DADDY-O by Bob Wade

DADDY-O

Iguana Heads and Texas Tales
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Entertaining stories--with some tall tales mixed in, no doubt- -from the life of a renegade Texan artist. Best known, at least in media circles, for building the giant iguana that festooned New York City's Lone Star CafÇ during the 1980s, Wade has had a long and varied career. He begins this autobiography reminiscing about growing up building hot rods, raising hell south of the border, and living the University of Texas fraternity life (where he acquired the ``Daddy-O'' moniker). Wade makes a few interesting observations here: for instance, that hot rod car culture's ideal of the ``custom-built'' influenced him and other budding artists. But his main concern is to establish his bona fides as a wild guy and enfant terrible of the nascent Texas art world in the early 1970s. At this point, Wade and the Zimmerman brothers (coauthors, with John Lydon, of Rotten, 1994) begin devoting each chapter to one or another of the monumental public sculptures that Wade has spent his life creating. His oversize map of Texas, adorned with real dirt and road signs, inspires him to celebrate the American bicentennial with a kitsch-laden model of the USA as big as a football field. The notoriety of the New York iguana brings Wade commissions to build towering cowboy boots in Washington, D.C., and a set of rooftop frogs for a Dallas club. Wade's attitude occasionally wears thin. He seems to hold back intellectual insights in favor of buttressing his devil-may-care persona. But he describes with plenty of detail the nuts and bolts of his projects, the ups and downs of public reaction to them, and all the fun he's had along the way. Those looking to experience the wild side of art will find this a fine map. (8 pages b&w photos, 8 pages color photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13459-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995




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