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Art Environments

Collection Series

Levi Fisher Ames, WI

 

Levi Fisher Ames

The Gillytu Bird / Ring Tailed Doodle Sockdologer

(1843–1923)
c. 1896–1910 wood, graphite, ink, paper, fabric, glass, metal hinges
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Kohler Foundation Inc.

Levi Fisher Ames

A Monstrous Sea Serpent / The Dreaded Hellico-Bentum

(1843–1923)
c. 1870–1900 wood, graphite, ink, paper, fabric, glass, metal hinges
John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Kohler Foundation Inc.
 

1840–1923

Levi Fisher Ames decided to make his environment portable. A Civil War soldier, musician, carpenter, maker of musical instruments, prolific wood-carver, and animated storyteller, Ames hand carved his own impressive menagerie of over 600 domestic, wild, and mythical animals, carefully encasing each in a glass-fronted folding box. He exhibited them at regional fairs as a comprehensive sideshow, believing they needed to be seen as an interrelated work and that his storytelling was a central component of the whole.