James Castle: a retrospective

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Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jun 15, 2008 - Architecture - 251 pages
James Castle (1899-1977) never learned to speak, read, or write - and left his native state of Idaho only once - and yet he created a wide range of extraordinary works that resonate with much of 20th-century art. This book offers the first critical exploration of the many creative genres of this self-taught artist, who first came to notice in the 1950s and 1960s but has only recently been recognized by major museums.
Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 full-color reproductions and packaged with an original documentary DVD illuminating fascinating aspects of his life and art, this book examines Castle's drawings, color-wash works, idiosyncratic cardboard and paper constructions, and word, sign, and symbol pieces. As a child he developed his favorite medium and method of working, mixing stove soot with saliva and applying this "ink" with sharpened sticks and cotton wads to such found materials as product packaging and discarded paper. These everyday materials have given his works a singular, immediate, and appealing natural quality.

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James Castle: a retrospective

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James Castle (1899-1977), born profoundly deaf, lived within his own silent world, communicating solely through his art, and he left an innovative and imaginative body of work. The Philadelphia Museum ... Read full review


Unfolding the Familiar
Feather in the Doorjamb
Tying Things Together

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About the author (2008)

Ann Percy is curator of drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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