the orange show

i realize i’ve had a lot of birthday posts lately, but i haven’t gotten around to posting about mine, which occurred about three weeks ago.  the day beforehand, mr. grwhryrpltd and i picked up my sister (who had a conveniently scheduled business meeting later in the week) in houston so she could join in on the festivities.  our first stop was one of the quirkiest art houses in houston, the orange show center for visionary art:

2402 munger st. houston, tx

welcome to the folk art hub of houston, tx

in 1954, jeff mckissack, a retired postal worker, hobbiest plantsman and eccentric artisan, decided to persue his dream of opening a citrus nursery (so called the american tree nursery and worm ranch).  after 10 years, he closed the nursery down as it was “more trouble than it was worth.”  directed by a “vision” to build the orange show in honor of his favorite fruit, mckissack aggregated found objects and common building materials over a period of 25 years, erecting the structure seen above.  according to mckissack, the purpose of the orange show was “to encourage people to eat oranges, drink oranges, and be highly amused.”  and so we were:

the body...

the body...

fruit

eat the fruit...

chemicals

get chemicals...

clowns never lie

because clowns never lie.

leaf tile mosaic

leaf tile mosaic

green roof at the orange show

(painted) green roof at the orange show

do oranges grow where you live?

do oranges grow where you live?

where's my juicer at?

where's my juicer at?

in 1980, mckissack passed away, just 8 months after the show was completed.  the orange show of visionary art is now a non-profit foundation whose mission is to “preserve, promote and document visionary art environments, provide opportunities for the expression of personal artistic vision and create a community where that expression is valued.”  in 2006 the orange show was listed on the national register of historic places.  but the foundation’s greatest contribution is the continued support of public arts education and participatory events to the surrounding community.  it sponsors a number of opportunities for children and adults to express their inner artist through programs including community murals and the ever-popular art car parade.  i think jeff mckissack would certainly be amused to see how influential his show has been and continues to be…

from there we moved onto our second stop, the beer can house, another folk art museum supported by the center for visionary arts.  john milkovisch was a retired railroad upholsterer with one too many empties on his hand.  in 1968 he thought he put them to good use by incorporating them onto his home and landscape.  over 18 years, milkovisch, his wife and sons adorned the entire house in aluminum siding and since he was “sick of mowing the grass,” covered his landscape with marble-studded concrete (hmmm…)  although he scoffed at any mention of his property being considered art, in 2001 the center for visionary arts acquired the property after the milkovisches passed away.  we arrived too late for the inside tour, but stayed to get a few exterior images:

beer can gutter curtain or rain chains?

an upholsterer by trade, milkovisch started with the beer can curtain

curtain detail

curtain detail

a perfect porch for sippin...

a perfect porch for sippin...

beer can garden gate

beer can garden gate

bottle wall

bottle wall

words to drink by...

words to drink by...

the marble- and stone-studded concrete patio and planter box

the marble- and stone-studded concrete patio and planter box

street side planters... yes we... kit...?

street side planters... yes we... kit...?

we hit some other places that day, but these were by far the most whimsical and fun… thanks for the inspiration…

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5 thoughts on “the orange show

  1. If you ever get to the Baltimore/Washington area, there’s a Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore that’s well worth the trip.

    • thanks kim! i’ve actually been there – my husband’s cousin had her wedding and reception there last year, and it was fabulous!

  2. wow! wow! wow! that is totally amazing (and crrraaazy!)- wish i could have experienced that place with y’all! hope you had a great birthday!

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