Thursday, June 19, 2014

Montanans Love their Mannequins

Yep, the title pretty much sums it up. People in Montana, or at least those who create dioramas for the regional and county museums of this vast state certainly love mannequins. Perhaps not as much as the people of this film, but enough to use them ubiquitously throughout and to mixed success.

This first picture postcard is actually an old tableau no longer extant in the town of Virginia City. VC, as those in the know (I really don't know who that is) call it, is kind of a historic tourist trap of sorts. Once abandoned, then restored, once filled with mannequins recreating olden day life in the west, now filled with souvenir shops…only a few of the vivid dioramas remain. Most have weathered and crumbled. 

 I believe the cobble is one of the few visible dioramas left visible in the town. Here, the cracks in the figure's skull are very visible showing signs of age and disrepair.

These other mannequins are from other various museums throughout the state. While the one below is more likely a custom job the rest are probably cast offs from defunct catalog and department stores long closed from the main streets of Montana. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Putting the Fun in Fundamentalism…or is it Putting the Mental into Fundamentalism…I get confused sometimes.

Sup everyone…Y'all know who I am so I don't need to introduce myself. Everyone seems to have these ideas of the things I like to do. So I figured I would tell it to you straight. These are the things I like to do in my day-to-day life. 

Sometimes, I like to drink from my crunk cup.

Sometimes I like to kick it with pimps and hoes.

Sometimes I like to, well…I have no idea what is going on here…

Sometimes, I just end up hanging with my homies...

Keep it real. YOLO. 

***Wonderful World of Clutter author's note: Yes this is the third religious themed post in a row…While this is a holy trinity of sorts, I hope it doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rocks of Ages

Nothing amuses me more than roadside attractions. Religious themed roadside attractions become an added bonus for me as they seem to rarer and rarer finds.

On the road south to Red Lodge, Montana, is a decaying spot called Pathway Thru the Bible. This walk through rock garden is reminiscent of the Petersen Rock Garden outside of Bend, Oregon, but with none of the grandeur and much more proselytizing.

One would actually miss Pathway if they didn't have a keen eye trained to the road. Trees practically cover the hand-painted sign indicating that some stop even exists here. Nothing really states much about who built it or why. Well, why they built it is pretty obvious…teach about the bible…through walking through ambiguously organized rocks. But it still remains mysterious. 

As I strolled through the grounds, a woman with a weedwhacker hacked down grasses off in the distance on the property. While normally I would stop and converse with the property owners of such establishments, I figured I would take pictures and let this woman manicure her property as I wandered around without being acknowledged.

It is hard to tell whether this rock garden really saw better days or not. It didn't have the aura of outsider art or the craftsmanship of a planned tourist attraction. If anything, it felt like a forced Sunday school project--something kids were subjected to build begrudgingly when egg crates and cotton ball mangers weren't enough.

I wonder though…Where did the abalone shells come from in Montana?

And of all of the scenes to depict here for a walk through of the bible, was it really necessary to have Lot's Wife as a Pillar of Salt depicted? It seems like some more inspirational things could have been presented. Perhaps it was just a the best use of the medium at hand.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Buckman's Cathedral

The Buckman neighborhood in southeast Portland, Oregon,  has a long rich history.   Over the decades, four churches have held this property. Windstorms and structural failures led to the first three being razed.  As far as I can tell, the image below is of the third church to stand on this property. Now a small wooden structure now holds the congregation. For a great overview of the history of the St. Francis Parish, go the the church's website.

And yes, this is a pretty boring post for the Wonderful World of Clutter, but this image of the church has me fascinated. Growing up in Portland, I spent just about as much time in Buckman as my residence in the Brooklyn neighborhood. When I found this postcard in a junk shop in Montana, I was extremely surprised. 

The church property is considerably less grand than this picture presents. The parish hosts a soup kitchen serving countless individuals in need. Some might consider the homeless population a blight in an up-and-coming neighborhood, but I always appreciated their presence.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Art of Labeling Objects

There is an art to how we catalog objects in collections. Academic's has a branch solely dedicated to museum studies in which archiving, preservation, and curation and taught as a discipline. But for the private collector, myself included, we can sort and classify things as we please.

Thus I present one regional museum's display of an "Odd Shaped Rock" presented on a fine piece of carpet sample. We know little of this geological specimen other than the shape is defined as odd and that it came from a person's collection. Perhaps said amateur geologist had other oddly shaped rocks but this was the finest specimen to present to the museum. As for composition of this rock, ehh…who cares? It's made of rock. 

Said rock doesn't look all that odd to me. Now if the rock looked like a penguin, frying pan, or even a stapler, then I would consider it to be odd. But one must then ask, is it really an odd looking rock or a rock that looks like an object? 

What we have here, in my humble and non-curatorial opinion is a specimen of a rock that looks like a rock. Doesn't much look like a fossil. Doesn't much look like an animal. Doesn't look much like an object, tool, or thing you would want to hide from your parents. Just looks like a rock.

While on the topic of curation…One might consider this fine example from another Montana museum. 

The world of talc is probably as exciting as this blog post is right about now. But one must wonder how   that excitement can be conveyed with nothing in the display case except a piece of paper.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring is a Wondrous Awakening and Some Hot…Taxidermic…Turtle…Sex

The Wonderful World of Clutter has been asleep for a terribly long time, dear readers. And as the winter's harsh claw slowly retracts ice talons of hatred from Billings cuddly sagebrush and refineries, we realize that the world is slightly warm and that something is in the air.

Springtime...Yes, the baby bunnies are coming out of their burrows. Alcoholic hockey fans are getting excited for the finals. Brown grass is turning green only to turn brown again in four more weeks. People in town are complaining that Kenny Roger's canceled his only show date in this town while Missoula get's a member of the Beatles. 

But more importantly, the taxidermied turtles are having taxidermic turtle sex.

Of course, this isn't happening here. Despite the popularity of trophy animals, I don't think anything so shocking as this example animal fornication could be shown in public. I actually found this inin perhaps one of the funnier exhibits in the Hall of Reptiles at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. There you can find other reptiles mating, coiled and coupled in cumbersome, compromising positions. 

And for those who are actually curious about taxidermy lingo, taxidermy is actually the name of the art and craft of skinning the animal, the final creation is called…well…it's called a mount.

So there…

Here is a mount of two turtles mounting.