Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAY-JUN 2018

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Page 60 of 143

in American folk art, was known for buying signs from homeless individuals. In fact, folk art is defined as a work or object made by someone with no formal artistic training; sometimes without an intention of creating art for consumption, but merely as an expression of emotion or creativity. Revisiting the post, I contemplated the artistic merit of the sign: bold color and contrast, a great use of space, and the juxtaposition of raw expression delivered with rudimentary materials against a backdrop of a refined wrought iron fence and window grates adorning the old brownstone residence. It certainly has the components of a work of art, in the eyes of the right person who might appreciate it. is concept stuck with me as I visited e Broad Museum in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Strolling among works by such legends as Lichtenstein, Koons, and Warhol, it is difficult to justify that a polished steel sculpture made to look like a balloon dog has more artistic merit than Steve's #karmacycle sign. I mean, in whose eyes? By whose judgement? A few years ago, when I worked in the auction industry, our firm sold a small wooden doll that someone in the 19th Century Ohio or Indiana wilderness had carved from a bedpost. The primitive figure hardly seemed functional as a plaything, let alone worthy of preservation by the generations of family members who had kept it safe from many an evening fire. However, in it I see pure emotion as I imagine it being carved by the loving hands of a father struggling to make a home for his family in an unknown, untamed countryside. Determined to provide something of joy and indulgence to his little girl, he repurposed bits and pieces of their meager existence: the bedpost for the body, a scrap of leather for the arms, a swatch of fabric for the kerchief, and a dab of paint for the eyes and mouth. Clearly others shared my view, because when the doll came up for auction, two bidders spiritedly competed to over $11,000 before one relented. ough hedging on the #karmacycle sign soaring to that kind of price, Steve assures me that whatever the outcome, his goal is to pay it forward. Who knows? In the eyes of the right two bidders, we also could behold a remarkable statement about just what makes art. sl Amelia Jeffers is an nationally-known auctioneer and appraiser who has worked in the fine art, antiques and bespoke collectibles market for over 20 years. 59 is primitive doll was carved in the19th century from a bedpost and enhanced with leather, cloth, and paint. It sold for over $11,000 at auction. Photo courtesy Garth's Auctions, Delaware, Ohio.

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