This week’s #collectionteamtakeover is looking at a new permanent collection work from the estate of Clayton Bailey. Bailey was part of the Funk Art and Nut Art movements, the latter term coined by his neighbor and fellow artist Roy De Forest, who said “it has to do with phantasmagoric ideas and fantasies” that bring “out the nut in everybody.” Bailey gained a worldwide following in the 1960s and 1970s and was a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. He passed away last year at 81.
Bailey was the definition of an original thinker and blazed a trail for other artists to follow. His alter ego, Dr. George Gladstone, was Bailey's take on the “mad scientist” characters that frequented the comic books that he grew up reading. Gladstone was obsessed with strange phenomena like UFOs and Bigfoot and often would conveniently make remarkable "discoveries" on the property around Bailey’s California home.
Looking at this work has the Collections Team is dreaming of travel ... to Akron, Ohio. Our friends at Curated Storefronts have launched "Clayton Bailey's World of Wonders" - an overview exhibition of the work of the amazing artist opening this weekend. Clayton Bailey used ceramics as well as found materials, most often metal parts of other manufactured things to create his sculptures. Many of the robots, ray guns and ceramic works included in the “World of Wonders” have functioning parts that do things like shoot corks, light up, move or buzz. He used humor as part of the concept behind the work, but he was still serious in his craftsmanship as well as his over-arching commentary on society and its values.
The free exhibit was created as an immersive experience for guests to enter the wild, warped mind of Bailey, a prankster known for his eccentric creations. Since the artist’s death, Curated Storefront has acquired about 200 pieces from the Bailey estate’s collection. What a fantastic opportunity to see so many of Bailey’s wonderful wonders in one place!!
Clayton Bailey (American, 1939-2020)
Clinker Exploding Bottle, 2007
expanding clay, porcelain skin with stencil
Gift of Robin Liebes