iron, 37" x 8" x 1", collection of American Primitive Gallery, New York

Art without Artists
Spool of drugstore prescriptions, 1951, United States, paper prescriptions on wire, wood, 24" x 7" diameter, collection of John and Teenuh Foster

Art without Artists
Improvised chimney cleaning device, c. 1940s, United States, galvanized bucket, wood, iron bolts, 13" x 10" diameter, collection of Rick Ege

Art without Artists
Art Without Artists catalog, 2012, 64-pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2”; designed by TOKY Branding + Design

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Comments (2)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

A great collection of objects, I really like the Mexican ceremonial mask. Marcel Duchamp used the bottle drying rack as one of his
ready-made art pieces. The letter blotter and crazy quilt also deserve a mention. Thanks
Rigadoon23
09.30.12 at 05:50

oh my, one of the best yet. decayed lawn plaster is everywhere these days!
CH
10.01.12 at 12:19



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John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.
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