American Primitive: Discoveries in Folk Sculpture

Roger Ricco and Frank Maresca with Julia Weissman, 1988
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf.

Pages: 283

“The authors, dealers and collectors of American self-taught and Outsider art, Ricco, Maresca and Weissman, here focus on creations that are visionary, offbeat, and fetishistic in their raw power. Many of the pieces are anonymous; most have never been exhibited or illustrated anywhere. A polychrome wood Baby in a Chair (found in upstate New York, late 19th century) has the magical potency of an African totem. Other compelling works are the phantasmagorical Janus-Faced Root Fantasy and a gaunt, Giacometti-like Scarecrow. Illustrations show amazing weathervanes, shop signs, decoys, face jugs, whirligigs, ships’ figureheads, busts, canes, and ballot boxes. Calling these pieces “folk” art obscures their significance, the authors insist, and this revelatory survey is a major act of cultural restoration that brings to light a body of native American art with affinities to the primitivist-inspired modernism of European artists.”

-Publisher’s Weekly

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