Monday, January 26, 2009

Henry Darger is everywhere!

I will admit that I was unfamiliar with Henry Darger, though I am sure I had seen images of his work before I went to the Messages and Magic show at the Kohler Art Center last week.

Then this weekend I saw Jessica Yu's fascinating documentary Protagonist on our digital cable's "free movies on demand" channel, and had to look her up on IMDb, where I found she had previously made a documentary about Darger, In the Realms of the Unreal. So now I'm waiting to get that DVD through interlibrary loan.

And then in last night's episode of The Simpsons, Lisa and her new best friend visit the Folk Art Museum where you can see Henry Darger's art hanging on a wall in the background, including "Spangled Blengins" (above), which I had just seen at the Kohler. (Lisa also stopped to look at some Joseph Cornell shadow boxes, so I'm sure there are a lot of other real artists represented in that one brief scene, and someone somewhere on the interweb will analyze this is great detail.)

On a side note: Protagonist explores Euripidean dramatic structure through the life stories of four different modern men and is much more riveting than that sounds and also visually interesting because of a Greek chorus of puppets (not as cheesy as it sounds but some reviewers apparently found them distracting) and animated title cards for each section inspired by ancient Greek art. This in turn reminded me of another documentary that I recommend to everyone: Anne Marie Fleming's The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. (There's a book too, but the movie came first and is much more fun to watch.)


lisavollrath said...

I loved In the Realms of the Unreal. It gave real insight into how Darger worked, and the mindset behind the world he created in his work.

vintagepix said...

I just got the e-mail that the DVD's already available for pick-up so that's what I'll be watching while crafting this week!

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