TABLE OF CONTENTS

Lynne Cooke

A POLEMIC UNDERPIN the conventional title of this extraordinary exhibition featuring some three hundred works spanning James Castle’s career. Born deaf in 1899, the largely unschooled, illiterate artist spent his life in obscurity in rural Idaho. Drawing daily for some seventy years, he created a vast body of work that includes intimate tonal drawings of the farmland and homestead where he grew up; sculptures of human figures, animals, and objects made by stitching together pieces of paper and cardboard; hand-sewn books containing alphabets, syllabaries, calendrical schemes, and other data laid out in grids; and myriad copies, on fragments of used paper, of texts and images culled from illustrated magazines and commercial packaging. Despite this prodigious and singularly compelling output—and the efforts of various well-placed advocates—even today few contemporary art aficionados

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.