Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sport Arena

A grocery bag with drawings on both sides by Lewis Smith (d. 1998 age 91), an eccentric who lived in a rural area of Ohio. One side is titled "Sport Arena," the other "Physical Fitness of Athletics." The year after Smith's death, Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote about the artist in her preview of the Outsider Art Fair, where American Primitive Gallery was showing the previously unknown work. "Smith, who spent most of his life working on his family's farm in Ohio or traveling around the country on a lifetime railway pass, filled entire books, some of them handmade, with records, lists, writings and drawings that documented his own life and the way of life around him," the Times article says. "Some [drawings], on grocery bags or large pieces of corrugated cardboard, depict the women's athletic teams (baseball, acrobats, wrestlers) whose tours Smith followed on his train travels. Others, on flattened cracker boxes, are imaginary pictures based on the names of diners, another subject of his lists."

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