new-york

Philadelphia Wireman

Matthew Marks Gallery

For the past decade and a half, the small, wire-trussed assemblages made by an anonymous artist known only as the Philadelphia Wireman have circulated busily within the folk/outsider art world, but the mystery of their origin has remained unsolved. Over a thousand of these enigmatic objects were found on a Philadelphia street corner by a student and brought to the attention of local outsider art dealer John Ollman, who has worked diligently to preserve and exhibit them at different venues, Matthew Marks Gallery’s minuscule Twenty-first Street annex being the latest.

It is widely assumed, due to the brute strength required to bend the high-gauge wire used in the works, that their maker was a man, while the demographic of the neighborhood where they were found has encouraged the belief that he was African-American. The objects have been dated to around 1970 based on details culled from such

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