Howard Finster: “Paradise Garden”

Howard Finster: “Paradise Garden” Выставки Атланта

Folk and self-taught art is a subject of a special interest and preservation at the High Museum of Art. The donation of works by Nellie Mae Rowe in 1996 put a start to the museum’s folk art collection. Among multiple other items by local talents, nowadays the museum possesses part of a giant body of heavenly inspired pieces of art by Reverend Howard Finster united by the concept of Paradise Garden.

Paradise Garden is a stunning spot in Chattanooga County: a park, a place of worship, a giant installation, a roadside attraction at once; a mould of Eden as seen through the eyes of a Baptist preacher and a bicycle mechanic. Having bought a piece of swampy land, Finster enlivened it with thousands of art pieces (mostly his own, though he also welcomed other local artists). Among the objects he created in plenty, there are graffiti, sculptures, encrusted miniature mountains, concrete walkways, structures like the World’s Folk Art Church or bicycle details-constructed tower. All of the above emerged as a result of a vision Fenster once had and was meant to serve to the glory of God.

Since 1980s, Paradise Garden has been attracting tourists and experts, inspiring musicians like R.E.M. or Talking Head and Finster’s local fellow artists. The interest towards it has enlivened the rather economically disadvantaged Chattooga County, first of all, its artistic community. The High Museum of Art displays its public collection of concrete sculptures, sidewalk slabs, signs and paintings from the Paradise Garden.

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