A CARROT FOR A NOSE: The Form of Folk Sculpture On America's City Streets and Country Roads by M.J. Gladstone

A CARROT FOR A NOSE: The Form of Folk Sculpture On America's City Streets and Country Roads

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It seems to us that the snowman which Gladstone, a former director of New York's Museum of American Folk Art, has chosen for his frontispiece and title does not do justice to the scope and quality of his material -- otherwise consisting of less ephemeral objects, namely weathervanes, whirligigs, pavement lids, trade signs, gravestones, decoys and carousel figures. The numerous photos and drawings (many from the Index of American Design) of judiciously selected examples are themselves an eye opening introduction, and Gladstone's intelligent captions (for example on the sense of fantasy and surrealistic ridiculousness evident in some early 20th century toy ""windmills"") add to their value. The text combines description with informal history -- of the wind driven figures now called whirligigs though that term seems originally to have applied to carousels, of the cigar store Indian created in early 17th century England, of the weathercock which was first used on church steeples by papal decree as a reminder of Christ's warning to Peter, of the pawnshop trademark derived from three bags of gold in a legend of St. Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of the poor. Above all Gladstone makes readers aware of the interesting and impressive folk art forms to be found not in museums but along streets and roads where anyone might come across them -- and the rubbings of decorative pavement lids included here are just one reminder that anyone can become a collector without traveling far or buying an item.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Scribners