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Art Environments

Collection Series

David Butler, LA

 

David Butler

Untitled Whirligig (monster)

(1898–1997)
c. 1968–70 steel and enamel
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Kohler Foundation Inc.

David Butler

Untitled (whale)

(1898–1997)
c. 1968–70 tin, paint, mixed media
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Kohler Foundation Inc.
 

1898–1997

David Butler brought a garden of color, form, and motion into being in the front yard of his home in Patterson, Louisiana. Based on images that appeared in his dreams, he created magnificent animals, strange creatures, and scenes from the Bible that appeared to come to life in a dynamic installation where whirligigs added sound and motion and cutout shapes in undulating tin panels cast shadows about. Butler began his yard show in the late 1960s, making what is widely regarded—by art historians and African American historians alike—as one of the most important art environments ever made in the United States. Although this environment no longer exists, the Arts Center is honored to care for several of the most significant cut and painted sheet-metal works from the site.