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Art Environments

Collection Series

Levi Fisher Ames, WI

 

Levi Fisher Ames, The Gillytu Bird / Ring Tailed Doodle Sockdologer, 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, 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.