Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In the Wilderness: The Unknown Art of James Magee
“What happens if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it?” Willard Spiegelman asks intriguingly in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. “What happens if a man spends 30 years building an architectural-spiritual monument in the west Texas desert, which few people have seen and probably very few will ever see?” Who Spiegelman is talking about is James Magee, a reclusive sculptor whom another critic believes may be "America's greatest living unknown artist," a dubious and unwelcome title for most. What Spiegelman is talking about is The Hill (shown above), a massive work of art set in the arid desert 90 minutes outside of El Paso, Texas, that Magee has been working on for 30 years. Magee’s reclusive days may be over with a new exhibition of his work and resulting media attention. Will success spoil the rock sculptor? It seems unlikely for this artist who at the age of 64 now wanders into the mainstream from the wilderness—a prophet of individual art professing a new gospel to the commercialized art industry that has no idea who he is or what to make of him. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "In the Wilderness."