“Homestead is where the art is.”

July 5, 2015

Invisible No More

Filed under: Art, Culture, Festival, History — magicgroove @ 12:47 am
Mansions 2015 Carraher

Mansions by Chris Carraher 2015

This blog has served its purpose, and this will be the closing post.

When I started this blog in 2008 it was to document the Wonder Valley Homestead Cabin Festival and to continue to explore the themes of the Festival:  discovering the history, celebrating the culture, and strengthening the community of Wonder Valley through the arts.

Since that time, the high-desert homestead cabins have gained a visibility and vitality as a subject and theme in our arts to such an extent that they no longer need our support or highlighting here. Our humble homesteads have even found their way to a featured exhibition at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles.

I am gratified to know that the Wonder Valley Homestead Cabin Festival played a key part in that vitalization.  When a community is not visible in art, it cannot be recognized in life.  We are no longer invisible.

Christine Carraher/magicgroove, July 2015

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September 6, 2013

“Jackrabbit Homestead” at UC RIverside

Filed under: Art, Culture, Events — magicgroove @ 6:57 am

Kim Stringfellow’s “Jackrabbit Homestead” exhibition will be at Culver Center of the Arts at University of California, Riverside, through Sept. 28, 2013.

A panel discussion on that date will include artist Kim Stringfellow, curator Tyler Stallings, and Wonder Valley artist Chris Carraher (yours truly) from 3 to 5 pm, followed by a closing reception 6-9.

March 9, 2012

Bret Philpot raffle at Red Arrow

Filed under: Art, Events — magicgroove @ 1:09 am

Your chance to win a homestead painting by desert artist Bret Philpot!

Come join me this saturday night 6-9PM at the Red Arrow Gallery, (theredarrowgallery.com) for the Joshua Tree art crawl.  They will raffle off your choice of two homestead paintings, one shown here.  100% of the proceeds go toward funding scholarships for the Artist Professional Development Program.   First 50 people through the door get a free raffle ticket (be present to win, raffle at 8PM). This event and art crawl are free.  My exhibition has been extended to show through April 1.

January 15, 2012

“Jackrabbit Homestead” at Red Arrow

Filed under: Art, Culture, Events — magicgroove @ 12:06 am

The Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree is presenting Kim Stringfellow’s “Jackrabbit Homestead”, opening Saturday, January 14, 7-10 p.m.

The landscape of the Morongo Basin of Southern California’s Mojave Desert is dotted with unusual buildings and parcels of land that developed as a result of the Small Tract Act of 1938. The structures, which are remnants of a mid-century homestead movement, have become a lightning rod for seemingly disparate communities wishing to claim and inhabit the desert landscape.

 In Jackrabbit Homestead, Kim Stringfellow, an artist and writer known for her cross-disciplinary work addressing the American West, land use, and the built environment, documents the character of the homestead architecture and the homesteaders who built it. Alongside her compelling photographs, she explores the origins of the Homestead movement, the Public Land Survey, and other U.S. public land policies that have shaped our perception and long-term management of the California desert.

The exhibit will include photographs, documents, and an audio tour.  Copies of Kim’s book about the homesteads will be available for purchase, as well.  The Red Arrow is at 61010 Hwy 62 in Joshua Tree.

October 22, 2011

Tromp l’Oeil on Cabin

Filed under: Art, Culture, Events — magicgroove @ 4:26 am

Art Tours is bustin’ out all over the Basin this weekend and next, including “Tromp l’Oeil on Cabin…a mural in progress…being painted at Judy Wold’s homestead cabin” at 60433 Sonora Rd. in Joshua Tree. 

At Feral Studios Julie Tolentino and Stosh Fila are curating a “pop-up gallery of works featuring artists and friends from New York, Los Angeles, Beirut, Berlin, and London…All work will be staged within, on, around the walls of the pre-existing 1940’s homestead cabin/studio adjacent to Tolentino’s tiny-off-grid solar powered home.”

October 22-23 and 29-30, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   From Hwy 62 left on Sunfair. Top of Sunfair turns into a dirt road: Coyote Valley Road.  Take this to the top where it crosses with Daisy Lane, Homestead cabin is on the right.

October 14, 2011

Deborah Martin does Wonder Valley

Filed under: Art, Events — magicgroove @ 1:44 am

Deborah Martin’s new (very new – when I wandered into the gallery just before opening some were not quite finished!) realist paintings of Wonder Valley are on exhibition at The Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree this month.  

I don’t have a copy of the Editorial Introduction by Alison Simonis posted at the show, but from Martin’s Website:

Her painted depictions of remnants and relics of this quasi ghost valley settlement of homesteads born out of a 1938 Federal Land Grant comprise a portrait of a place in metamorphosis.

Intimately coupled with the weathering austerities of the Mojave Desert, these outposts of human habitation exhibit an obvious struggle for survival.

Martin showcases a frontier of existential befuddlement: a seemingly confused pondering whether to persist, give up or renew amidst the trappings of domicile.

The rise and fall of opportunity, hope and longing present themselves, eerily, in these paintings.

The question looms whether an insubordinate Wild West is staging a mockery over the American materialist fantasy.

A special reception co-sponsored by Red Arrow and JTAG will be held on October 22 as part of this year’s Hwy 62 Art Tours.  Music by Tim Easton and guests.   4-6 p.m., 61597 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree.

May 19, 2011

Wonder Valley in Japanese

Filed under: Art, Culture, Press — magicgroove @ 2:11 am

A fun video from Japan on Joshua Tree as art oasis in the desert.  Features lots of Wonder Valley, including The Palms, the Sibleys, WV artist Thom Merrick, Jeff Hafler and the Beauty Bubble and Museum, and beaucoup creosotes blowin’ in the wind.  Also, Eames Demetrios at his wild Krblin Jihn Kabin in JT, expounding on the the wonders of deterioration.  Noah Purifoy and the 29 Palms Creative Center are included, as well.

The viewpoint is a little unclear to me as the narration is in Japanese a language I don’t know, but the locals, and the beauty of our crazy desert, speak for themselves.

December 2, 2010

Homesteads on KPBS

Filed under: Art, Press — magicgroove @ 5:59 am

Angela Carone interviews artists Kim Stringfellow and Claire Zitzow in the 30-minute audio program “Desert Jackrabbit Homesteads Inspire Artists.”  

While driving through the California desert, you may come across derelict shacks spotting the landscape. These homesteads, called jackrabbits, were built by people laying claim to plots of desert land in response to the Small Tract Act of 1938. Our guests, both artists, have explored the jackrabbits in their work, through photographs, audio tours, sculpture and installation.

Kim’s work has been featured on this blog many times; learn more about her project at jackrabbithomestead.com.  Claire Zitzow’s solo exhibition “Jackrabbits and the Crow: On Dwelling and Passing” is on view through Dec. 10 at the Andrews Gallery in San Diego.

Above is a photo of Zitzow’s “desert-based installation and jackrabbit homestead built by artist Claire Zitzow.  The walls and sides are composed of paper, so the wind and elements slowly deteriorated the structure over time, not unlike the real jackrabbits it is based on.”

September 24, 2010

Starry Starry Wonder

Filed under: Art, Culture, Literary, Press — magicgroove @ 3:36 am

The humble homestead cabins have found their way into this year’s Annual Desert Writers Issue of The Sun Runner.   Included is an uncharacteristically sober verse and drawing by recent Morongo Basin transplant Rik Livingston, as well as the above charming pastel and water color “Starry Starry Wonder” by Lisa Maher.  We’ve written about Lisa and her 3rd-generation homestead before.  You can read about her latest trip to Wonder, which inspired this painting, on her blog.

There’s lots of good desert writing in this issue, so be sure to pick up a copy before they run out.  Find out where at thesunrunner.com.

May 15, 2010

Homesteading in Manhatten

Filed under: Art, Events — magicgroove @ 11:14 pm

Desert fan Bernard Leibov is opening his New York microgallery, BoxoFFICE, to Joshua Tree artist Diane Best’s homestead cabins in the show SHACK, “a solo exhibition of large-scale black and white photography. ”

SHACK features images of cabins in the area around Joshua Tree, some occupied, some abandoned, some close to being reclaimed by the earth.

The Mojave Desert was one of the last places in the lower 48 where land was granted free to anyone willing to improve the land. The cabins featured in the photographs were built as a result of one of the last homesteading acts passed, The Small Tract Act of 1938, that granted 5 acre parcels “for such purposes as home, cabin, health and recreational sites”. The Small Tract Act  was also known as the  “Jack Rabbit Act”  as some people considered the desert land “fittin’ only for jack rabbits and tumbleweeds”.

The 5 acre plots were leased for 5 years for a nominal fee ($99. per year), and if a structure was built that was at least 12′ X 16′, the leaseholder could buy the property for $120. an acre. Water and power were not required. Many cabins were carefully built by weekend desert lovers, but many more were flimsily erected by land speculators and were never inhabited.

The artist herself says, “Living in the desert,  surrounded by these reminders of the past – many deserted with their contents intact, slowly blowing apart, decaying, and vandalized – I am fascinated by the question of their owner’s intent and untold stories of arrival, building and departure.”

Diane’s work was part of our Wonder Valley Homestead Cabin Festival together with that of Mary-Austin Klein in the Shack Appreciation Show at Trader Jeff’s.  The image above is Shack 21, (34 x 50 in., archival pigment print on dibond, 2010).  See more of Diane’s images on her website, along with a book available of her cabin photos.  She also has a new video, “SHACKS”, that will be featured in the BoxoFFICE exhibition.  Here’s hoping we get to see it back here at home soon! 

SHACK runs May 22 to July 10, with reception on May 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.  BoxoFFICE is at 421 Hudson Street #701 in New York.   More info at the BoxoFFICE website.   Also find Bernard and BoxOFFICE in an article on microgalleries in the New York Times.

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