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The Old Man in the Polka-Dotted Dress : Looking for Henry Darger
The Old Man in the Polka-Dotted Dress : Looking for Henry Darger
Click to enlarge
Author(s): Morrison, C. L.
Morrison, Carolee
ISBN No.: 9780374225896
Pages: 224
Year: 209901
Format: Trade Cloth (Hard Cover)
Price: £21.95
Status: Out Of Print (Not available from Oakleaf Books)

An engaging, thoroughly unconventional memoir about an engaging, thoroughly unconventional artist In 1977, C. L. Morrison, a young Chicago correspondent for "Artforum magazine, was asked to curate the first exhibition of the art of the late Henry J. Darger. Darger had lived for forty years in a Chicago boarding house, working as a janitor at a local hospital, shambling around the neighborhood and digging through garbage bins. He died penniless and unknown in 1973 at the age of eighty-one, and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. But in Darger's room was a substantial legacy indeed: unfathomable quantities of watercolors that accompanied 15,000 pages of a lavish mythology that chronicled the war between the heroic Vivian Girls of Abbiennia and the ruthless Glandelinean warlords who had enslaved their little sisters. Morrison spent a summer in Darger's room, cooled by his wobbly propeller-blade fan, banging away on his Remington No.

8 manual typewriter, organizing and cataloguing the artist's watercolor scrolls, handmade books, and stacks of manuscripts. Darger is now considered the most famous of "outsider artists," and his art is worth a fortune. In" The Old Man in the Polka-dotted Dress, Morrison uses her unique experience to raise provocative questions: How is it that Darger could be a hero in death but an outcast in life? Is there an ethical way to celebrate and publicize such work? Who, in the end, gets to be called an artist?.

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