Spiritual American Trash: Portraits from the Margins of Art and Faith [NOOK Book]

Overview


In Spiritual American Trash, Greg Bottoms goes beyond the examination of eight ?outsider artists? and inhabits the spirit of their work and stories in engaging vignettes. From the janitor who created a holy throne room out of scraps in a garage, to the lonely wartime mother who filled her home with driftwood replicas of Bible scenes, Bottoms illustrates the peculiar grace in madness.

Using facts as scaffolding he constructs intimate ...
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Spiritual American Trash: Portraits from the Margins of Art and Faith

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Overview


In Spiritual American Trash, Greg Bottoms goes beyond the examination of eight “outsider artists” and inhabits the spirit of their work and stories in engaging vignettes. From the janitor who created a holy throne room out of scraps in a garage, to the lonely wartime mother who filled her home with driftwood replicas of Bible scenes, Bottoms illustrates the peculiar grace in madness.

Using facts as scaffolding he constructs intimate narratives around each artist, painting their poor and difficult circumstances on the outskirts of American society and demonstrating struggle’s influence on their largely undiscovered art. Both mournful and celebratory, these profiles embrace these compulsive creators with empathy and visceral sensory details.

Each sentence reads with the cadence of a preacher who engages the art of the spirit and passion that often strays into obsession. Raised in the working-class South as a devout Christian with a deeply troubled brother, Bottoms understands how these eight outsiders “made art for a higher power and for themselves.”
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Spiritual American Trash

“Bottoms makes a sincere attempt to infuse his accounts...with empathy and understanding.” —Library Journal

Library Journal
Essayist and critic Bottoms (The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art) profiles a series of self-taught outsider artists who made art not with the hopes of achieving social recognition or commercial gain, but as a means of making sense of their often difficult lives and of appealing to higher spiritual powers. Rather than following an empirical approach to incorporating these mostly rural, American artists into the formal narrative of art history, Bottoms adopts a deeply subjective, semi-fictional mode of writing, weaving together facts and speculation to offer rich portraits of these sometimes inscrutable individuals. Such a project, at once biographical and fanciful, necessarily runs the risk of distortion or condescension. Fortunately, Bottoms makes a sincere attempt to infuse his accounts of such figures as Clarence Schmidt, a man who married his cousin and spent decades building a labyrinthine wood cabin in upstate New York, with empathy and understanding. VERDICT This book will greatly appeal to those seeking an engaging, nonacademic account of the world of outsider art.—Jonathan Patkowski, CUNY Graduate Ctr.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619022102
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 723,506
  • File size: 1,010 KB

Meet the Author


An essayist, memoirist, critic, and story writer, Greg Bottoms is the author of The Colorful Apocalypse and Fight Scenes. He teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont.
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