PUBLISHER
Institute 193

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 6.5 x 9.25 in. / 352 pgs / 100 color / 80 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2019 p. 24   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781732848207 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $55.00 GBP £40.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Atlanta, GA
High Museum of Art, 03/02/19–05/19/19

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INSTITUTE 193

Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey

Edited by Phillip March Jones. Text by Jonathan Williams. Photographs by Roger Manley, Guy Mendes.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey.'

A classic grand tour of Southern folk art, from Howard Finster to Lonnie Holley

Walks to the Paradise Garden is the last unpublished manuscript of the late American poet, photographer, publisher, Black Mountain alumnus and bon viveur Jonathan Williams (1929–2008). This 352-page book chronicles Williams' road trips across the Southern United States with photographers Guy Mendes and Roger Manley in search of the most authentic and outlandish artists the South had to offer. Williams describes the project thus: "The people and places in Walks to the Paradise Garden exist along the blue highways of America.… We have traveled many thousands of miles, together and separately, to document what tickled us, what moved us, and what (sometimes) appalled us." The majority of these road trips took place in the 1980s, a pivotal decade in the development of Southern "yard shows," and many of the artists are now featured in major institutions. This book, however, chronicles them at the outset of their careers and provides essential context for their inclusion in the art historical canon. Taking its name from the famous artwork by Howard Finster, Walks to the Paradise Garden brings to light rare images and stories of Southern artists and creators who existed in near anonymity during the last half of the 20th century. Organized in chapters devoted to each artist, the book features Banner Blevins, Henry Dorsey, Sam Doyle, Howard Finster, Lonnie Holley, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Sister Gertrude Morgan, William C. Owens, Vollis Simpson, Edgar Tolson and Jeff Williams, among many others.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Literary Review

Donald Rayfield

Tobie Mathew’s magnificent book testifies to Russia’s unrepeatable two years of free-ranging political satire.

Lexington Herald Leader

Tom Eblen

This book is a delight, especially when you think it almost wasn’t published. Williams’ prose is as way-out as the artists, and he creatively and sometimes profanely chronicled his travels to find them. At its heart, though, this is a book of amazing photographs as unforgettable as their subjects — proud Southern individualists for whom creating art was as much a part of life as breathing.

Ace Weekly

Walks highlights images and stories of Southern artists and creators while they were still anonymous, before they were famous, or in some cases, infamous.

Hyperallergic

Edward M. Gómez

The book itself is both a substantive document and, in our no-attention-span Instagram era, a surprisingly performative one, too. Williams’ language makes each entry a tease. As a prospector with a keen eye and a storyteller itching to please, he seemed determined to dig up something new with each encounter.

Antiques and The Arts Weekly

James Balestrieri

The photographs, in these instances, offer crucial insights into the spiritual wellsprings of their aesthetic approaches and their artistic practice.

Antiques and the Arts Weekly

James Balestrieri

The photographs, in these instances, offer crucial insights into the spiritual wellsprings of their aesthetic approaches and their artistic practice.

Topic

Will Matsuda

Along with a deep sense of religious wonder, there is a sense of urgency to the work featured in Walks to the Paradise Garden, a compulsion to make more and more of it until it covered the walls of their homes, crowded the hallways, and spilled onto the front lawn.

BOMB

J.W. McCormack

Walks isn't merely a showcase for "Way Out People Way Out There," but a living testimony of those who will always be drawn toward the raw imagination's anti-commercial hinterland-even if it happens to reside in a concrete caveman outside a filling station.

Raw Vision

Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey is a new book of historical importance in the outsider art field, the insights of which will help deepen our understanding of the social-cultural environment from which many remarkable creations by self-taught artists of the American South have emerged.

Burnaway

Karen Tauches

The book contains much of the original wildness of the self-taught artists, photographers, and poet alike. Williams writes in a raucous free-form language alongside documentary photographs by Roger Manley and Guy Mendes.

Garden and Gun

CJ Lotz

[A] masterwork collection of rare stories and photos of now-famous Southern folk artists.

ARTnews

Anne Doran

[Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey is] a valuable—if unorthodox—addition to the history of self-taught art.

Collector Daily

Richard B. Woodward

A journey begun without a map or a clear destination, the book stops along the way for places of good eating (Williams devotes a chapter to Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN) and breaks up the wayward narrative with examples of yard or store signs seen or photographed along the road.

Seen

Ryan Filchak

Williams’ manuscript, now exhumed, provides a welcome catalyst for the reexamination of the discourse surrounding self taught artists, both in relation to the major museum efforts for inclusion and the shifting language used to place this work within a larger canon of art history.

Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/15/2019

Not a boring word or image to be found in 'Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey'

Not a boring word or image to be found in 'Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey'

Guy Mendes's 1986 photograph of "Royal Robertson's House," Baldwin, LA, is reproduced from Walks to the Paradise Garden: A Lowdown Southern Odyssey—a book that is universally loved here at Artbook | D.A.P. Collecting the radically unpretentious chronicles of poet, photographer, publisher and "survivor from the Days of Highbrow Culture" Jonathan Williams, and the corresponding photographs of Roger Manley and Guy Mendes, made while the trio road-trip-surveyed the most outlandish and autonomous folk art of the American South (primarily during the 1980s), the book is dedicated to "the bright-eyed, non-uppity, autochthonous, wacko, private, isolate, unconventional, un-paved, non-commercial, non-nice (but very-nice), naive, outside, fantastic, demeaned, sub-aesthetic, home-style and bushy-tailed" artists the group encountered along their meandering journeys. There's not a boring word or image in the book, lovingly compiled by editor Phillip March Jones. continue to blog



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