Miracles of the Spirit: Folk, Art and Stories from Wisconsin

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by Don Krug and Ann Parker, hardcover
314 pages, University Press of Mississippi

Travelers to Wisconsin discover a tremendous heritage of art traditions including sacred grottoes, yard environments, and enticing private spaces. In the land of the cheesehead, a giant fiberglass muskie, a statue of E.T., and scrap metal dinosaurs beckon from the roadside.

From 1991 to 2000, Don Krug and Ann Parker traveled throughout Wisconsin to the urban areas, small towns, and rural communities, talking with artists who created outside the mainstream of university and museum art worlds. Some of the individuals profiled in this book have begun to receive recognition as artists far outside of the state. However, for many, this will be their first introduction to the general public.

Featuring 30 color and 188 black-and-white photographs, the book is organized geographically into eastern, central, western, and northern regions of the state. Each regional division begins with a descriptive tour of the land, the life, and the art that characterize the richness of Wisconsin's cultural landscape. Each section also includes artists' narratives, twenty-six in all, transcribed from interviews Krug and Parker conducted in their travels. Here the artists speak for themselves, relating how they began making art, and how, through art, their interests, values, and personal fulfillment are all interwoven.

Idiosyncratic makers of art are too often misrepresented as if their practices arise out of some inherent, spontaneous, or accidental creativity. This book seeks to challenge these assumptions. In the final two chapters the authors place Wisconsin’s abundance of visual culture into regional, national, and international contexts.

List price: $65