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Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum Hardcover – December 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810913984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810913981
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sweetly colored, pleasingly composed, and delicately rendered, Henry Darger's scroll-like paintings of armies of transsexual children have had a cult status since they were first shown in 1997 at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. The museum's paintings are part of a vast series illustrating the artist's 15,000-page story about the rescue of naked abducted children by seven little girls. Darger, a reclusive janitor and self-taught artist with ambivalent feelings about religion, spent his childhood in a Catholic orphanage, and in the years before his death in 1973 attended Mass several times daily. The real virtues of this slender book are the 114 full-color illustrations of the paintings, which range from fanciful nature scenes to gruesome battle images. The chief essay, by Michel Thévoz, is a pretentious effort that treats Darger's startling and wholly original pastiche of images drawn from magazines and coloring books at a fastidious arm's length. --Cathy Curtis

From Library Journal

Chicago artist Henry Darger was a reclusive janitor who created a massive body of highly imaginative artwork that continues to amaze critics nearly 30 years after his death. In addition to several hundred drawings, Darger produced many double-sided paintings, voluminous diaries, an autobiography of more than 5000 pages, and an illustrated, 15,000-page fictional epic about the "Vivian Girls." This extraordinary output would have been lost to the world were it not for the efforts of his landlord, Nathan Lerner, a photographer and cofounder of the Institute of Design. (After Lerner's death, his widow created the Henry Darger Study Center in collaboration with the American Folk Art Museum in New York.) Anderson, director of the Contemporary Center of the American Folk Art Museum, offers this slim catalog for this spring's exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum. While it is nicely illustrated with more than 100 of Darger's drawings, it pales in comparison with Michael Bonesteel's Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings a richer, much more readable book that paints an insightful portrait of this mysterious and sometimes fascinating character. With most of its only ten pages of text written in a flowery and pretentious tone, this book should not be considered a necessary purchase. Margarete Gross, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By brian c brehmer on May 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that before i picked up this volume, i wasnt certain of the answer to the aforementioned question. I knew about him, had read bits and pieces about him, but did not know the full scope of his talent.
This book allows the reader to see not just his art, but to catch a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of his madness/genius. The art work is brilliantly reproduced (seeing his stack of journals made the book worthwhile for me).
If you are at all interested in seeing the work and a glimpse of the life of one of the outsider art masters, i suggest that you pick up this book at once.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. Rosen on August 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was published to go with the large Henry Darger retrospective in New York and has all the great drawings (which are huge) reproduced. Darger had such a unique vision and there is so much detail in his artwork. Is he a genius? Yes!
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By SunKyungHwang on October 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great!
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10 of 32 people found the following review helpful By jefferson metcalf on October 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
there is no question, henry darger is not a genius. the fascinating visual effect of his pictures is not contrived, it is the real result of an extremely neurotic man. but that's what makes these pictures so hard to forget.

to put them in context, almost all of the known works of henry darger are a part of the same epic narrative project. the drawings are accompanied by a 5,000 page plus text, telling the story of the vivian girls.

darger was not very good at drawing figures, so he traced photos and cartoons he clipped from magazines and newspapers. supposedly he once lost the newspaper photo of a kidnapped girl that he had been using for one of the main characters, and this forced him to write into the story a search for her. he was so frustrated by this loss that he cursed god and exhibited some sort of religious tantrum.

it is very interesting to look at his pictures and speculate on how each one came to be. i saw one in a museum, which had four cowboys on horses, positioned in a diamond formation, each lasoing a little girl. the space created is distorted like an optical illusion, with spots collapsing and overlapping in ways that do not make sense, so that you can see one object appears in front of another in one spot but behind it in another.

these pictures might give you nightmares or cause seizures.
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