Disturbing Sculptures Art Gallery — It’s a Real Place

Disturbing Sculptures Art Gallery (that’s really the name)
1100 Highway 101
Crescent City, California

Well, if you’re gonna name your art gallery “disturbing,” you’d better deliver. And this Northern California roadside attraction earns its name. One minute you’re cruising north on Highway 101, almost to the Oregon state line and promised nirvana, and the next minute you’ve U-turned so fast your dog yelps.

 

According to a Roadside America article, this gallery is the home of 3 artists, two of whom appear to be quite normal (driftwood sculptures and chainsaw sculptures). But the third, who luckily was not on-site the day I visited, has some issues.

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Outsider Art — Why You Need It

This weekend provides a rare opportunity to peek into an artist’s lair and walk away with a piece of it at a relatively-reasonable price.  This estate sale is at the home studio of Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, who will be in and out during the sale and is happy to sign his art for you.
Mike and Roger Estate Sales, July 26-28, 2019, (816) 309-2728

 

Each week I look diligently through the online posts for estate sales — a chance to walk into a stranger’s house and look at all their stupid stuff (it’s the stupid stuff that sticks around for the sales), and snoop around their homes.  It’s fascinating to see what people spend their money on.  And then, on my way home with a car full of someone else’s old junk, a brief moment of self-awareness sometimes kick in when I realize how I’m spending MY money.

But this week something unique caught my eye — a chance to walk into a strange artist’s home and look at all his piled-up art. I think most artists don’t appreciate their talent, so their basements collect piles of cast-aside work. That certainly seems the case with local Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, the talented sculpter, painter, cut-paper artist, cut metal artist, potter, poured glass, collage artist. He’s well-known in art circles for his outsider art.

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Gateway to imperfection…

My Home-as-Scrapbook philosophy makes me constantly re-invent displays and vignettes around the house. I’ve been hauling this old gate around for years, but finally found a wall for it in my new home office.

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It has been so much fun pulling all my priceless treasures out of shoeboxes to display them. I’m using all kinds of things to connect them to the gate…binder clips, clothespins, S-hooks, a bracelet, and…vintage jewelry. Clip earrings are the most fun!

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Day 3 – Albuquerque to Shamrock

375 miles (not enough!)
Gas was $2.49/gallon in Albuquerque

Woke up to snowflakes this morning in Albuquerque, but it was all gone by the time we got outside, so Panda will have to wait to experience snow (probably not too long!). I spent some time in Santa Rosa, New Mexico today, which I missed on last year’s trip. It’s one of those cool historic towns on Route 66 that was bypassed with the building of I-40. It must have been ultra-cool back in the day, with neon lights to rival any town of that size. It’s sad to see the empty buildings languish today.

We’re not going all the way to Chicago, but…Panda don’t care…

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

 

One final stop of the day: Cadillac Ranch, the ultimate folk art installation in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. The first time I visited this mecca was in the summer and it was crawling with people — hard to get a clear shot of a single car. So it was a special joy to have the whole place to myself today. I’d spent the day listening to a classic rock station from Amarillo, and Keith Richards’ Autobiography, Live, read on Audible by the delicious Johnny Depp. So, I don’t know why, but it seemed fitting that the song playing as I drove away from the Cadillacs was “Free Bird.”

Ended up in Shamrock, Texas. Wanted to keep driving, but there was heavy fog, so we hunkered down in a hotel in the shadow of the historic U Drop Inn.

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

Summerland Beach Cafe (is awesome)…

Summerland Beach Cafe
2294 Lillie Avenue
Summerland, California
805-959-1019
http://summerlandbeachcafe.com

An idyllic beachside location in an 1893 Victorian home in an adorable California coastal town just south of Santa Barbara…what else does a cafe need? How about a giant DOG FRIENDLY sign??? That’s all it took to grab my attention. I love dog people. They’re the best kind of people persons. I think I would walk into a burning building if it had a DOG FRIENDLY sign on it (wait a minute…I would definitely do that!). So I was SO pleasantly surprised that the Summerland Beach Cafe is not only DOG FRIENDLY, but also a charming, homey, adorably-decorated cafe with REALLY GOOD FOOD. Bonus!!!

I love restaurants in old houses, and this one sits just around the corner from the iconic Big Yellow House, a long-shuttered house/restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway. The Summerland Beach Cafe has occupied a very cool old Victorian house, originally built in 1893, since 1981, and the walls still boast the original painted murals. A super-nice guy we ran into on the way out turned out to be owner Jeff Melnik, who told us that one of the original artists is now a Disney artist. Not surprising. The walls are whimsical in a very story-book way, and I love that they’ve been protected and are cherished.

But I guess you go to a cafe to eat. And for puppies. (There was a dog adoption in the parking lot when we visited). Both the puppies and the food were delicious. I had the La Rosa grilled chicken sandwich with grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, jack cheese, onions, and pesto on a Ciabatta roll. I’m still dreaming about it.

I spend a lot of time (though never enough) on Pacific Coast Highway between LA and Santa Barbara, so it’s great to find another magical stopover. I can’t wait to go back!

Abandoned…

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

The road from Flagstaff to Winslow, Arizona is interesting, but depressing. So many of the Route 66 attractions are disintegrating into unsalvageable ruins. It all makes for great photos, but the reality is harsh. Twin Arrows, Two Guns, Meteor City…

TWO GUNS — At one time a campground and zoo where families made memories

TWIN ARROWS — This area is a dichotomy, as much of Route 66 is. The arrows have been repainted and maintained, but the buildings fall down around them. The whole area is surrounded by concrete K-rails at an exit ramp, and I might have been able to climb over them if it wasn’t pouring down rain when I got there. But somehow the rain seemed appropriate.

 

FOR MORE ARIZONA PHOTOS CLICK HERE

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture in Joshua Tree, California

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

“Born in Snow Hill, Alabama in 1917, Noah Purifoy lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, where he died in 2004. He received an undergraduate degree from Alabama State Teachers College in 1943 and a graduate degree from Atlanta University in 1948. In 1956, just shy of his fortieth birthday, Purifoy received a BFA from Chouinard, now CalArts. His earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from the 1965 Watts Rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon (1966), a landmark group exhibition on the riots that traveled throughout the country. As a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center, Purifoy knew the community intimately. His 66 Signs of Neon, in line with the postwar period’s fascination with the street and its objects, constituted a Duchampian approach to the fire-molded alleys of Watts. This strategy profoundly impacted artists then emerging in Los Angeles and beyond, such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi, who all worked with him. For the twenty years that followed the rebellion, Purifoy dedicated himself to the found object, and to using art as a tool for social change. In the late 1980’s after eleven years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where he initiated programs such as ‘Artists in Social Institutions,’ which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert, where he lived for the last fifteen years of his life creating ten-acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders.”  — http://noahpurifoy.com

It’s in the middle of the desert and not easy to find…like any oasis or mirage.  But it’s well worth the effort and, if you’re lucky enough to have the place all to yourself, as I did for a brief time, it’s spiritual, awe-inspiring, whimsical, and an amazing testament to one man’s determination and genius.  I spent almost 4 hours there recently (including the 30 minutes my dog decided to go on a big adventure in the desert), and it passed in the blink of an eye.

MORE magical photos here